I sit behind a 15-year-old wood desk complete with a bowl of mints, a real houseplant, and a phone with more buttons than necessary. I imagine what it would be like to walk up to the glass doors in front of me with a Venti Americano in my hand from downstairs, swipe my badge, say high to the lovely receptionist and make my way to an office with my name stamped on it. People would greet me as I walked through the maze of thinly cut cubicles and I would be respected for making it this deep into the building. But for now, I have only made it to the lobby.
Bold letters reading “The New York Times Company” stamped on the wall behind me are reflected on the glass doors and I can’t help, but get excited. Yes, I am sitting at the front desk answering calls, then transferring them, making appointments, and trying my best to fill the time inbetween with James Patterson novels, but what if there is more. What if this could lead me to something that would be meaningful someday? I really hope so.
My favorite part of the job is picking up the phone and declaring, “Good morning, New York Times.” There is nothing that rolls off of my tongue more sweetly. Who knows who I could be talking to. I could be answering the call of a reporter on assignment in Brazil who is on the tail end of a breaking story or some snooty executive in D.C. who sits behind an office with their name inscribed on a plaque in marble and gold. In some crazy way, I could be a very lucky lady.
I graduated six months ago with my B.A. in news/editorial writing. I had small goals for myself that included writing for some local newspaper. I would cover stories related to town hall meetings, high school parties on Friday nights that ended in barn fires, profiles on the mayor, and who grew the biggest melon at the county fair. I summed up my achievements to be small, yet impactful in their own way. I would never tread the pavement of Wallstreet or touch the fabrics of Diane Von Furstenburg’s newest spring collection during an interview for Vogue. And I was okay with that. I would graduate and be a mediocre writer that never stood out for anything, but enjoyed the simple pleasure of just being able to write. While I could definitely settle for that, I had never tasted the strong, bitter coffee brewed in the break room at the back of the New York Times… and I like it.
This is how I see it:
I wake up in the morning next to my husband and the sweet aroma of fresh brewed coffee slithering through the air, up the stairs, and into my bedroom. I slip into my silk robe and suede slippers, turn on the news, and get ready for the day ahead of me. My makeup is clean and simple, my attire is crisp and classy, and my hair is pulled away from my face. I drive to work in a sleek crossover as I call into work through bluetooth to let them know I will be there for my 9 A.M. appointment. I park in the garage, walk across the street, and enter through the revolving door. I make my way to the second floor and make an immediate right where I see two large glass doors in front of me. I swipe my badge to the right and enter into a world of deadlines, interviews, phone calls, and by-lines. Life is perfect.
Well, coming back down to earth, I am only eight feet away from the front door, which means I am only eight feet away from losing all of this. I have finally gotten myself in the door, literally, and I just hope it lasts long enough for me to get a real chance at this reporting thing I love so much.