I last left you with a sad, sad image of myself – anxiety ridden and broke in my 215 sq ft apartment. But what I didn’t tell you was the extreme determination I had developed to not completely fail at adult hood. It took three weeks of soul crushing interviews and sleepless nights before I finally was given an offer at a recruitment advertising agency -right smack dab in the middle of downtown Chicago.
The only reason I (a 22 year old with no real agency experience and the black mark of a 3 month attempt at a job on her resume) was given the interview is because my degenerate of a college roommate’s step sister was high up at the company. Granted, I had already had 2-3 failed attempts at interviews under my belt at this point, so I went in with low expectations. Not to mention, the position was for a metrics analyst. The job description listed things like “v-lookup” “double-click’ and “floodlight tagging”, of which I knew literally nothing about outside of a few last minute YouTube videos. V-lookup to me meant something.. entirely different. I walked into the office, which was located on the 40th floor of a building that had a 360 degree view all around of the skyline of Chicago. The interview consisted of three department heads and myself. I was able to bullshit enough of it that they seemed to like me and think I, to an extent, knew what I was talking about. Right as the interview was wrapping up, the main contact I had, Ashley, asked the group if they had any further questions. The only male in the room said “I do” with a smirk on his face. “What’s the difference between google analytics and double click reporting?”. I panicked. I couldn’t even remember what those things were! The whole room got tense as the male interviewie laughed and said “that might be an unfair question since Ashley is shooting me a glare but you need to know that to get this job” I gave some stupid rambling response to which he immediately corrected me with the right answer (that I still can’t remember to this day). I walked out of that interview feeling utterly defeated for a fourth time.
Low and behold I received a call a few days later to come in for a second interview, but this time as a media planner. One of the other ladies in the room saw potential for me in her department and ended up hiring me on the spot after the second interview (yah! Girl Power!). I was absolutely thrilled. They offered me $40K, to which I eagerly accepted knowing that I had no leverage what-so-ever to negotiate. I had one full month off until I started, and now I could live happily unemployed for four weeks knowing a new start and new income was headed my way. To this day, those four weeks are still my most cherished time in Chicago.
Starting my second job, I was much more prepared. I had my outfit ready, hair washed, and coffee prepped. This would be my new start! My second go at adult hood! And this time, it was a real job that I could work my way up at and maintain for at least a few years. Looking back, that giddiness is what did me in. Here I was, some sweet, fresh faced college kid walking into my first big girl job. Little did I know I was about to be introduced to the most jaded and angry person I have ever, even to this day, worked with. For the sake of confidentiality, we will name her Anca.
Anca was a bitch. There’s no other way to say it. She had been in her career for far too long without getting any kind of promotion and she hated anyone and everyone for it, including her new associate media planner (hint hint, me). My eagerness to learn and love all things agency just put her further and further off from me. And, okay. I wasn’t the annoying new girl everyone hates, but I was trying to fill my day and be as helpful as I could be. I hated when she’d tell me “just keep yourself busy” and I wouldn’t speak to anyone or do anything productive for the entire day. The two of us sat on our own side of the office since the rest of the team’s section became too full to fit an additional seat in for me. I think this added to her hate for me. Now, not only did she have a tag-a-long she didn’t think she needed, but she was taken away from the rest of her co-workers who she was more friendly with and forced to sit by only me day in and day out. This isolated me as well, Anca being the only image I had of my company’s employees. I didn’t even get to know my team until a year later when I finally was able to move back over.
Anca tormented me day after day creating much more stress than necessary. A new employee should be able to ask about where to log sick time, right? I was too scared. A normal employee should be able to ask who to go to for technical help when their computer was malfunctioning, right? I was too scared. Anca did nothing but give me assignments and talk shit on everyone and everything that was going on around us. I worked my ass off to perfect every single piece of work I gave her while asking as little questions as possible because she freaking terrified me. At one point, while complaining how much she hated her sister-in-law and despised her 4 year old twin nephews, she looked to me and said you must hate your sisters too, right? (I have the strongest relationships with my sisters and absolutely adore nothing more in this world than my 4 and 2 year old nephews). I sheepishly smiled and said “oh ya, the worst” – to which Anca gleefully smiled. This was the first time we bonded, over her (and my fake) hatred of children.
To no one’s surprise, Anca put her 2 weeks in when I had been on the job about 3 months. She pulled me into a room to tell me and it took all my strength to hide the smile that inevitably formed the second the words “I quit” came out of her mouth. Regardless of the fact that in the near future I’d be given all of Anca’s projects and responsibilities with none of the pay or recognition I deserved with it – I was ecstatic. Ding-Dong the witch was dead! I brought in donuts for her last day on the job and she ended up Instagramming a picture of them to make it seem to her followers like her co-workers were sad to see her go. She never even thanked me for them. Down the road, another co-worker would ask me if I wanted Anca’s number to stay in touch, and I would smile and say “oh that’s okay, I probably would never (ever) reach out to her.”