Let's have a toast!
I feel like this blog post has light and happiness simply radiating from it. Like my words are swimming in a giant bowl full of Lucky Charms marshmallows sprinkled with cherub kisses and unicorn farts.
It's been a good day.
Actually, yesterday was the good day and today I'm simply basking in Thursday's afterglow.
I'm trying to decide the best way to condense the semi-long story down into a simple, concise post because I know it's Friday and everyone's brain hurts and on one wants to read that much.
SO. Long story as short as possible:
Earlier this spring I was approached by a co-worker who let me know that the current Assistant Director of Student Development was leaving the college and my name had been tossed around as her potential replacement. A.) That's super flattering and I had no idea people were talking about me, let alone saying such wonderful, positive things and B.) That would be the career advancement I was looking for. (Even my boss knows I wasn't going to be an office assistant for long.)
So when the job was officially posted on our website, I was one of the first in line to apply. However, I saw that the position had been upgraded by our central office and was no longer an assistant director position, but an actual DIRECTOR position that required a Master's degree. I quickly emailed the assistant Vice Chancellor in that department and said, "I don't have a Master's degree, and I don't want to waste anyone's time. I won't be applying." However, he eventually talked me out of it and encouraged me to apply anyway because there's no telling what might happen if they found the right person.
I was selected for an interview (which is a frequent occurrence for internal candidates) and it actually went really well. It was a fun interview (which sounds totally weird to say) and I walked away feeling like I had a good time. I knew nothing would come of it because this was now a big position that you needed a lot more education/experience in order to succeed, but I was glad to have the interview practice (seriously, interview practice is invaluable, and I've had plenty in my life).
A day or so later, I was called into my boss's office where the Vice Chancellor was waiting to talk to me. He told me that they decided not to move forward with me in the interviewing process (duh) because my not having a Masters degree would more or less be setting me up for failure. I totally agreed, 100%, and thanked him for his time. Then he mentioned to me that despite not having the proper degree or experience, everyone on the interview committee was (and I quote) "blown away" by me. *Major bragging alert!* They were so impressed by me and how I carry myself, they were going to make it a personal mission to advance me in the college because apparently I am a little ball of energy literally bursting with potential.
I don't think I've ever received a bigger compliment in my entire life. I've always considered myself a good employee (and have the glowing employee evaluations to back it up), but to think that I've been continuously impressing people in other areas of the college was amazing validation that I never even knew I really needed. It's hard to articulate, but others taking notice that there's something in me, something that I was seriously beginning to doubt I could see myself, is an indescribable feeling.
Anyone who says they don't like compliments is the biggest liar on the planet.
Fast-forward to an afternoon in early May: I received an email from that same Vice Chancellor who asked me if I had any interest in being an academic adviser. I had honestly never really thought about that role specifically, but I knew I either wanted to advance into the student development office or the marketing office. So after some careful research online and reading about what an adviser position truly entails, I was like, "Totally!"
I applied as soon as the job was posted and in true internal candidate fashion, was selected for an interview.
And then I was asked back for a second interview.
At the end of the second interview, one of the final questions was "Is there anything you WISH we would have asked you during this interview?" (Meaning, is there anything you'd like us to know about you? Speak now or forever hold your peace.) If there's one thing you need to know about the interview process, it's to ALWAYS have at least one question to ask them at the end and to always take the opportunity to sell yourself.
I hesitated briefly and then began telling them something I hadn't even fully admitted to myself yet. As I was speaking, I was surprised by what was coming out of my mouth because I never realized how deeply previous events effected me and it was the first time I truly articulated how I've been feeling for the past 3 years.
I told the interview committee, "I'm not even sure why I'm telling you this. I guess I just wanted you to know." And then I recanted my employment history dating all of the way back from the week after I graduated from college. I shared that my passion and dream was to work in advertising, but a rough economy and upcoming wedding forced me to take the first job I was offered. Then I launched into how that landed me in publishing, but I never stopped seeking out the big opportunity to break into advertising. And when I finally was accepted into an agency, I told them how that dream quickly came to a grinding halt and more or less blew up in my face when I realized I was in a terrible, terrible job situation. Timidly, I told them about the depression and anxiety that followed, the fear that everything I worked towards was just flushed down the toilet and how I had to abruptly quit in order to save my sanity. Then I quickly went through the subsequent jobs that followed, the jobs I took to make ends meet while simultaneously dealing with depression and embarrassment over no longer knowing what I wanted to do.
I concluded my stream of consciousness by explaining that my current position in HR was more or less a godsend and that while being an HR assistant was never "the dream", it was exactly what I needed at exactly the right moment. Finally, I told them that trying to regroup after my failed advertising career left me constantly starting over again at the bottom tier of companies and at this point of my life, I was more than ready to move up and grow somewhere. I just wanted a chance to prove to myself that I was capable of being something great.
Who's to say that any of that long-winded answer to their final question swayed their thinking in any way, but I'm glad I was so honest. It was weird saying all of those things out loud for the first time. I never realized how insecure I was about it all.
Yesterday, I was offered the position. In a few weeks I will be making the transition from Human Resources Assistant to Assistant Director of Academic Advising. :)
*Cue the ticket tape parade and fanfare*
After my softball double-header, Clayton and I celebrated the news with a champagne toast (and when I say "champagne toast", I mean I drank half a bottle of champagne alone while he was out running errands). And we did what any American who had a good day does: we baked cookie bars!