On my parent’s seven and a half acres, you can count one horse, a smattering of barn cats, a handful of chickens clucking about, and our beloved golden retriever. Growing up, I drove anywhere from 15 – 45 minutes to get to work, held 13 jobs since age 16, usually working multiple jobs at once, and the largest town I lived in was Menomonie, Wisconsin when I attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout. However, living and working in a “big city” always held an allure to me. While my parents were wonderful at ensuring my brother and I were aware of how much world there was outside of the small country town we grew up near, I still had a ball of excited and nervous butterflies flitting about in my tummy the first time I visited Minneapolis with friends and not the safety of my family.
Fast forward to last month when I celebrated my one year anniversary with Atmosphere Commercial Interiors at our downtown Minneapolis corporate headquarters. This past year has been a whirlwind of experiences and emotions–from being brand new to the commercial furniture industry and learning all I can at every corner and opportunity–there’s been a lot of “can I do this?” which always progressed into “I did it!”
The journey to get here has been an interesting one and one I truly cherish. The beginning of my move from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota, began on October 16, 2017 with applying for the position through to my arrival to Minneapolis on November 10, 2017 and first day on November 13, 2017. That’s job application, interviews, receiving an offer, job acceptance, finding an apartment in a two-day span, packing and moving all in less than four weeks. Whew. I’m out of breath just remembering it!
There were a lot of goodbyes and see-ya-later’s in Wisconsin, and looking back at the three years post-graduation, pre-Atmosphere, I realize how all of the experiences and job positions I held were essential to my being “ready” to make the move to Minneapolis and skills gained that were necessary for my current position. Everything really does happen for a reason; the more difficult and not-as-exciting jobs are often the ones that lend important life skills and knowledge for what you are meant to do in the coming days, months, years, and decades. The people you meet, the coworkers and leaders you work with (even the ones you don’t really like) are all vital to your growth and what you are meant to do. Being that I’m just under the 28-year-old mark, I (hopefully) have a lot of life yet to live and a lot of moments to experience, but I know I’m on the right path.
When I reflect on the past year, one of my most memorable moments happened over a three-month period where my mentor and partner-in-crime left on maternity leave after I had only been with Atmosphere for six months. Talk about me questioning my experience and knowledge! My first week solo (plus stellar Marketing Intern – Elise) was a bit of a culture shock. My workload can fluctuate, but always stays quite steady, and in that first week, it tipped the scales to the *we are working all hours of night and day*. It quickly leveled out and my initial overwhelmed feeling subsided, but there definitely was a transitionary period. We tackled Minnecon in July together, ensuring the social media, booth setup, and preparations were all covered, including a giveaway! While it was a challenging three months and a bit stressful at times, it was educational and just plain fun. It’s not the easy times that make you grow, it’s the ones where you feel like you’re in over your head and don’t know where to start.
The perfect end to year one with Atmosphere was attending Fusion + Fashion at First Avenue–eight of my brilliant coworkers and I created a Slipknot-inspired look for this year’s show, and we took home Brightest Star: Best in Show Runner-Up! The two months of hard work creating and executing the outfit was amazing, as I was able to develop relationships with fellow team members I don’t typically work with. The feeling of standing with them when we were announced the second place team is one I’ll never forget. (I think my voice has finally recovered!)
It’s incredible the amount of change that can happen in one year–from the new knowledge you can gain, the friendships you can make, how a new job in an unknown industry in a new city and state can become the beginning of a career you’ve always wanted, but in a way you never knew existed. I love the work I do, the people I work with, and I’m incredibly grateful for all I’ve learned over the past 12 months. Cheers to 2019 and all there is yet to be learned!