In college I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, be a designer for a model home company. I love going through model homes, I loved the way I felt when I was in them and I wanted to live in every model home I visited. Okay, well not all of the ones with shitty floor plans, but that's the architect's fault. When I first got out of college, I got my first "real job" at the place I interned and dreamed about. A model home company. I was so excited! It was an hour drive away from where I lived, but it was in the OC and I could handle that. I would never dare to get a job in LA because it was too scary for me to even think of doing.
I had anxiety that ended with me trying to find a bathroom at a fast food joint at some point on my commute to work, every day. I knew that if I worked in LA I'd end up in some fast food joint that would be in some gang territory resulting in me being jumped into the gang or shot at because I was from Whittier, Esé.
I chose the OC, because it's like working in Fairview (Desperate Housewives 'hood) and when I'd have to find a restroom the worst I would face would be some OC wench with her Louis Vitton bag, fake boobs and her bratty children. Tolerable.
You know how it is when you first start working at a new company, they aren't quite ready for you. The computer isn't set up, or the desk you're going to be sitting at has shit piled on from when the last designer bit the dust. So you have to wait, but you're getting paid to be there so they still make you work.
I got stuck in the memo library. Or the sample library, or whatever the eff they called it.
It was a two story room with super cute berber carpet and pale birch cubbies. I was kinda in Heaven. There was some chick down there, a design assistant aka their design bitch who floated between the library and stocking the pens in the supply closet. And covering the phone when the receptionist went out to lunch.
She showed me the lay of the library... "this is where the wallpaper goes, here's where we keep carpet samples, paint samples are filed here by manufacturer, the drapery memos are here and the ones we need to return to the showroom go here."
I got it, not rocket science but finally I could be alone with all of these glorious finishes that made my model homes come to life.
Then it got to 10:30am and I wanted a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. You know how quickly I work, and back then it was no different. I filed and organized everything I could. Designers would pop in with the samples they were done with and I would gaze at them with adoration, which I am sure creeped them out. But I just wanted to be like them.
When I was left alone down there I didn't want to take a nap and be all obvious about my lack of work, after all it was my first day. So I pretended to organize the shit I already organized and then started to dream.
My dream at the time was to move up from CAD designer to a "real" designer.
I wanted to have my designs in a model home, I wanted to pick the finishes, the furniture and more so I wanted to tell the story of the residents of the model home with my vision.
I wanted to be the designer who drove the BMW, wore cool clothes and take my Franklin Covey leather planner with memo samples out to lunch to make people see how cool I was. I was an interior designer.
That never happened.
Not even a year in, I saw the writing on the wall. Once you were brought in as a CAD designer you didn't move up unless you were a brown nosing OC wench. I wasn't that person, in fact I loathe brown-nosers. I always wanted to be noticed for what I do, not whose ass I kiss.
My next job had me doing commercial interiors and CAD. And while these were things I excelled at, it wasn't that dream I first had in the memo library. And so my corporate career went, do things I was good at, but now doing what I loved.
I finally feel like I am doing what I should be doing, but I couldn't have gotten here without being honest with myself. I had a lot of work to do to get here including dealing with my anxiety (you won't catch me at a fast food joint for that type of pit stop, anymore). While I'm not driving a BMW carrying around memo samples instead you've allowed me to help you. And I've always loved helping people with my expertise. And that's what I want for you. Go find a spot to think about what you really want. Your deepest dreams, what you're really good at and what a dream day looks like. When you start to picture your future reality you'll get there.
People always say "Careful what you wish for, it might come true." Well, it will come true, so make sure you dream up something awesome!
Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in online marketing strategies.Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.