Atlanta seemed like a good place to find a job.
So when I graduated with my Graphic Design degree, I followed my instincts. I moved in with and mooched off my ex-roommate Jeff and his wife Sheryl, hit the streets of Atlanta with my portfolio and waited to be discovered by all the top agencies in town. Why wouldn't they want me? I looked the part ... my hair was much longer and I had a moustache. My portfolio contained examples of nude studies, watercolors, silk screened logos and cartoons.
My only real concern was whether I would accept a $100,000 a year as a starting salary. I knew I would have to negotiate.
Surprisingly, I wasn't courted by the top agencies. Can you believe it? In fact, I didn't even get in the door to most of them. When I did get appointments, they were with administrative assistants, file clerks and once I think I met with someone in maintenance.
I lowered my expectations after a month.
Jeff and Sheryl were about ready for me to move on. I was picking up signals after they left a note on the sofa bed saying "We think it's time for you to move on".
I had one interview left that was arranged by a friend of mine from school. It was on Peachtree Street (that narrows it down for you, of course. Those familiar with Atlanta know that EVERY street is Peachtree). I was nervous but I remained calm and convinced them that I could handle any job big or small. There was a lot of discussion ... it was a big commitment and it required some negotiation. But I got it ... my first real job ... and I did it on my own.
It took me the rest of the summer to finish painting that wall in the Drug Overdose Suicide Prevention Center.