I attended a national high school journalism conference in Washington, DC about halfway through my senior year. One of the first assignments we received was a huge interviewing project where we had to pick a buddy, interview each other and write a nice little intro piece for the conference booklet. I came across said booklet a few weeks ago and was completely taken aback to see that my ten year plan included, among other things, working for CNN, buying a house and birthing ten children. Yes, ten! Now, its approaching eleven years after that bizarre interview and since I’m not introducing myself as Media Working Girl you’ve probably guessed by now that at least part of that plan fell through.
Instead of hosting my own prime time news-talk hour and giving Anderson Cooper “the eye” during commercial breaks, I’m managing the professional lives and schedules of two wonderful—albeit high maintenance—senior vice presidents at an Atlanta-based healthcare consulting company, one of whom actually compared himself to Diana Ross during my first weeks as his assistant. While I’ve seen many a professional, degreed career woman scoff at the lowly assistant role, I happen to enjoy life in the trenches. Think of one of those popular TV dramas wherein the main characters are sprinting across the world following clues, torturing suspects, taking out WMDs, etc. There is rarely an episode where said characters do not find themselves in a jam and in immediate need of the recipe for a do-it-yourself dirty bomb or the floor plans of the Bagdad airport and out pops the cell phone. You see, that’s me, on the other end of that cell phone, tucked away in a darkened office, crouched in front of multiple computer screens with fingers flying over the keys, hacking into top secret files and supplying the intel.
Well, that’s kinda me. While my job is not nearly that glamorous nor does it involve national security, I do get quite a rush tracking down a client for a pop-up conference call or locating an alternate route to a meeting venue at the crack of dawn or figuring out the fastest and most cost effective way to get one of my guys to appointments in Chicago, San Diego, Las Vegas and back over a two day period. Its challenging and rarely boring. I did say rarely boring, not never boring, because there are times when 100+ page documents need proofing and PowerPoint presentations require formatting but at the end of the day, its fulfilling work.
After the daily grind, I leave my office and head over to what I consider my SECOND job: Two Little Girls, Inc.! My seven and four year old daughters are far more high maintenance but definitely more rewarding than any paying job I’ve ever had and being a single mother means that I can’t tag my partner into the ring when I need a break after 5 rounds of Uno Attack or just to create a diversion while I attempt to prepare a nutritious yet kid-delicious meal. So, after a day of tackling piles of expense reports, cold calling prospects and clearing paper jams in the copier, my evenings generally involve squeezing as much parenting as possible into the two hours we have together before bedtime. At that point, I take off all my hats and attempt, yes I do mean attempt, to focus on me: my health, my writing. Not in that order and rarely every day. I have a list of “me things” all lined up for the year 2024. That’s when the youngest will (hopefully) set out into the world, leaving me the time and energy to finally get some things done. And yes, I’m kidding . . . I hope.
As for the rest of my ten year plan, I didn’t get very far and I’m OK with that. I’ve come to terms with living in the aftermath of a failed marriage and several other not so great decisions that leave me feeling, at 29, way older and perhaps a little wiser. The fact that we’ve just entered a new decade has me all excited about renewal and endless possibilities while I’m simultaneously taking stock of my entire existence as I prepare to exit my twenties next month. It’s a strange yet electrifying place to be as I join the WG Staff as Healthcare Working Girl!