Tomorrow morning, I'll report to the exact same desk where I started my career. Almost five years ago, a very nervous 23 y/o girl with very little professional experience and a mom-like hairstyle wobbled into the lobby of the ETS Operations Center in New Jersey and hoped for best. She had gotten stuck in traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike twice during the 60-mile commute from her parent's house in Chester County and was already an hour late. The AC also wasn't working in her beat-up red Cavalier and thought it wasn't hot outside, she definitely perspired more on the stressful commute than one would like on the first day of a new job.
She clutches her fancy leather portfolio full of newspaper clippings and freshly printed resumes, and watches the fancy business people hustle in and out of the lobby. Soon, a beautiful, gregarious woman comes out to greet the nervous girl. A big smile and warm laugh lets this girl know things will be okay. Minna leads this girl to a small office with a pile of Post-It Notes, an uncomfortable chair and a pretty blond coworker named Kristen. They liked my purse.
I ended up working at the Operations Center for close to four years. I turned 24 shortly after that nervous day and am now staring at 29. I made friends. I made mistakes. I learned a lot. I got to know those "fancy" business people and inadvertently became one. That lobby I waited for Minna in once served as a foyer for a second home, with a second family.
A lot has happened in the five years since I first sat at Z-xxx. I'm not a temp.I don't live with my parents anymore. My hair is a lot longer, my style is a lot better. About a year ago, I left the Ops Center, or Z Building, when I accepted a position with a different department. It's been a rough year as is expected whenever there is a job change. One of the many lessons of the past five years is that a desk is a desk and your performance is what matters. But I still can not help but sigh and shake my head at the irony of it.
I'll walk confidently into that lobby tomorrow, carrying a hefty box of work and a good amount of stress, and a very full briefcase of readings for the final classes of Master's Degree. I'll say hi and how are yous to the fancy business people. It's a full circle, yes, but it's one of those kind that spiral upwards.