Today marks my last day working at PDG. I don’t know how to feel about it because I am beyond excited for the next leg of my adventure. However in order to move in another direction we have to turn our backs on the previous path, and I have enjoyed this path for quite some time now. I was not prepared for what was to occur when I answered that random phone call a little over five years ago.
I had been laid-off in June and luckily my sister Kelly needed a nanny for nugget until his daycare spot was available in August. Bailey had started the summer with them and already had a month under her belt. However, she kindly stepped aside once I was, surprisingly, unemployed. I needed time to clear my mind from the abrupt departure from my first job out of college. Caring for the nephew definitely took most of my attention and was precisely what I needed when I needed it.
With two days left of my nanny stint I had just put Rory down for his afternoon nap when the phone rang. I had been halfheartedly filling out online applications not really expecting anything to come from it, so I was surprised when it was my cell. On the other end was a woman from Story City calling to talk to me about a job opening. Out of the blue a graphic design position opened up less than fifteen miles from home. Lisa talked, describing the position, while I paced my sister’s living room over and over again.
In retrospect I bombed that phone interview, for that was what it kind of was I realized much later. She had, initially, asked me to take a more in-charge role (if memory serves). Besides design I would help with sales, run the store when needed, etc. I told her no. As an unemployed person with zero prospects I still said no, but hear me out. I wasn’t confident I could be in charge (apparently I have a dormant strain of that Q-gene). I had just been laid off doing a job I was perfectly qualified for. If I couldn’t keep a job I could do, what chance did I have of keeping one I wasn’t qualified for? I didn’t want to do that to myself or my prospective employer so I erred on the side of honesty. Lisa was undeterred. She heard me out and altered the plan for if I was hired. Later she did admit she was a bit surprised, but had me come in to interview anyway.
The following week I went in, met with her and the owner and by that afternoon was offered the job. The next Monday I was driving to Story City expecting only to find a job. What I found instead was a community. That’s something I have come to love about working at PDG and, by extension, being in Story City. Story City still has that ‘small town’ charm I had never really been a part of before. As an outsider it was fun to observe and as I got more acquainted it was even more fun to immerse myself in it.
It’d be fun to have a conversation with past Jamie. Those who know me wouldn’t agree, but I still get very uneasy in crowds. I’m an introvert at heart and being around people can sometimes be a challenge. Many wouldn’t agree because once I know you I’m a complete nutbar. One way to overcome this, not only so I could do my job better but expand my horizons, was to join some committees (with lots of encouragement from Lisa). As the years passed I became more and more comfortable within the community. Within PDG itself, I had become the person Lisa was hoping for when she originally wanted when she called (or close enough to it) – go figure. So chatting with my past self to see that I’ve grown would be a blast.
I have had the great fortune to work with many amazing women at work. Each of them with their own unique gift that it has been my pleasure to observe. Whether it’s a matter of photography, phone techniques (I don’t know how many phone calls ended with “what should I have done instead?” – especially in the beginning), accounting (it is its own art form and NO ONE will convince me otherwise), or any other skills of an unending list of gifts. These women have helped shape me over the past five years and it’s hard to leave them.
I haven’t really allowed myself to dwell on it too much because I don’t want to be sad and mar my last few days at work. Also, it’s a weird sensation because I am genuinely excited for what is to come. Next week I start work at the Iowa State University Foundation. But that would not have been possible if I hadn’t have been polished at PDG. I will miss the “family” at the office. Lisa often says ‘we work hard and play hard’ and we certainly do. So, one more day, off to enjoy the time I have left with these wonderful women. I unexpectedly had to bid farewell to Jenn yesterday (I forgot she wouldn’t be there today). Although, it’s not really goodbye since I’m just going to Ames, but it is certainly going to be a little different next time around. In true PDG spirit she sent me off with a hug and a laugh whispering “Choose your adventure*.”
I intend to do just that.
*For those that don’t know “Choose your adventure” is a tagline that Iowa State ues