One Door Closes, Another Opens

January 22, 2010

Story time…
This is my badge from, let’s call it, The Corp. The photo it displays was taken July 21st, 2003, during the first hour of my first day in the corporate world. I don’t really even recognize this person anymore. The face from six and a half years ago is one of a naive, eager college graduate, excitedly wearing her only business suit. The suit that she had on that day at 5am because she was so excited that sleeping in wasn’t an option.

The girl in the photo didn’t know she would, in fact, start businesses she was only then dreaming about. She didn’t know that in a month from then a certain boy would see her from across the room, nine months later ask her to dinner, and four years later ask her what she was doing for the rest of his life. She didn’t know the best friends, the business friends, the mentors, and the inspirations she would someday meet, nor how to even tell the difference.

That girl hated Kansas City.
That girl thought her paychecks were HUGE.
That girl thought 22 sounded old.

She didn’t know when, if ever, the entrepreneurial bug would really take hold. She didn’t know then that she’d soon be getting into trouble for awesome things like arriving too late in the morning, taking too long of a lunch break, working from home without telling anyone, and taking too much vacation. Umm, I’m pretty sure that girl should have taken the hint sooner.

The day I took this picture I also signed an employment agreement, the agreement I had long since forgotten was stored away in the depths of HR somewhere until it was surprisingly sent back to me last week, six and a half years later, with the request that I print and sign the elusive last page. It was a page I initialed that first day with the letters ALP and dated 07-21-03 in an excited scrawl, while probably not giving a second thought to when I would ever – or IF I would ever – see it again. The Termination Statement.


Six and a half years I’ve carried this security badge around in my purse. I never, ever removed it. It has traveled all over the country, all over the world, with me. It’s been stepped on, thrown across the room, ripped, muddied, cleaned off, dropped down stairwells, used as a weapon, used to show off, and screamed at for not “catching” the security reader as I ran by it too fast in attempts to catch the meeting for which I was surely late. It said one name for many years, then switched to another. It’s been used across town for corporate discounts, made fun of for the crazy orange exposure of the photo, giggled at for the hairstyle of its featured face, and accepted as a part of life.

It was The Badge. It didn’t need any other description. And it was always there, tinkering on the brink of the always-needed-yet-never-noticed line.

And today I will turn it in, along with all of my other…stuff, most of which I have long since emotionally accepted as mine yet have been sharply reminded these past weeks that they never have been, and never will be. I will hand all of it over. I will hand it over and then walk out the door – THE door – and politely, excitedly, and emotionally close it behind me.

I’ve done it. WE have done it.

And with that, I’m off to find new, exciting doors to open…who’s with me?

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