When I graduated college, I figured I’d get a job and live in New York City. That was my vision of what my adult life would be. I’d live in the city until I was married with kids old enough to attend school, then make my return to the suburbs. It’s what my parents did. It’s what many people of my parents’ generation did.
But that’s not what happened. I graduated college a semester early in hopes of getting ahead in the job search, and it worked. I was employed within a month of getting my degree. I landed an entry level communications job working for an arts organization just a few miles from where I grew up. It was a great first job where I met a lot of people including my future husband and I learned a lot. I even had the opportunity to write a weekly column that appeared in the county’s major newspaper. But it wasn’t the city. And I wasn’t earning enough to even live on my own.
It wasn’t what I envisioned at all. I thought I’d be an editor for a magazine or a publisher. I searched on monster.com for the job title “editorial assistant” and “assistant editor.” I applied to probably 30 listings and had interviews with 3 companies. One was a sales job – not for me. The second was my dream job as I had imagined it. I went out and bought a new suit for that one. $400 later I looked money, didn’t get the job and shortly thereafter ended up with the arts organization. And it turned out to be a great fit for me.
When I left the arts organization, I landed yet another suburban job – this time as a communications consultant for a variety of clients working on progressive social issues. This time, I could afford to live on my own, and moved to a city 20 minutes from where I grew up. I grew professionally, achieving big things like placing a story with a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist. But it still wasn’t the city.
By the time I landed that city job, I was settled in the suburban cities, recognizing the need to be accessible to my family. Flash forward a few years and I’m married with a toddler, and now, as much as I love the city, I would give anything for a job in the suburbs. I’d give anything to have more time and be available to my family at the drop of a hat. I’d give anything to get the time I spent commuting back just so I can be with my son.
Life is funny like that.