People get married at 24. That wasn’t the path for me.

Let’s see, I was 23 when I graduated from The University of Texas (UT) in May.

The job market was not good. I had been an intern for over two years at my dream job but the agency wasn’t hiring. My plan B was to go to NYC. While I figured that out I worked for a dating service as a cold calling telemarketer and I also sold sofas at a high-end sofa retailer.

I enjoyed both jobs. Telemarketing was a lot better than I could have ever imagined. Growing up my grandmother in particular wasn’t kind to telemarketers. She’d get so outwardly pissed because ‘those people just ignore’ those “I’ve already told you… take me off your list” requests. Probably 1 in 10 told me to buzz off which to me was a great, happy-day, surprise. We’d call from torn out pages of the telephone book.

I was 24 when I drove with my dad to Miami for The Miami Ad School in December. I remember we got me set up in an apartment walking distance from the school and I was alone on New Years in the new place for 2002. IN MIAMI BEACH!

Seems like MIAMI BEACH should be in all caps always. I distinctly remember that New Years because I thought the world was ending when at around midnight firecrackers were exploding onto my window. I was in bed. Someone on a higher floor was shooting bottle rockets – and, instead of going away from the building, they were hitting my window. All of them. I’m sure of it. It sounded like bombs. Happy MIAMI BEACH.!. Boom!

The program ended late March [I think that’s right] and my parents drove up in their suburban to help me get home. I remember taking turns driving with my mom and dad. We had two cars- my car and the suburban.

My dad likes to drive fast like me [probably because he taught be how to drive :)] and my mom likes to drive fast but not with me, or rather she just doesn’t like for me to drive too fast. It took a lot longer to get back to Texas. I also remember my mom almost flipping the suburban that trip back. She almost missed an exit and when she darted to it she just about flipped the suburban. Seriously. There was one of those hidden ditches. My mom almost died driving back from Miami in the suburban.

. . .

Great undergrad degree. Stellar post grad degree. No job. Folks in NYC and elsewhere were giving me informational time of day, but I learned pretty quickly I needed to be in NYC to get a job in NYC. My favorite UT advertising professor [Dr. Murphy] even said, “Show me your plane ticket to NYC and I’ll make a few calls for you.”

My parents did not want me to go to NYC without a job. But … I had some savings. Growing up I was in 4-H and was involved in this thing called “the fair”. I raised and showed animals – lambs and a few commercial heifers, specifically. Even won the big show one year with my commercial heifer. That’s another story [imagine rodeo announcer announcing, “Please be aware folks, the Grand Champion Heifer has gotten loose. Please don’t be alarmed by the stray cow on the premises.”]. Plus, I was a saver. I have my first ever savings account logbook with $.15 deposits. Point is I had a good chunk of change saved up and so I decided in May I would move to NYC.