This week I’ve been interviewing candidates to be my replacement at work. It’s been interesting to say the least. It is a slightly different mindset or approach than when you’re interviewing people that will report to you.

Regardless of the position, personality and energy are big factors for me. They are by no means the only factor, but I do pay close attention to whether I click with the person and whether I can see myself working well with him or her.

Personality is still important for me with this position, but I don’t have to focus as much on whether I’d be able to work with the person. It’s more if I think they’d work well with everyone else. Will they be able to handle my bosses sometime cryptic decisions without getting too frustrated? Do they have too much of an ego that can potentially rub some of their peers the wrong way? Are they strong enough while still being tactful to push certain things through?

The candidates have been somewhat opposites thus far and I have a feeling that my boss and I have different favorites.

The other part that has been interesting is to hear them talk about certain aspects of the job as pretty simple, like “oh it should be a breeze!” I know it’s an interview and they are essentially selling themselves, so of course I try my best to gauge the BS. However it’s hard not to come out of those interviews thinking, It’s the best thing for the company that I’m leaving because these guys seem to have a lot more figured out than I do.

I know that’s not completely true and that there’s plenty of strengths I have that they don’t possess. But I also know that they can bring a lot to the table from outside experience that will benefit the company.

Overall we have some pretty good candidates so far with a few more lined up to come in, so hopefully I can get past the awkward interviews and onto having one of them start. The flexible schedule has been really nice, but it’s made the work load heavier when I’m there. Having someone finally onboard and in training will help alleviate that.

September 11th

I was living in New York on September 11, 2001.

Thirteen years later I can still go back to exactly how I felt that day and the weeks following it. I had just moved to NY 3 months prior after graduating from college. I was adjusting to post-college life and trying to find what that first job would be. That morning I was actually sleeping when it happened. My mother called me and told me to turn on the news. At that point everyone still thought that a small plane had accidentally flown into one of the towers. But then I watched as something else hit the second tower. I froze in horror trying to grasp what was happening. Like everyone else, including the news reporters, we were just trying to piece together what this all meant.

I lived in the West Village just a block north of Soho. My roommate had headed for her 2nd day of work in one of the buildings right next to the World Trade Center. I had no idea what time she had left or where she could be.

Out of my balcony which faced north, I could see people standing on the corner facing South looking at the towers. Part of me wanted to go down and join them, but I was terrified. As I watched the 1st tower fall on TV, I simultaneously heard those people gasping as they saw it directly. Even if they never showed the footage on TV or online again, I could still close my eyes and see the building engulfed in a cloud of dust and then disappear.

A little while later the 2nd tower fell. I paced in my apartment, not really knowing what else was to come. About fifteen minutes later my roommate walked through the door. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see anyone. She was in an adjacent building when they decided to evacuate and her and a group of friends just started walking uptown. She didn’t even know that the towers had fallen because she hadn’t looked back. She does have a scar on her leg where some debris fell as she walked to work when the first tower was hit.

All traffic below 14th street was shut down. That night a friend and I went to the corner grocery store and there was complete silence as people walked down the aisles with the same bewildered look. The next morning we went to Brooklyn to my friend’s apartment. The streets were eerily empty as we made our way to the subway. Our typical subway route took us through the WTC, so we had to take the detour and ended up on an outdoor platform switching trains. I remember seeing papers everywhere along the tracks, which I can only assume flew out of the buildings.

I spent the next several days in Brooklyn with a direct few of the smoke still billowing from lower Manhattan. There was just deep sadness and fear of what would come next. Other attacks? War? War on US soil?

The city smelled for months. It’s really an indescribable smell. The best I can do is say that it was a mixture of death and steel. Every time a police or fire truck siren sounded you could feel everyone around you tense up and pause. Something that was a normal background sound of the city, now created a sense of panic.

Every year on September 11th, I remember the dread as I waited for my roommate to come. I recall the eeriness of that night and the next morning in an empty city. I breathe a little heavier.

