Chapter 2: Left Coast
I packed two suitcases, my dad snuck me $300 in cash, said goodbye to my parents, and I was ready for my new chapter - as the blogger for the mobile marketing tour for my dream company.
I was scared, but I was ready.
I arrived a few days before tour was going to kick off so I could get settled in my hostel and venture around Santa Monica.
It was late by the time I got there – I quickly unpacked and walked outside, but I had missed the sunset and it was pitch black. I took a walk around the block and noticed a huge ferris wheel lit up.
Huh, I thought I was by the water?
I grabbed dinner, went back to my room with 10 other people in bunks already sleeping and tried as quietly as possible to go to bed without waking any of them up.
I woke up the next morning, walked over to my suitcase to get my stuff to shower and realized that my shampoo, conditioner, facewash and soap were all missing.
Are you kidding me?
Other than my stuff getting stolen on the first night (I ended up locking it up for the rest of the time I was there), it wasn’t so bad. I actually was right by the beach and the ferris wheel was on this pier called the Santa Monica Pier. I got to walk along the beach each morning and I saw a bunch of really cute things happening out there – a group of moms with their strollers walking their babies one morning, a group of nuns taking children out to see the ocean, and even a Hurley tent posted up for surfing lessons.
I thought any place with a ferris wheel on the ocean is amazing and I had a feeling I was going to be happy.
My alarm woke everyone up in my hostel bedroom at 5am on my first day of work. I quickly jumped out of my bunk and hit the shower and was at the bus stop in an hour.
This would be my first time riding a public city bus.
I had no idea what I was doing.
With three hours to make the 40-minute trek, I thought I had plenty of time to get there.
I got off to a rocky start by getting on four wrong buses. Finally, one nice bus driver stopped and actually helped me.
He dropped me off after a short ride and told me to walk over to the other side for another bus that would be coming in the next 15 minutes.
I said thanks, stepped off the bus and noticed there were 3 different bus stop signs where he had pointed me to go! I had no idea which one to walk to.
Right at that moment, this older woman around 70 years old was walking down the street right toward me...
"You look lost sweetheart.”
STORY OF MY LIFE!
“Is it that obvious?”
Haha, “Where are you trying to go?”
“Oh, you need to go to this stop,” and she literally wraps her arm around my arm and walks me over there, then proceeds on her daily morning walk.
My little angel – thank you, God.
Finally, I get on another bus. At the very next stop, a man with Down Syndrome hops on and sits right in front of me.
The bus moves again and he counts each stop sign, “One! Two! Three! Four!” and pulls the cord which indicates the driver to stop.
So that’s how it works - thank you, God! My second angel that day.
Help comes in many different forms.
I got off the bus after realizing I had passed the stop that I was supposed to get off - I had pulled the cord too late. Panicking, I call my parents at home. I was lost and had only about 30 minutes to make it to the office.
“Okay, what streets do you see?”
Thank God for dads - especially mine.
Dad told me which way I was walking and to turn around and go the other way and stayed with me on the phone until I got there.
You never know how much effort it takes for someone to get to work, do you?
The team that I would be working with for the next few months started coming into the lobby and we were all getting to know each other when a XXXXXX employee came out to greet us, “Hey guys, come on in this way.”
And then she opened those doors and we were officially on the inside. It was amazing and everything was just so cool and exciting.
Tour kicked off shortly after that and it was phenomenal. We stopped at about 10 different cities all along the west coast. From Chula Vista all the way up to Seattle, which was really neat because I had never really been out there other than for soccer tournaments. It was my first time too experiencing the Pacific Northwest – and man, that area is gorgeous.
To this day, those were some of the best days of my life.
And I found out that I loved photographing and interviewing everyone.
The whole experience brought me back to my old soccer-playing days: hearing about the games from the players, talking with the siblings of the players, joking around with the parents, seeing college coaches scouting, even the smell of the soccer fields in the morning with dew on the grass…
My life changed at the Portland, Oregon stop.
That morning, there were four of us working at the site and it was getting hot and muggy. I knew that XXXXX's headquarters wasn’t far away, so I was hoping we’d have some visitors that knew people who worked there – maybe what I told my parents would come true?
One of my colleagues was making a run for breakfast and asked if I wanted to go, but I said I’d stay behind and work instead. Getting coffee sounded much better right then, but something was telling me I should stick around and I didn’t want to lose any chance on meeting people there.
Shortly after my friend left, a woman came up and we started talking. After a few minutes she said, “I really like you! What do you want to do?”
And I said, “I want to get a full-time job working for XXXXXX in the soccer category.”
It was a little odd how specific I was in what I wanted right at that moment – but it shot out of my mouth just like that.
“Look! I just got the goosebumps, my husband’s right over there (points to a man five feet away) – he just became the head of sales for soccer at XXXXXX. Let me introduce you to him – “Mark!” she yelled.
Mark walked over and smiled. “Listen, a job opened up literally yesterday for a new position we just created. You should apply. I’m not going to say you’re going to get it – and we literally get about 3000 applicants a day for each new job post, but you should apply,” and he handed me his business card.
I told him I would, thanked the both of them and when we wrapped up that day, I went back to my hotel room, typed up my resume, emailed it to him and officially applied for it on XXXXXXX.com.
I got a call a few weeks later and the next thing I know, I’m flying out to Miami to interview.
I get to this posh building for the interview – the elevator doors open and my jaw hit the floor. I could see the ocean and the sunlight dancing on top of it - and I then look towards the lobby and there was this gorgeous model sitting on the couch waiting for his XXXXX photo shoot to begin.
I got called back for the interview and it was Mark and another woman, Katie.
You know when you know right away that someone doesn’t like you?
That’s the feeling I got, the second I met her.
There were several questions I got asked, but this one stuck out to me and it came from her.
“Tell me about a time that you had conflict on the soccer tour and what happened?”
“Quite honestly Katie, I loved every second. I can’t think of one moment of conflict out there.”
She just stares at me.
She’s apparently not very happy with this answer.
“Surely something must have gone wrong out there.”
“Nope, honestly – I loved every second!”
She then rolls her eyes at me.
Rolls her eyes.
This can’t be good.
“You’ve got to tell me something that happened!”
“Well, I guess there was that one time when a huge gust of wind blew our tents over and the children ran out screaming and thankfully, no one was hurt.”
She didn’t like this...
She's staring at me...
“Fine. I guess that’ll work - so, what did you learn?”
“To use stakes?”
Mark starts laughing hysterically and she’s officially pissed…
“What – did – you – learn?”
And somehow I blurted out,
“Don’t overlook the small things because they could be the most important part.”
She seemed to be okay with that answer and Mark laughed again.
I found out I got that job about four weeks later.