My job search began optimistically.
I started browsing websites on my roommate's computer, cultivating a short list of architecture firms that I thought would be a good fit and personalizing cover letters for each firm. I mailed these out with printed and bound portfolio samplers on fancy paper, then followed up with enthusiastic phone calls. I got no responses.
I started broadening my list of firms and making my cover letters more formulaic, while still directed. I sent CDs with digital portfolios rather than hard copies. Still nothing. I borrowed some money from my parents for rent. I started walking into firms to deliver my resume in person. No luck. I got a part-time job at a guitar store. It turns out you can love guitars but hate selling them.
I reached out to a contractor friend of my father's. "You should work for Yoda Kenobi Architects," he said. That would have meant moving back to suburbia an hour north, and goddammit, I was a Bostonian now. He helped me get an interview with another Boston firm. The interview was a dead end. I borrowed more money from my parents. My unemployed brother and I responded to an ad and spent a day delivering phone books. It turns out you can love talking on the phone but hate delivering phone books. I don't even like talking on the phone.
I took one of the phone books, flipped to "Architects," and started at the letter A. I went right down the list and emailed my resume and a generic cover letter to anyone who had a website with an email address.
Crickets... crickets... crickets...
In August of 2002 our lease was up. After eight months it had become clear to me that as much as I wanted to be in Boston, Boston didn't want me. It's great being young in the city. It sucks being young and broke in the city. With $700 in my bank account and much more than that owed to my parents, I decided to leave Boston to move back to suburbia an hour north to live at my parents' house.
With the albatross of my big city dreams released from around my neck, there was no reason not to reconsider a job with Yoda Kenobi Architects. In fact, I was sensing more and more that this was exactly what the universe wanted me to do, and what I wanted to do. You cannot escape your destiny.
I called Obi-wan Kenobi. I told him I was moving back north.
"I would be extremely interested in any employment opportunities you might have for me, whether it's drafting work, getting coffee, scrubbing toilets, anything," I said.
"Help me Obi-wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."
I didn't have to scrub toilets. Over the next twelve years, I would build my career with Yoda Kenobi Architects, from an intern architect, to a project architect, to a project manager. I would have many interesting projects and challenging work. I would develop my expertise as a specialist in healthcare architecture.
However, my destiny was tested when Erin moved to Boston with some friends the following year, while I was living an hour north. After maintaining a long-distance relationship for a year and a half before she graduated, we now had the weekends together but still spent the weekdays talking on the phone. I don't even like talking on the phone.
I moved in with her, in Boston (Somerville, actually). Rather than walking fifteen minutes to the office, I was now driving an hour north out of the city every day to the office of Yoda Kenobi Architects. But I was back in Boston, still young and no longer broke.
An economic bubble had started inflating, and I found myself surrounded by architecture firms in Boston who were now hiring.
But I felt compelled to stay with Yoda Kenobi despite the life-sucking commute.
Maybe it was loyalty, maybe it was comfort, maybe it was anticipated opportunity, or maybe it was some unseen force in the stars above, which were themselves unseen due to the light pollution in Boston. Maybe I just dreaded going through the whole resume and interview song and dance again.
Destiny soon rewarded my perseverance. After several years of my commuting, Obi-wan announced that Yoda Kenobi was opening a second office just outside of Boston. Two years later this office relocated to Boston proper (Charlestown, actually).
Rather than driving an hour north out of the city, I was now fifteen minutes away from my office by car, bus, or bike. I was now living the urban dream I had clung to so desperately for eight months after graduation, then cast aside.
Goddammit, I was a Bostonian now.
Coming Soon - Episode VI: Return of the Jobless