It was a Monday morning, June 3rd to be exact, when we announced my departure from The Walt Disney Company. The norm was for Senior Leadership to announce the week’s news and recap everyone on the state of all things Babble.com. To hear the words that it was my “last day” and to see its reverberation on shocked faces was perhaps the first time in previous weeks when it finally sunk in – there weren’t any more plays to be had or points to be scored. We pushed for the paperwork to apply for an H-1B status; we fought hard for options when we found out I lost in the lottery round; and we exhausted alternatives to let me stay.
I use “we,” because it was never just me, myself, and I. There were people in my corner who were cheering me on and supporting the good fight. To pinpoint one of the many lessons learned in my one year at Disney Interactive, it would be the importance of having an advocate. To feel that you aren’t alone when all you feel is uncertainty is sometimes all one needs to keep on going. Transparency may not always be permissible, but to feel a proverbial hand on your shoulder, silently articulating “I’m here,” breaks through the many layers of opaqueness.
Then comes Tuesday morning, where you sit alone, and ask what it is you want in the broadest sense. The answer, for me, was simplistic – I didn’t want to leave New York because a visa lottery. And when that decision is made, something happens in that moment – you go into autopilot, functioning to survive in the present (which included filing all the claims for refunds on my Flexible Spending Account) and for the future. Apart from interviews for graphic design jobs (under which I would assume a TN status), I was pulling together a Hail Mary, scrolling through the Draper website and scrawling down the names “Mario Caro” and “Emma Heaney” as persons of interest in the application field asking who I’d like to work with, and frenetically piecing together a statement of purpose for an MA application.
Offers came from both sides. At which point, the question arises as to whether whether you are playing a short game or are in it for the long haul. I chose the latter; a career in graphic design wasn’t what I wanted or loved, nor would it be something that I would excel at. For me, design was always an asset. And so, I stay to play conservatively instead of pushing the chips all in.
So, here’s to you June 4th – the day after it all. I left my job not because of frustration, but rather, because of circumstance. The choices I made after, though, to stay connected are my own and they are ones that I stand behind.