March 15th 2016
Story originally written and experienced: September 17th, 2013
“I need to see you in my office.”
He said as he over my desk. “Does 12:30 work for you?”
I glanced up at him, wide-eyed and a little nervous.
Because he knew I knew.
But. He also knew that as my boss, he was obligated to tell me himself.
“Yeah, I can do 12:30.”
“Great, we’ll talk then kiddo,” he said with a sigh of relief, turning his silhouette away from me and walking towards his impeccably-clean office.
12:30 pm was painfully far away.
Each m i n u t e s dragging on and on as the digital minutes on my computer screen kept ticking on by.
Scott was typing passionately at his desk, eyes glued to the screen, attention only deterring because two knocks rapped on his door.
“Oh, hey kiddo! Is it 12:30 already? Come in, come in…and shut the door behind you.”
I obediently shut the door, hugged the notebook I brought out of habit anytime I went to any sort of meeting, and sat down on the l o n g w o o d e n b e n c h that resided on the
opposite end of his desk.
He kept t y p i n g.
Then texted a bit. Apologized for running behind, and promised he only needed to send one.more.email…and then he’d be done. “Okay! Done. Alright. I’m all yours,” he declared, punching the enter button with gusto on his sleek Apple keyboard, triggering his supposed last e-mail to be sent out into the abyss. He took a deep breath.
Looked down, and then back up at me.
“Olive, I want you to know that I fought for you. I did. Really, I did…but because of spacing issues…and with everything that’s been going on with office relocations…I was told today that I have to transfer you out of the Manhattan office, and into the New Jersey office starting this spring.”
He knew I knew.
I had the feeling for a couple of days now.
Maybe because I saw people marching
of their supervisors’ offices who had been relayed the news.
Or maybe because I heard whispers between the execs about how they were making cuts on who had to go and who had to stay.
“I understand, Scott.”
“I do. I know it wasn’t your choice.”
He half smiled. And so did I.
Then I said.
“Scott, can I talk to you for ten more minutes? Do you have time?”
“Of course, kiddo. What do you need?”
I took a deep breath.
“Do you know why I didn’t take that job with Ralph Lauren? I know this is weird to talk about with my boss, I know. But I also know you know I interviewed, and now that I’m not going there, I wanted to tell you why…
I didn’t take the job because I love a lot of things about this one. And when I thought about the next year of my life and where I could be, Nautica felt a lot better for a lot of reasons—the commute, the people, the fact that I can do writing for both e-comm and marketing, and most of all, having you as a mentor. You’re the person who believed in me and hired me when I had no experience at all, strictly for the sake of giving a 22 year old a fair shot at something great.
Thank you so much.
But you know…now…with this new move, I won’t have any of those things anymore. I’ll have an hour and a half commute every day, I’ll only be working with one team and you’ll…be here. I know you haven’t officially told me this yet, but I heard through the grape vine that I won’t be under your management anymore.”
He looked down, and then back up at me.
I guess it was true.
“So now, here I am, thinking ahead about where I’ll be again, and realizing staying was the best decision for me then. But now?
I’m not sure it still is.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m a fiercely loyal person, and I want to support you. But with every reason I decided to stay…no longer being reasons anymore…I can’t promise you that I’ll still be here when spring rolls around. I want to stay for the site relaunch, and for all the campaign projects we started, but I may leave the company after that.”
And then he said something I completely didn’t expect.
“I was really hoping you would say that.”
“You know I’d love to keep you here. But when I hired you, one of the reasons I did was because you were a 22 year old, bright-eyed writer who wanted to make it in Manhattan. And I felt really good giving someone a chance like that…and now I’m sending you to a different state…to do less?
It doesn’t feel right.
I think you’re entirely too young and entirely too passionate to hold yourself back. Which is why I dreaded our meeting today. I didn’t want to tell the person I once helped that I had to hinder them, because it’s the opposite reason of why I brought you on board in the first place. And if I were you? I’d feel the same way, because let me guess, you didn’t move to New York City to work in Secaucus, New Jersey, did you?”
I hid a smile and looked down, “No, I didn’t.”
“…Good. Look, you wear a lot of hats here, you do a lot of things and you’re pul < > led a lot of ways, and you deserve to wear one hell of a hat, even if that means you have to go somewhere else to find that hat.”
“Thank you, Scott.”
“You’re welcome, and don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone about our talk. You have my silence and my support until you leave. Just keep me in the loop?”
“You got it. Absolutely.”
I stood up, hugged the notebook I brought out of habit anytime I went to any sort of meeting, and walked towards the door. I could hear him t y p i n g away exactly on cue to my departure.
He never wasted a minute.
And neither did I.
A few weeks later I got a job at Michael Kors.
And a few weeks after that, I put in my two weeks, connecting my final day at Nautica to my first day somewhere else.
And it felt damn good.
Because I realized.
There are times in my life when I don’t need more.
But then there are times in my life.
When I really do.
Sometimes the friends I have, the trips I take and the restaurants I make reservations at are more than plenty.
Life circumstances,—a job, relationship, etc.—do that thing where they give you a serendipitous push to try something completely different.
Just to see if it’s what you want.
And to make that decision easier, I put the two options
side by side
And ask myself.
“If I were to think about my life one year from now, knowing I have the serendipitous opportunity to switch shit up, does the idea of being exactly where I am and doing exactly what I’m doing…relieve me? Or does the idea of an update feel damn nice?”
Because there’s always a gut reaction.
One that we should follow.
Because if you ultimately decide staying consistent is your jam.
That means you’re doing things right and living a life that fulfills you. And that’s fantastic.
If the thought of change feels pretty bad ass.
Because that officially means.
You’re ready for something new.