About a week ago, I quit my job to be a freelance writer. Granted, I had some excellent gigs lined up—including a coveted editorship at Fashionista—but nonetheless, I left a reputable position at a Conde Nast magazine. (This one. Duh.)
The job paid me well, felt like a step up in some ways and afforded me plenty of opportunities to wear my new white Celine heels. (Right now, as I type this in my pajamas, I'm contemplating wearing them to a dive bar tonight.)
Anyway, this job, it was pretty great. I had an awesome, non-bitchy boss and I worked with an amazing team of writers, editors, and producers. Everyone was so nice! And funny! And not assholes! I never really experienced the Conde Nast-y thing. Although I'm sure it exists in that building, it doesn't exist on the 6th floor.
Plus I had admired our editor in chief for years: She was as cool and smart and likable as I had always imagined. Finally, I had female mentors!
The actual job didn't vary much from what I had been doing previously at Fashionista. Except for the meetings. So many meetings. And the fact that I wasn't a writer anymore. (When I did get the chance to write, it wasn't my usual "beat." I was working for a consumer magazine now, which meant most of my readers could give two shits about the Christopher Kane/Balenciaga rumors.)
For a year and a half, I entered 4 Times Square everyday feeling like I was playing a role for which I should have never been cast. A fantastic opportunity? You bet. The right opportunity for me? No.
Here's the life lesson: I know a lot of you are looking for your first big break. Others are assistants trying to climb one more step up that infinite ladder. During this journey (sorry to get all preachy but I'm feeling very ENERGIZED right now), work towards what you love. Try not to be tempted by jobs that won't get you there.
I like to write. I also like to voice my opinion whenever and wherever possible. I never aspired to be an editor, and more importantly, I never wanted to be a manager. I realized that while I loved the people I worked with, I didn't love telling people what to do, or going to meetings, or answering people's questions. I thought that being a know-it-all was an ideal quality for a leader. Instead, it's the ideal quality for a columnist.
I don't regret my time at that fancy magazine—I learned so much about the industry, and I also learned more about what I'm good at, what I'm not good at, and what I would do differently should I ever desire to be a boss again.
My advice to you: We don't work in fashion for the money, or the power, or the fame, right? We work in fashion because we love it. So keep working on projects you love—-or keep working towards getting those gigs—and your path will become totally clear. Just like mine did.