“…You have no sense of fashion…”
“I think that depends on…”
“No, no, that wasn’t a question.”
Last month found me relating to this iconic scene from The Devil Wears Prada on a personal level. I had flown to Tampa Bay, Florida for an interview to be the Executive Assistant to Amanda, the founder of a wildly successful fitness company. And even though there were no demeaning looks or Pellegrino bottles, the entire experience felt like something from a movie.
I was standing in my future boss’ beautiful home wearing a poorly tied tie and ill-fitting pants purchased from J Crew the night before. I stood there nervously shifting from foot to foot hoping that my incredibly wrinkled “wrinkle-resistant” pants weren’t too noticeable while Amanda asked me about my trip to Florida. She calmly painted her nails while I prattled on about my flight and where I stayed the previous night.
The whole experience felt like something out-of-body because I’d barely had time to process what was happening. I had heard about the job precisely nine days before the interview in Florida, and that fast turnaround had kept my famously overanalytical mind from working itself into a frenzy.
I was quickly snapped back to reality as the pleasantries with Amanda came to an end and the interview began. She said she wasn’t interested in a sit-down interview full of groundbreaking questions like, “What is your greatest strength?” or “Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem.” Instead, she wanted to do a working interview to see if I could, as the position’s title suggested, successfully act as an executive assistant.
I soon had a legal pad full of tasks and began checking them off one by one as the morning progressed. My initial fear that I wouldn’t make the cut was temporarily sidelined because, quite frankly, I didn’t have a moment of downtime to stress out about whether or not I was making a good impression. The morning flew by as I completed the task list, and as I worked, I realized that this was an opportunity I did not want to lose.
This was further cemented by the fact that I loved working with Amanda. She is driven and kind, and she has a way of inspiring those around her to hold themselves to a higher standard. Those qualities were essential to me because, as is well-documented in The Devil Wears Prada, no amount of luxury can make up for working closely with a devilish boss.
I left that day feeling excited about the possibility and sincerely hoped that the job would come through. Thankfully, Amanda doesn’t waste time, and I received the job offer exactly one week after the interview.
I hopped off the phone after asking for some time to think about it but found myself excitedly calling her back less than ten minutes later to say I was going to take the position. While it was easy to accept the job, it was difficult leaving my prior place of employment because there were no hard feelings. On the contrary, I loved my team and the work I completed on a daily basis, but I was growing restless. I had lived in Ohio for close to seven years and had started to realize that it was time to move onto the next chapter of life.
The next couple of weeks were an absolute whirlwind as I prepared for the move. Some days were better than others as the emotions of saying goodbye hit me in waves, but overall, I felt an excitement about the upcoming change.
It’s now been two weeks since I filled my crossover with everything I could fit and began the move down south. Since then, I have grown accustomed to the fast-paced style of work and the daily workouts with Amanda and her husband, Brandon. Trying to picture me working out with two fitness professionals? Let me help:
- Close your eyes
- Picture Honey Boo Boo
- Now picture Jillian Michaels and Billy Blanks
- Finally, imagine them coaxing young Boo Boo into plié jumps and wall sits
Even though it’s only been two weeks since the great southern migration, I have learned many valuable lessons. I’ll probably end up writing a blog post titled “Why Mansions and Trailer Parks Share the Same Street: And Other Lessons Learned in Florida,” but in the meantime, I’ll share the following simple takeaway: it pays to take a chance. I know, I know, what an earth-shattering conclusion, but hear me out.
It was a serious leap of faith to move to a place where I barely knew anyone to begin a job that was wildly different than the one I previously worked in Ohio. But if I hadn’t taken that intimidating step, I wouldn’t know the incredible group of people I now call my team, I wouldn’t be on the ground floor of a rocket ship company reaching new heights every day, and I certainly wouldn’t be wearing shorts in January.
I never want to live such a comfortable life that I have to start a companion blog titled The Most Innocuous Person at the Table, but I shouldn’t have to worry about that if I keep taking exciting chances like the one that brought me to Florida.
So that’s the update. The entire situation is radically different than what I’ve experienced before, but I love every moment of it. And now that my life isn’t in a huge transition, you can expect me to post on here more regularly. I’ve got quite a few goals to accomplish before October 5, so I need to get on it. I hope you are ready to join me for an incredible year.
Disclaimer: I do not think my boss is the devil, but I am an assistant now and couldn’t pass on the opportunity to reference such an iconic film.