Hi, my name is Rebecca Kelsey Sampson. I joined the AB&A Advertising team March 29th, 2016 as a Digital Media Coordinator and I have quite a few things to say about my first two months ditching #FreelanceLife for #AgencyLife. It wasn’t a journey I had thought I’d be taking a few months ago, but life has a knack at throwing things at you when you’d least expect it (in the best and most horrifying ways).
But before I jump into that, I need to take you back a few months.
It’s February 2015 and I’m now jobless. Not fun, to say the least. I was just laid off from a company I had been with for almost three years and while we parted ways as pleasantly as that kind of situation can be taken, it was still a situation that put me into an awkward position as the main provider in my little family.
Frantic job searching began…. To a dull thud. You hear about how hard it is to find a job, and while you sympathize, it feels like a totally different situation when it happens to you. At first, I was mainly looking into online jobs related to social media and writing, as I had worked from home for several years at that point, but no bites were coming back. So as the job spread widened, I joined unemployment, and started accepting freelance one-off and weekly writing assignments to try and fill in those gaps. Soon I was freelancing left and right, spending more than full-time hours at my computer every day, and it wasn’t enough.
Thinking, “hey, it couldn’t hurt” I started applying to absolutely everything and everything while I felt my soul crushing as I got standard rejection emails left and right. It took me about 100 applications (not exaggerating, I have a spreadsheet to prove it) to realize the problem wasn’t that I was useless, because that’s how crushing a rejected application feels, it was my resume. A few tweaks later and I was actually getting responses.
In the one week after I changed my resume, I was flabbergasted with seven interview requests. Seven! Which brought on another different wave of anxiety. What if they didn’t like me? What if I sounded like I had no clue what I was talking about? What if I looked fat in my outfit?
Hours of interview prep, with many tears and outfit changes involved, and I was on my first round of meet-and-greets.
Did I mention at the time I was pregnant? December 2015 brought upon my husband and I not only the seventh Star Wars movie, but also a happy miracle baby. We decided to wait the standard three months before telling the family, hoping we’d have more good news (“Hey, we are having a baby AND I’ve got a big-girl job! Yay!”), but as time went on and no big breaks were coming our way we let those three months turn into four and a half by the time the interview requests came rolling in.
Hence the “Do I look fat?” interview concerns, because seriously, hiding my pregnancy was not getting any easier. A few successful interviews and call backs later, I had myself deciding which companies to let go and who to make time for. Top of my list, AB&A Advertising.
While I did not yet know what a joy it would be to work with the Interactive team at AB&A, I was seeing hints during the interview process of their fun/professional/knowledgeable environment in their clothing, attitude, and off-traditional interview questions. I was ready for more.
When my call-back led to a job offer, I was ecstatic and nervous all over again. “Oh no, what will they think of my pregnancy? Will they fire me?”
While it’s technically illegal to fire someone over their pregnancy, it happens more often than you’d expect (just ask the What to Expect forums, the horrible and wonderful place that I spent way too much time reading in my early weeks), and my family (now clued into the secret the second I got my job offer) was now becoming increasingly more worried.
And it was all for naught. A week and a half after joining the AB&A team, I spilled the beans. Their response? High fives and teary eyes all around.
A few months ago, the thought of leaving my work-from-home life seemed like a nightmare, something I had to do to keep my family up and running. In the months that have followed I’ve found myself not only enjoying the office environment, but also truly understanding why AB&A says they have been creating #AWESOME for over 22 years.
I know that this experience is unique to AB&A, that my pregnancy most likely would not have been received as the blessing that it is in the other jobs that were considering me at the time, and I’m more grateful that my hell of a 2015 led me here.
The work is rewarding, challenging, varied (hello, going to photoshoots?), and let’s not forget – fun. This was where I was meant to be.
Now happily ditching the work-from-home for #AgencyLife,
Rebecca Kelsey Sampson