Last night, I was perusing LinkedIn, and I looked over at the “people you may know” box. I was taken aback when I recognized the name of a woman who interviewed me in 2002, while I was still a senior in college looking to land my first job in New York City.
I won’t say the name of the company, but we’ll just say that it rhymes with Shmartha Glewart Bliving Zomnimedia.
Anyhow, the woman who interviewed me had a very unique name that I won’t soon forget, and it was my first real REAL job interview, so it was a pretty huge deal and a memory that will always stay with me. We won’t even talk about how weird it is that this woman with whom I share no LinkedIn connections or networks showed up as someone I may know (is Big Brother watching??), but our paths indeed crossed years ago, and it struck me that the last eight years may have panned out very differently had I gotten that job. (Call it a Sliding Doors moment.)
You see, I don’t know if I actually would have been offered the job, because some things happened at that company that caused a company-wide freeze on hiring (Shmartha got herself in some trouble with the law on the day of my second interview — something about “insider trading”), so things didn’t quite work out. While I had always intended on moving to NYC after graduation, I no longer had a great lead to get me there, so I moved back home for a little while to figure out my plan. In time, I settled into my first job in Philadelphia (a temporary design position while the company’s art director was on maternity leave), and realized that maybe this was where I was supposed to stay. Over time, New York seemed less and less appealing to me, and I decided to continue calling Philly home, after all.
A year later, after the temporary position had ended, I found myself choosing between two job offers that I received. It was an exciting feeling to be wanted by not one but two prospective employers, but it was also a slightly terrifying decision to be faced with. I ultimately chose the job that offered a higher salary and was closer to home, but it became a job I disliked very much. I only stuck around for five months, but at that job, I made a friend named Tara. And a month after I left that job, Tara had a Halloween party where I met a boy. And, well, we all know how that worked out…
It’s funny to think what my life would look like today had things gone a little differently. What if Shmartha Glewart hadn’t gotten into some legal trouble? Would I have gotten the job in New York (and taken it)? Would I still be in New York now? Would I have eventually found my way back to Philly anyway? And if I had never gone to New York but instead accepted that second job offer in Philly with the lower-paying salary, would I have ever met Nick? Would our paths have eventually crossed even without that Halloween party?
I have a great life, and zero complaints. I know now that New York was never the place for me (though I love to visit), and I’m so pleased with how my choices have shaped my life and my career. It’s just funny sometimes to think, “what if…”
Do you have a lot of “what if…” moments?