Today is my 10-year anniversary with Adobe.

10 years.

10 years ago, a young woman rode down 880 to start her first day at a company that was just paying the bills while she focused on her singing career. During the interview, she’d told her interviewers that she had no interest in being promoted.

A little slow on the uptake that a singing career, a quite successful one, would look wildly different than what she thought; still hiding that weird art festival in Nevada from any traditional opera auditions.
The first person I met, my first day, was Steve. Since then he’s been a fierce friend, advisor, and advocate. I reported to Grace who, after 90 days for my first review gave me some stock and said “If I had to choose how I’d feel about an employee, it would be how I feel about you.”

There have been fits, starts, recessions, layoffs, burnout, career changes, ideological changes, and all the other highs and lows of a ten-year relationship. I have railed (almost) completely against myself, my conceptions, my youth, my preconceived notions of the corporate world. I have learned that the coin of the realm in any realm of which I want to be a part is hard work and honesty. That instincts are almost always correct. That the friendships you make among colleagues are not just “work friendships”, not after this amount of time nor after going through this much (looking at you, Sharma…and so many more).

Ten years is too long to be faking it. Yes, while I wasn’t looking, this side-job turned into a full-blown career and, once I learned (again, I’m slow on the uptake) that the reigns were fully in my hands, I turned it (with the help of my advisors, the aforementioned Steve, Andrew, Kathleen and Matt) into something that challenges and inspires me, and surrounds me daily with people who make me feel as though I have truly found my tribe. Thank you to David and the incredible CTL team for welcoming me into this brilliant fold; I remain honored every day to be among you. I have never worked so hard nor cared so much.

It has taken me a long time, too long, to learn that the same things would mean success as manager of Thunderdome, as a performer, as a manager at one of Fortune’s top 100 companies to work for. That I’m not an upstart that no one believes in, that no one has thought of me as a punk kid in a long time. That living as I have for as long as I have, choosing gracious honesty and hard-working laughter while retaining my off-beat charm (that’s what I’ve decided to call it today), would move me from green kid with a lot to learn, to leader (with even more to learn) who is now being asked to mentor as well. That trying to compromise and tone down yourself just makes it that much harder for the right people to find you; as with any relationship, the right people want to find you, and value you when they do.

This feels somehow like the midpoint. It’s said that, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Well, I’m in the right room for sure, in all of my realms. I have no idea how much there is left to learn, nor the limits of my capabilities. I only know that, finally, in all realms, I am with people who are pushing me to be my best self. And I am excited to find out who that person is.

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