So I’m sitting in a job interview–the gig is a mail room manager for a large tech company–and the gent behind the desk looks up from my application, chuckling. “Art degree, huh? How’s that workin’ out for ya?” He eventually offered me the job anyway, but I was immediately looking for a reason not to take it. I simply wanted something… happier.
As if on cue, I saw an office hiring ad for Buffalo Exchange (in the newspaper!) and applied immediately. I had previously shopped several BX locations and loved the vibe. I got a call back within an hour, an interview that afternoon, and then a second interview the next day and boom–I was hired.
After a year and a half of working in Tempe as the area assistant for Kim Christy (now at the Buffalo Trading Post in Tucson) I was promoted to assist Chief Operating Officer Vella Austin, which I did for two and a half years. That’s when I had the idea. “Wouldn’t it be helpful if we had an internal website that contained resources like handbooks and contact information?” I cooked up a proposal and was pleased when it was given the green light, but taken aback when Spencer Block informed me that I was going to be the one to create it.
So I moved to Tucson and joined the IT Department with no special knowledge of computers. This was just before website templates were popularized, so I went about creating pages for our internal website cobbling together the most basic of code (Which I learned from watching a “Video Professor” DVD advertised on TV!). And thanks to the IT guys, Steve S. and Dave W., I even became passable at actual IT duties. Then I had another idea, “wouldn’t it be helpful if we had a computer drive that everyone could access that could be used for storing and exchanging files?” So with little work (and a lot of network wiring), our Drive came to be.
After two years in Tucson I got to wondering about that old art degree of mine. I had jumped right into the workforce out of college; shouldn’t I have at least tried my hand at being an artist first? Using funds I’d diligently saved up, I quit Buffalo to pursue art. In the year that followed I joyfully covered a lot of canvas with a lot of oil paint. Though I finally came to the realization that the life of a painter wasn’t for me, but I knew that I had to do something creative.
A call from then-area manager (now in Buffalo’s training department manager), Mina, brought me back to Buffalo Exchange Tempe. After two and a half years of serving as her assistant, I had (big surprise) another idea, “wouldn’t it be helpful if we had a person to create all sorts of materials and visuals for the stores? Instead of the external marketing we already do for the public, they could provide internal marketing for employees.” For the last two and half years I have worked as the Internal Marketing Coordinator. I get to do a little of everything: meeting presentations, HR and job postings, company games, training videos, Zine layouts, blog writing–whew! The variety and creativity keep the job fun–and my artistic side happy.