Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What she did for me

When I was a little girl, she was a teenager. When I was Cookie Monster for Halloween, she was a gorgeous princess in a blue and silver gown. When she went to the prom, she let me walk next door to peek at her grown-up and fabulous look. She was a babysitter, but also willing to be a friend.

Later, when my mind was guiding me to a possible career in advertising, I learned that she had already pursued - and grasped - that dream. Once again, she allowed me to look up to her and opened her calendar to schedule time for a tour.

I visited the big-city advertising agency on a Friday. I navigated the parking deck and strolled past a spraying fountain to enter the shiny building. In the elevator, I smoothed my skirt and picked at my hair. When I heard five dings, it was time to step out into the agency. The colorful lobby greeted me with cheer. I affixed my best grown-up look on my face and approached the desk. "Director of First Impressions," said the little placard. This place? Was even too cool to say "receptionist". I had stars in my eyes.

Soon, I was trailing behind my mentor as she pointed out various parts of the agency. She introduced me to agency friends. I should have seized the opportunity to ask questions, but I was mute with nerves. At one point, I noticed a little brown dog. A living, breating, fluffy animal. Sleeping under someone's desk. That is when I learned about Dog Friday. At this office, employees could actually bring their dogs to work! The working world was going to be so cool. I could not wait to venture out of Tennessee and into this big city to start my own fabulous life.

She has no idea what her guidance meant to me back then. We have both moved through varying careers. She left the ad agency world for good, I left once and came back. Not all agencies are funky and fun... in fact, some mimic the worst of sweatshops. But I still believe I made the correct choice for a career. I enjoy it and I am good at it.

I have her to thank for guiding me there.

Everyone remembers that first inspiration or mentor in their lives that made them want to be or do something in their lives, whether you actually followed through with it or not. Tell us about that inspiration/mentor. How did they affect or change your life!
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