They always say everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in this, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I find myself thinking to myself rather frequently (especially lately), “What if I hadn’t been in this place at that time? I wouldn’t have met so-and-so or experienced this.” It’s crazy when you think about it.
Seriously though…think about it.
I’ve been lucky enough in the past few years to meet some amazing people and have some great experiences and opportunities through being in the right place at the right time. There’s a few instances in particular that stick out in my mind… The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I lived in an apartment complex across from the Penn State branch campus I attended. Over the course of those three months, I’d meet a girl who’d become my future roommate-turned-enemy (who I’ve since made amends with) who would open the door to moving in with another who’d become one of my best friends and turn me into a first-time guncle (gay + uncle = guncle….duh). I’d also meet a guy in the same apartment complex who’d grown up about 20 minutes away from me who’d also end up in Chicago years later and become one of my good friends. Crazy how living somewhere can impact all this, right?
Another time, I’d left a position with a fashion retailer and was fed up with the retail industry. I went on to the state unemployment agency’s website and did a general search for open positions that might work with my college schedule. I ended up landing a great position answering phones for doctors’ office after-hours. It was in this position that I’d become friends with the aforementioned roommate-turned-best-friend (my Roomdog). I think to myself sometimes, if I hadn’t been unemployed and taken a job answering phones…well, I never would have met her. Life would be boring….but then again, would it? I’d never know. Everything happens for a reason.
When I was getting ready to graduate college, I’d been applying solely for positions in Chicago. With two months to go before graduation and being turned down as unqualified for even an internship in the city, I decided to expand my search and look nationwide. I mean, my student loans wouldn’t pay themselves in a few months. Lo and behold, I landed a phone interview then an offer for a position in Lincoln, Nebraska that I’d applied for on a whim. Having wanted 3-5 years of experience for the position and being offered the position – when I was coming out of college without even an internship under my belt -I was completely caught off-guard, but it was an offer I couldn’t turn down. I wasted no time and packed up my life to move 16 hours away from my family and friends to a state through which I’d only ever driven in an RV on my way home from Yellowstone with my family nearly a decade before.
In the two years that I’d end up spending in Nebraska, I met several friends that I can’t imagine not having in my life. It’s crazy thinking about what my life was like before knowing Not-So-Carrie and my separated-at-birth twin.
I also wouldn’t have ever dated the guy who introduced me to two of the guys who orchestrated our recent friendcation to Mexico. Since one of them was good friends with my ex and was in town from Iowa City for the weekend, I was randomly introduced to him at Drag Queen Bingo one Sunday afternoon in Omaha. If we hadn’t both been in town that weekend visiting friends/boyfriends, we would’ve never met. A year later, we both ended up in Chicago with new job offers (or a job transfer in his partner’s case).
For real though…imagine if I’d landed a job offer in Chicago right off the bat. Would I have ever met any of these people? Most likely not.
Speaking of landing job offers on a whim…
Here I was, bored out of my mind with Nebraska, when one of my college professors emailed me out of the blue to let me know that one our alumni who’d been doing design for an international restaurant company in the Chicagoland area had just accepted a position on the west coast with a similar firm. Knowing we’d both be in Chicago for the same design conference a few weeks later, she sent the two of us an introduction and suggested connection while we were in town, thinking I could potentially backfill her previous position. It turns out that her position had already been backfilled internally, but one email led to another, and I was quickly scheduled in for a meeting with not only her, but with two senior recruiters for her current company as well. A few hours after meeting with them the Wednesday morning of the conference, I received a phone call asking if I was available to interview that Friday morning with the senior design manager of the regional office here. Apparently a position had opened that Monday. Umm….of course?
Fast forward two weeks: “We’d like to offer you a spot on the team. It’s a contract position to start, but if you’re interested we’d love to have you. How soon would you be able to start?” Once again….everything was happening for a reason.
It’s been almost a year to the day that this happened.
A week ago, I was told at the office that we were under a hiring freeze and my contract wouldn’t be able to be extended any further than the following Friday when it was due to expire. Nothing like dropping a bomb at 4:53pm on a Friday afternoon that you’d be unemployed a week from then.
Perhaps it’s the little push that I needed to jump ship from a voyage I wasn’t truly happy on. I’m a ridiculously creative individual who thrives on taking a crazy off-the-wall idea and making it a reality. When my position was essentially eliminated, we were in the midst of a corporate restructuring that included restrictively limiting our capabilities as designers to create aesthetically-pleasing spaces thanks in part to a “design catalog” of warehoused items that didn’t match or coordinate. Because of cost-cutting measures, we were being restricted to use only that which was available. Kind of boring, right? Almost inhumane in a sense. Between that and a crazy micromanaging wannabe boss, it was time to go as it was. I’d already been interviewing anyway…
All in all, I’m sure it’s probably a good thing that this happened sooner rather than later. I’d reached a point where I was annoyed more than I was happy. I guess everything, once again, happened for a reason. It’s figuring out what that reason is, however, that’s the annoying part though. So here I sit…it’s the morning of my second day of unemployment and I couldn’t be more bored out of my mind. I sit here questioning what the reason is that this happened.
It’s like that wise person (probably my mother) says: “When one door closes, another one opens. Sometimes more than one will open at a time, and other times you have to just open the door yourself. It’s just a matter of deciding which door you want to go through.”
Who will I meet because of a new job or by being somewhere other than in my cubicle at 2pm on a weekday? Is it time to shift gears and pursue a different career path – even just temporarily so I can tell my kids “I did that” one day? Only time will tell. What I do know, however, is that everything happens for a reason so I’m keeping an open mind about it and letting whatever happens go ahead and happen.