My first job out of college was HORRIBLE. I was still in New York, living in my mom's apartment, and I found a job with a small literary PR firm in Brooklyn. It sounded great. The owner of the firm was a Vassar grad like myself, and I loved being able to reverse commute. While everyone else was headed into Manhattan stuffed into subway cars like sardines, I sat comfortably in an open seat, reading books until the subway stopped in Park Slope and I walked two blocks to work.
The firm wasn't in an office building. It was in the basement of the owner's house. She was a mean-spirited, chain-smoking agoraphobic, and if she didn't want to leave her house, NO ONE would leave her house. We were stuck in that basement all day long, and only permitted to leave for lunch hour if we asked her ahead of time (and she sometimes said "No!"). For lunch, she had her housekeeper come downstairs and cook for us, and we had no say over what she prepared, or how she prepared it. For example, Barbara (the boss) would only eat her meat very rare, so when we had burgers, we all had to eat them rare, with raw onions.
I only worked for Barbara for a couple of months, and even though they were awful, I did get a few things out of my time there:
- Rare burgers with raw onion are actually very delicious.
- My first client was the author who wrote "The Woman's Guide to Online Services." This was my first introduction to social networking, and the clear descriptions in that book opened up a whole new world to me. I credit that book with the career path on which I landed.
- I discovered Saveur Magazine. Saveur's first issue came out while I was working for Barbara, and like any good PR person, she subscribed right away. I was hooked the moment I saw the cover. Gorgeous full-color photography, amazing recipes, first-hand accounts of how food can change a persons life. This magazine remains my favorite. If you haven't read it before, you must pick up a copy, and do it right away, because the current issue (pictured above) is phenomenal. It is all about breakfast. As I've said before, I'm not much of a breakfast person, but this issue made me realize why. I think I just live in the wrong country! If I lived in Singapore, China or Turkey, I would eat breakfast all day, every day.