If I recall correctly, this was taken on a damp, foggy day in January 2014, upon my first visit to what would be my future employer.
I was ready to leave retail behind, earn more money and do something creative. A temp agency had reached out and scheduled the interview at the corporate office of a major regional furniture store. The position was for a visual merchandiser in their office and in the small, small town of Mulberry in central Florida.
Aside from the furniture store’s complex, the town was compromised mainly of phosphate facilities, two stop lights and a McDonald’s- more or less, that was it. I remember being so nervous for the interview – being a very gay young man in what was obviously a rural, conservative town, as well as relatively inexperienced- but I also remember how nice everyone was. Most everyone defied my expectations and everyone was so pleasant. I must’ve come off the same, as I got the job.
Over the next ten months I learned a lot; not just about design and merchandising, but also about working in a relatively small office environment. I did lots of layouts, site visits to nearby stores (holy crap those moves were tiring!), internal documentation and organisation, graphic design to a degree- I really learned a lot. But the whole time I was still a temp, putting in effort and hoping to go full-time.
That was until the opportunity arose for my job in New York. I had already turned it down once before, not long after I first started at the furniture store, and here came that opportunity again. Out of nowhere but so needed. I said yes.
In a whirlwind of just a few short weeks, I left my life in Florida, and my job in a little rural town, for the biggest city in the nation. Despite leaving, when I look back, I realise that my job (and my boss) in Mulberry taught me so much- so many practical things that I ended up needing or helping me here in New York. Perhaps when I took the job on that rainy day I didn’t think too much of it or respect it enough, but I certainly do now. Every opportunity also presents a lesson and I believe once you find that lesson, learn it, and master it, it’s time for the next one. And that’s what happened.
For this reason, the above photo is featured in my photo book Open Up, available by request. Contact me for details!