July 14, 2015

Trust, and step forward

When I signed up for Ei, I knew that I would be stretching myself, and walking in places and doing things completely unfamiliar to me. I just didn’t know how challenging it would be.

Nowhere was this more apparent to me than three weeks ago when I was trying to determine where to spend my third term. I had a few great leads in various cities around the globe – from Mexico City to Seattle – but I hadn’t determined where I was going, what I was doing, or who I would be doing it with. All I knew is I had to figure it out quick.

After our third meet-up, I headed back home to Utah so that I could help my sister move to her new home in Seattle. I was leaning heavily towards that city and had asked her to let me stay with them to help them move in while I completed my third term with Ei. It would be perfect. I could help them get settled, I wouldn’t have to find a new place to live, and I could enjoy the beautiful Northwestern area with my adorable niece.

But things never go according to plan.

We were supposed to arrive and unpack on Thursday night. The moving truck kept dying throughout the journey and we arrived at the apartment 20 minutes after the office closed. Fortunately we have friends who live in Seattle (Thanks Bennions!). Unfortunately, I had planned on having wifi and a room because I’d scheduled a few calls for the following morning. One call turned into three, and three turned into seven. If I ever get asked to interview on the day I move, I’m going to say no.

What followed was one of the most intense days of my life: Seven phone interviews with four different companies in three different cities – Chicago, Mexico City and Seattle. Many of these interviews happened while we were driving from our friend’s house in south Seattle to the new apartment in the north, or while moving couches out of the moving truck. It was exhausting both mentally and physically.

The next few days were a bit of the same, I was hustling. I got an offer from one company, and had some second interviews with others the next day. Long story short, I decided that I would come to work with Ogilvy in Chicago. I would learn UX (I need to gain a greater respect for the powerful digital side of communication) and help with content strategy. They wanted me out on Monday, only four days after the call.

Four days to not only pack and buy a plane ticket, but to find a place to live!

Growing up, I was always told that I should pray like everything depended on God and then act as if it all depended on me. I’ve tried to follow that motto my entire life, and it has yet to fail me. The next four days I was praying and searching like a madman for a plane ticket and a place to live. I had a couple of leads, but nothing solid.

I bought a ticket.

I kept searching for my next home, but had a near impossible time finding something within my budget. I found a few listings and set up appointments to see them on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I kept praying. I kept searching listings and Craigslist. I sent out a plea to friends of friends of friends for a couch that I could sleep on for a few days while I caught my bearings. Nada.

I felt like Indiana Jones crossing the invisible bridge as my family drove me to the airport on Sunday morning. I boarded the plane, headed for Chicago, and even though I had no place to sleep, I had to keep moving.

I had a layover in San Diego and pulled out my phone. I had a message from Jen, a friend of Ei, who gave me a number of a friend who might have a place that I could couchsurf for a night or two.

Imagine being on the receiving end of my phone call. Some guy you have never met calls from an airport on his way to Chicago and asks if he can sleep on your couch. Would you say yes? I probably wouldn’t.

Todd did.

I was extremely grateful and humbled how things worked out. Todd is awesome, and has since rented me his extra bedroom for the summer.

I am glad that I kept walking, even if I couldn’t see where my feet fell.

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