Where is Lexi B: The Chronicles of A New Commuter
For the past 6 weeks, I have been entering a new world: The world of commuting. Being a commuter is no easy endeavor as it requires me to be leave my house at 6:30am to catch a 7:16am train to get to the office by 8:30 each day. This was a hard transition because I am accustomed to just hopping in the car and going as I please. But now, with this new professional step, I find myself bowing down to the CalTrain weekday schedule.
My favorite part of my commute is the 15 minute walk from the train station to my new office. The hustle and bustle of the other commuters screaming for taxis, searching for ubers, and dodging crazy drivers is the most exhilarating and calming feeling at 8:00am. I feel like I belong to part of something bigger than myself because while I do not know any of these people personally, we all have the same morning goal: Get to work in one piece.
My safety blanket during this whole experience is my iPod. (Yes, I still use an iPod because I like to keep my phone and my music separate.) For me, music is more than a sick beat or a smooth melody, it is also a reminder of memories. Last week, Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp” came on via shuffle and all I could think about were those hot St. Louis childhood summers sipping slushies and catching fireflies after Vacation Bible School. When T-Pain “Can’t Believe It” came through my speakers this morning, I smiled and thought about sophomore year in college when Robert Watkins and I themed a full year program on the rapper. (Literally, 9 months of T-Pain themed parties, work sessions, and events for new freshman). By the time I get to my office, change out of my “commuter flats” and take that first step in my heels, I ready to take on anything as the new compliance project manager at Airbnb.
Transitioning to Airbnb was an emotional rollercoaster that started last September. I had been at my previous tech company for 4 years and I started to wonder if staying was the best decision for my career. I learned so much for my previous employer. Scratch That. I learned everything that I know about tech from my previous employer. Without my 4 years of experience, I would not have my strong foundation in project and program management. But it was time to start researching new adventures and challenges. As much as I don’t want to publicly admit it, I was terrified about the interview process for the next career move. I had not professionally interviewed in over 4 years and I was so comfortable at my company. The idea of learning new cultural rules and starting relationship building was daunting. My comfort level stopped me from seeking new opportunities and I tabled the idea until late November.
A job opportunity approached me right before Thanksgiving and I decided to move forward with it because why not?! While this specific opportunity did not work out in my favor, the “interview bug” bit me hard and I made a plan to start pursuing new employment when I came back from winter break. Airbnb was never really on my radar. I knew of the organization and it’s incredible company culture, but I was not convinced that I had a chance. It is one of the hottest start ups in the Silicon Valley and receives thousands of applications for each opening. Why would my resume stand out in a crowd of people from all over the world with experiences that I could only dream of? I went to the website, scouted for a job description that both interested me and could potentially match my resume, and pressed send.
I never thought I would be working here, within a group of such diverse people. I strategically use the word diverse because when I describe my organization as diverse, I am not referring to the usual physical definition that we always assume. I am talking about having lunch with a former wine maker turned chef to having coffee with a former tattoo artist turned graphic designer. That’s the best part of working here. Each day, I can hear the oral stories of fascinating people and they encourage me to share mine. I feel like I am part of a family even though I have not met all of my work siblings. The culture of this organization makes me want to be a better person in my personal life. It makes me want to experience more, live louder, and love harder. It has been a crazy 6 weeks, but I have made some wonderful new friends and fantastic travel arrangements. Our mission is simple: We want to create a world where everyone can belong anywhere. After my first day, I knew that Airbnb was where I truly belonged.
So if there is one thing you should take away from my job searching experience, here it is: Do not allow your comfort and security to stop you from finding the next big thing. The only thing that is constant in the world is change and you need to learn how to successfully handle the anxiety of new environments and new people.
PS- Second thing you need to learn: A badass playlist will help any commute. Just saying…