My Life of What Ifs

Friday, April 3, 2009

Turnin' Down the Mouse

My second-to-last semester at college I was offered the dream opportunity. I applied, interviewed, and was chosen to work a semester at Walt Disney World as part of their college program.

I was beyond happy. I had many friends who had worked a semester for The Mouse. I was also happy because my acceptance letter stated I would be an Attractions Hostess and not the dreaded Quick Service or Custodial Hostess (no offense). A good friend of mine worked on the Jungle Cruise so I would picture myself driving a boat and telling awful jokes all day. "Quick! Get down! We're being attacked by natives!"

The sad part was at the time, which was 1996, they were going to pay me less an hour than I was making working retail. On top of that you were required to live in their housing for $77 with 3 roommates 0r $65 with 5 roommates. The reality is, you are there for the experience, not to eat.

For me, it didn't matter. I was done with my required classes and I needed three credits to graduate. What better place to earn them than in Florida? On top of that, my boyfriend of four years and I had grown apart. Like, we barely spoke, OK? (No worries I later married him.) I needed to get away, clear my head, and prepare for real life. So I confirmed with Disney and was told to report August 27th for the Fall semester.

But then other things happened, things I hadn't planned on occurring. As the semester came to an end, a beloved Professor insisted I apply for a summer internship as a Producer at an advertising agency in Detroit. Two of her previous students had the internship and it was a great opportunity. I begrudgingly prepared my reel and resume. If anything I would do that for the summer and head to Disney in August.

The day of my interview my boyfriend got a flat tire driving me to downtown Detroit, and spent the entire time I was inside changing a flat in a parking garage. The meeting with the Director of Broadcast was basically a formality. We watched my reel and he told me what I would be doing as the intern. I walked out thinking "do I already have this job?" Well, I did.

I started June 3rd, 1996 and for 10 weeks I felt like I had hit the mother load. Sure I was driving pretty far everyday but I received a partial mileage reimbursement, free lunch at the studios I was working at every day, and I was editing commercials, real commercials that aired on TV. The Summer flew by and the boyfriend and I became close again and about two weeks before I was to leave for Disney we got engaged. This was also about the time that a full time position became available at the advertising agency. Full time. Salary. Benefits. Paid time off. What to do?

Well, it really wasn't that difficult of a decision. I had to stay in Michigan. As cool as it would have been to say I had worked at Disney World it just wasn't something I needed to do. I needed a job, with a salary, and benefits, and paid time off. So I wrote to The Mouse and I wrote to the Dean at my college and told then I was respectfully declining. They understood.

I have never regretted that decision. That first full time job turned into twelve years in advertising for me and I made some nice money along the way. I made great friends and worked on some amazing projects. That job is why I am sitting here writing on my blog, and that job is a big reason of why my world looks like it does today. And it's a small world after all.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I had no idea! I don't know if I could have passed that one and Eeyore..that would have been pretty tough!! ;)