Forty-eight hours after writing a post about the agony of post-job-interview waiting, I got a call:
“So, when can you start?”
“When do you need me?”
“Come in on Monday.”
My first day as the Exhibitions Coordinator for a large art not-for-profit passed in a flurry of paperwork, meetings, and how-tos. I was taken to “The Nook,” a u-shaped work station that I would share with my boss’s executive assistant. I looked at the desk that had been vacant for 5 months and was now mine. It had been turned into a storage shelf — boxes filled with leftover wall-hanging materials, stacks of postcards announcing opening receptions for exhibitions mounted 5 years ago, and a box of crocheting hooks.
Before I could begin coordinating exhibitions, I needed to coordinate my desk. Clearing the rubble took the remainder of the afternoon, but left me with a blank workspace to decorate. I walked in the next day with an armload of items necessary to transform my half of the Nook into a homey yet functional gallery-managing command center.
“Your corner has a personality!” Ali-Kat cried as she joined me at her station. “I dig it. Do you have Pandora? Because yours is the only computer with speakers. Let’s get the party started!”
I could tell we were going to be good Nook-mates.
Of all the things adorning my command center, there’s one item that has particular symbolic meaning. In the upper right corner of my bulletin board I’ve placed a photo from my 2007 college graduation. Four of us stand arm in arm among thousands of undergraduates and graduates dressed in powder blue, all receiving our degrees. We look happy and tired, young and ready for battle.
The photo is there in part because the 3 guys standing with me are my dearest friends, mostly because that moment represents an entire journey from that day in May to this job, this desk, this future. We posed for the camera to remind ourselves that we had survived 4 years together. The next 4 years would be unpredictable — each followed paths entirely different from the ones routed for us as of May 2007.
Then we were 4 kids just starting out, uncertain of the purpose of our past and clueless about our futures. It’s hard to always know where you’re going, but the way I see it, it’s important to always know where you’ve been.