Road Movie: Chapter 17

“Hi, Dakota! How was your parents’ place?” Maria greeted her co-worker on their elevator ride to the office. “It was great! How was your weekend? Did Brad take you anywhere cool?” Brad was Maria’s fiancé. “He didn’t. But it’s fine! We just relaxed and had an uneventful weekend. Not that I’m complaining, though! Dealing with all of those divas in the fashion industry, it’s draining,” She laughed it off. “Hey, Maria, what made you want to go into marketing for the fashion industry in the first place?” The brunette looked at her. She wanted to get insight on why Maria chose this industry, especially when it was so emotionally taxing. On top of that, Maria had been doing this a lot longer than she had; when Dakota was still an intern, Maria was already a sales manager. “Well being raised in Manhattan, fashion was always something I loved. But I never really had the patience to learn about stitching and the thought of making my own clothes just sounded very tedious. So I went to college for business, specifically marketing, at Boston University, and then I wound up here.” She finished.

“That’s right. You went to BU.” Dakota nodded. She was thinking about how Maria started in New York, went to Boston, and ended up in Chicago. The life she lived was very different than her own. “But do you want to do this for the rest of your life?” “That’s a tough question. Honestly, I know I am a successful marketing executive, but down the line, I would love to finally go from being engaged to being married, settle down somewhere quiet, and raise a family. I know that sounds really lame, but that’s what I really want.” One would think that Maria was a stereotypical girly-girl between what she wanted to do with her life and her love of fashion, but being raised in a traditional Filipino family, she was taught how to slaughter her own animals and be unafraid of essentially anything.

“But why are you asking so many random questions, Dakota? You’re still young in your career. Things like what you want to do with your life, you don’t have to think about that until you’re in your 30s.” Maria laughed. “Plus, you have nothing to worry about. The reason why we re-hired you as an executive was because you were that great as an intern.” She admitted. “Really?” “Yeah! We normally don’t re-hire interns, but you were an exception. We did not expect you to grow so much with us, but when we compare how you started to how you finished, it was like night and day. By the time you left, you handled every task we gave you effortlessly, you never complained, never gave attitude. When there were mistakes, you would take responsibility, and you would try your best to fix them. You showed a lot of potential to be an amazing sales manager, and you delivered on that.” Maria admitted.

Dakota still remembered when she started in Hillary Jenkins. She was a nervous mess. She was shy, awkward, clumsy, and overall, was relieved her performance drastically improved since then. One of the first tasks she had to do was make copies in the copy machine. And she could not even do that. And when she was getting coffees for the managers, she messed up the orders, and gave a whole fat latte with extra cream, Maria’s order, to Frida, who was lactose intolerant. And then there were the more serious issues. Dakota was supposed to deliver the marketing plan to Justin’s client, the manager for the Chicago Cubs. By mistake, she took the manual on how to fix the office computers halfway across the city and delivered that to him instead. After her first week, she wanted to quit because of how badly she felt she did. But it only got better. She knew that she needed to improve. So she buckled down, focused, and pushed forward with every task.

By the end of her internship, Dakota worked closely with Maria and Hannah, Dakota’s own predecessor, for marketing strategies in the fashion and retail as well as medical industries. She was helping them come up with different ideas for their clients, and thanks to insider knowledge via Phillip, was able to outperform Hannah in coming up with more effective marketing strategies for the hospitals and doctors she was working with. It felt amazing, and she still remembers her first day post-internship: she already missed her coworkers. She had Hillary Jenkins withdrawals. She wanted to go back as soon as she graduated. But her first job was for a different firm. She did well, got employee of the month three times in a single year, and then got a job offer by Hillary Jenkins when Hannah resigned; the moment Hannah left, everyone immediately thought about Dakota to replace her.

Looking through her emails, Dakota frowned to herself. She had to help the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital raise sanitation awareness in light of it being spring and the breakout of hay-fever. The brunette was not terribly excited to be working with hospitals still. The more she thought about it, the less she wanted to stay in the firm. She had just gotten back from talking to Frida about the possibility of changing her clients. Unfortunately, the director had no good news to offer. “Unfortunately, you can only switch your clients if you can find another industry to market to, as well as help us hire an immediate replacement for you to cover the medical sector.” Frida explained. “We hired you specifically to help doctors, and I’m not trying to be unhelpful to your situation, but what other sector would you be able to market to? Your experiences have only been marketing to medicine or fashion.” Frida had a point. Dakota could not think of another industry that she had knowledge of. She started to feel trapped again. The brunette hated to admit it, but quitting her job was sounding more appealing by the second.

“Thank you for the pitch!” A small lady, Jody, the marketing director of Lutheran General, smiled. Dakota had just finished delivering her branding pitch. “No problem! I’m glad you liked it.” The brunette smiled in relief. With that, she finished working with her new client. It felt great to be done, but she also still could not get the thought of Phillip out of her head. She put work too closely with her old relationship, and it was already a prominent concern for her. Walking home, Dakota could not stop thinking about quitting her job and finally moving. The moment she got home, she started writing her two weeks notice. She could not stay here. She had to leave. She knew it in her heart. Pulling out her phone, she noticed that she was supposed to meet Pamela. Dialing her number, Dakota was going to cancel all future sessions. It would not matter if she was deemed emotionally or mentally fit, if she was planning on leaving anyways.

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