Even though I only lived in New York for that one year, having been there at that time has cemented an even stronger connection for me with that city.

It’s impossible for me to ever forget.

Funny Rumors

A couple of weeks ago when I was telling one of my past employees, who still works in the company, that I was leaving my current position, she told me where she really thought I had gone for my sabbatical.

She said, “You were gone just long enough to have been on a reality show! We’ve been trying to figure out which one.”

I thought it was hilarious and I guess nowadays it’s what a lot of people do. It seems people had been talking about me while I was gone and some had their theories.

The reality show has become somewhat of a joke now between a few of us. Yesterday as I was meeting with someone she made a comment about whether the show I went to do was about to air. She hinted at a “Bachelor” type show to which I assured her I would never do. Not only does the whole concept gross me out a little bit, but I would not do a show where I’d have to wear a bikini everyday on air. I have standards!

She then joked about Real World to which I told her that it was likely if it was the 1990’s version and not what it is today. Although at this point, I’m way too old to be on that show 🙂

I wonder what people are thinking now. Although I haven’t decided whether to permanently leave the company as a whole, people know that I’m waffling between a new position and leaving, so let the rumors begin. Perhaps I’m waiting to hear whether I’ll be the next Bachelorette after my season airs!

Back to School Nostalgia

The end of summer or back to school time brings in a wave of college nostalgia to my shore. Over the last few years it gets heightened by all the Smith pictures on Instagram and Facebook. It’s more than just nostalgia for the first time I went off on my own and met new people from different backgrounds and cities. That’s definitely a big part of it, but it’s also a yearning for Smith…for what life was like there and for those specific college friends. It was a time and place that can never be replicated and it was truly special.

My family, more like my brothers, makes fun of how I talk about Smith so fondly. When I mention someone who went there or talk about some experience I had while there, they roll their eyes. When I say I read a certain book because a Smithie wrote it, they laugh. I can’t help it though. I feel pride in where I went to school and feel so lucky that this is where I ended up.

I don’t know if I completely believe in fate, but ending up as Smith is one of those life moments that I believe was simply meant to be. I’ve written before about over thinking every decision and about only making a few where I didn’t put too much thought into it. Going to Smith was one of those. I had never heard of it before I got the brochure in the mail. My total anal teenage self looked at every brochure that came in the mail and separated them into piles of yes, no and maybe. Smith ended up in the yes pile and as my parents and I planned a trip to visit colleges in the Boston area the summer before my senior year, it was one of the schools I decided to go see. It was the only school that I scheduled an interview for. To this day I don’t know why I did that, but I did.

As we walked through the campus on the tour, I fell more and more in love. Not only did I love that there was no core curriculum and that there were houses instead of dorms, but the campus was breathtaking. It was everything that I had imagined having watched tons of movies based in New England prep schools and colleges. I came back from that trip knowing that Smith was my first choice.

I still remember that first day so vividly. I remember what I was wearing. I remember how I felt as we walked into Central Check-In. And I definitely can still recall the nausea as my parents left me alone in my room.
Smith played a big role in shaping who I am today. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and I was forced to meet new people. In junior high and high school, I didn’t join clubs. I didn’t want to be involved in school politics. I had my close group of friends and that was it. At Smith, I ran for positions in my house becoming one of the HONS (Head of New Students) my sophomore year and then House VP as a senior. I joined Crapapella, an amazing acapella group for those that love to sing but are tone deaf. I attribute my willingness to join new things to a sense of confidence that Smith helped build within me. When you are surrounded by so many amazing women who push themselves to excel, you push yourself as well.

So when I see the pictures of house banners being put up to welcome new students and of these young women heading to Convocation in their “costumes”, it brings me right back to how I felt while I was there. It’s a slight envy that they are about to embark on such a once in a lifetime experience. They are embarking on a new adventure and there’s nothing like that feeling as you step out to start carving your own path.