I have been MIA for awhile. Recently all my blogging has been blocked by some big news on which I was sworn to secrecy. Do you remember back in February when I took a big leap and got a small job with McFarland Cahill Communications in a field I knew nothing about: PR, particularly media relations? I got to run the Kitchen Stage at the Minneapolis Home & Garden show where I met many local celebrities and chefs. I got to send pitches to Ellen DeGeneres, Playboy, Oprah and the Today Show by express mail, often at full speed at the very last minute. I helped create press kits designed to entice media outlets to take an interest in our clients. I visited our metro television stations and newspaper and magazine headquarters. I got to go to events like concerts and parties where I mingled with (or stood near) colorful and interesting people. This job was 90% magic (I also took out garbage, helped with invoicing, picked up groceries and supplies and did quite a bit of filing.) My employers welcomed me with warmth, humor and some borderline painful growth stretching opportunities. During my time there I have been surrounded by educated women with a lot of knowledge that has nothing to do with anything I know, and it has been bewildering and exhilarating.
A a short while ago my bosses called me in and told me that McFarland and Cahill were going their separate ways. They wanted me to start gathering the information we needed to work toward that end: inventory, lease agreements, subscriptions, etc. Until they had their own ducks in a row, the news had to be a secret, even from the other staff. Which sucked. Because misery loves company and I was ALONE, both figuratively and literally, as some or all of the others were out of the office on vacation or working offsite at that time. I was stunned, because I had counted on staying and growing so much more. When I took the job, I had thought it would be something to get me out of the house, brush a few cobwebs off my brain and maybe give me some writing opportunities and ideas, but I got so much more. I was deeply bummed that not only was it ending, it was ending so soon. With everyone out of the office and me doing paperwork and listing assets, I felt morose, like I was preparing grandma’s estate for the sale.
Cahill took a position as Executive Director for Smile Network International, an organization we had represented in the past and a cause for which she is truly passionate. McFarland prepared to move her PR skills into Minneapolis with McFarland Communications, continuing with several of her existing clients and some new ones. Eventually the rest of the staff were let in on the news, and they began making their plans. Amazing opportunities arose for them because they all have great experience and skills, while I, petty child, moved into the WTH stage of grieving. I was jealous that they were all moving on so quickly and I was moving…where? I couldn’t get excited about looking more traditional admin experience. Recently, McFarland and I had a conversation. She said she likes my energy and skills, and despite my lack of industry-specific knowledge wanted to continue to work with me, if I was willing to take on the task of helping get their systems in order and dealing with a really fluid job description working for unknown numbers of hours at least part of the time in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Oh…boy. This was a stretch for both my skills and my tolerance for city travel at a time when I was still a little emotionally saggy from the break-up, but if there is one thing I have learned watching these people, it is that you have to be nimble and leap for opportunity when it presents itself. I can be nimble. I can leap.
So, for the month of August, I will be archiving and packing and cancelling and throwing out, bringing to close a short but remarkable chapter. Then in September I will turn the page and begin making the 30 mile commute into Minneapolis, which I have been assured I will grow to hate. I am not thinking about that right now, however. When I was in my high school and college years, I always imagined I would end up working in the city, but until now I have never taken a job closer than a second-ring suburb. There is energy there, and untasted flavors that will help me mature as a person and a writer. My anticipation of this new experience downtown is successfully elbowing back any apprehensions. If Mary Richards can do it, so can I.