"Congratulations, your next rotation will be located in Burbank, CA. Attached is your relocation package, as well as the contact information for your future manager. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with."
When I first heard the news that I was going to have to relocate from New York City to Los Angeles for the first rotation of my finance leadership program, I remember thinking, ‘Sure, can you pay my therapist bills?’
I had been sitting at my desk at the headquarters of a worldwide conglomerate and I had just agreed to move across country. In the next three weeks, I would have to wrap up my current position, train a former Dolce & Gabbana model to “like learn finance”, move across the country away from my family and friends, and start a new life in a new city – alone.
It was six days before Christmas, two weeks before my first year-end close, and approximately one second before a quarter-life crisis and mental breakdown. I’m talking about a legit breakdown. The usually mute manager from across the hall validated the visibility of my instable state when he asked me if there had been a death in my family (I’m guessing the fruit basket I had coincidentally won from the cafeteria that morning hadn’t helped the situation).
That night, I kicked off the celebration of my first rotation with a liquid dinner and a lot of Kleenex.
Fast forward five months, after a weekend of “house hunting”, in which I only left my hotel room and ANTM marathon to a) go to Pinkberry and b) swipe away my signing bonus at the Beverly Center, and I’ve finally learned how to navigate ten Excel documents without using a mouse, audited the “Sexiest Weather Anchor” of Maxim on her excessive company expenditures, and finally completed my first “semester” of MBA-like coursework while commuting back and forth between L.A. and Hotlanta (while singing “Welcome to Atlanta” every time I stepped off the plane).
The most important things that I’ve learned along this long journey are also the hardest. I’ve learned how to step out of my comfort zone to make friends in a new city and have realized what it means to miss someone. I’ve learned how to work hard, but play a bit harder, and to maintain a balance of aggression and compassion at the office – two things that are important and necessary for every worker no matter what industry you are in or how old you may be.
Although I still despise certain things about this city of Hollywood glamour (Wayfarer sunglasses, traffic, Ed Hardy, and waiting in line to get into my neighborhood bar just to name a few), I’ve learned to love the little things that Los Angeles has to offer (like never needing an umbrella).
As the first rotation of my program comes to a close, stay tuned as to where I’ll end up this August (because your guess is as good as mine). And if anyone is interested, I’m hitting up my neighborhood bar tonight. If you want to join me, I’ll be the blonde toasting early retirement with a shot of tequila chased down with a vodka tonic.