Article: Do I Really Want The Corner Office?
Do I really want the corner office?
I grew up wanting the corner office. I figured that’s sorta what you strive for. After putting in 10+ years, some magazine (like Lucky or Allure) would give me a blurb calling me a media maven, I’d have a closet full of color coordinated shoes, a nice overpriced apartment in the city, you know, the whole bit. (I do still want to be able to afford a nice, overpriced apartment, let me just be clear about that.) I’ve realized, at least for now, that everything it takes to become that woman takes things that I am not totally sure I’m willing to sacrifice to attain.
Not that I didn’t try hard. I did. I graduated with seven internships under my belt. After a humbling job search yielded no prospects, I decided to intern again, bringing me to a whopping total of eight. I have yet to meet anyone who has beat that number. Now that the universe has slapped me in the face with what was best for me, I consistently ignored it. I have decided to be honest with myself about what I actually want.
What helped me arrive at this place was illuminated by my last internship. I was there for four days a week, in a department I wasn’t totally a fan of, but at an organization that wasn’t so bad. What was the light-bulb moment? No one went out for lunch. I know that there are those amazing companies that are equal parts play and work. But I can count on one hand how many times I saw the people in that office take time out to absorb some sunlight during the day.
But let’s be real. If you are a recent graduate interested in media, your entry point will undoubtedly be administrative, which means supporting an executive, sometimes many—I interviewed for a job that required supporting four. What’s a girl to do? Suck it up and apply to jobs that are administrative, because you have no choice. I can’t even begin to tell you how many interviews I went on after graduation—I lost count after 25. Long story short: I didn’t get any of them.
In part, this may be because I am in the minority of millennials that actually abhors the idea of the whole “open floor plan” thing. There has to be a space between no partition at all and a cubicle that allows you to have some privacy. I would prefer to make a gynecologist appointment without Steve from marketing knowing about it. I don’t want the layout of yore, but a middle ground is necessary. I get the idea of not having a pronounced hierarchy in the office, to make everyone feel comfortable and allow senior staff to be approachable. I get it, but no.
Also the dreaded conference calls, where you spend an hour on the phone listening in on a conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with you. Seriously, why am I on the phone when you really needed to just have Tyrone from Finance, and Keshia from PR on the line?
Although this is small and probably ridiculous, the exclamation point after the most mundane email correspondences is so painful. (Thank you for filling up the printer with more paper!!!) And if you don’t use it, you come off like an asshole. My editor totally doesn’t care about fake enthusiasm via email, and for that I am grateful.
Let’s make this simple and plain. What my job search has taught me is that I may not be cut out for office life, at least not right now. Though I might sound like a bitter recluse, I have a full, jam-packed social life—I swear. I value solitude, spontaneity (like going to MoMa at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday or random Groupon Getaway purchases that I can use whenever I want), and autonomy. There are obvious downsides to being a freelance writer, but it’s a trade-off I’m comfortable with. Sometimes what you think you want isn’t always what you really want—or what you need, for that matter. My outlook could indeed change, but for now, I’m in a lucky position that allows me to do work that is fulfilling and also allows me to roll out of bed at noon if I so desire. And for that, I am grateful.
This article originally appeared on the Creator Magazine.