I was down to the last several dollars in my bank account. I got myself on Monster.com and started looking for something I would be able to do. I interviewed for quite a few positions but didn't land anything until late in the summer. I started as a part-time employee at a place called PGI. I was their new mail-room and storage guy. For a couple of hours each day I packed up marketing and training materials that got sent out to a lot of places all over the country. As time went on, I started taking on more responsibilities and ended up going to trade shows and traveling. I went from not even knowing what color platinum was to a person riding airplanes across the country (and to another continent on occasion) representing the company. Somehow I found myself being referred to as an "expert" in Internet marketing and social media and I became a decently respectable dude.
I've also spent some time in the jewelry industry as a self employed consultant. For the past year or so I was assisting several companies/individuals with their businesses in areas revolving around online communication, social media and anything else digital that my self-taught level of expertise could help out with. All told, I was in and around the jewelry world for exactly six years.
Compared to many of the people I have met in this industry, my time was short. However, it was during those six short years that I met the woman I would marry, moved out on my own, bought a car, traveled for business, made my own salary and managed my own life. Six years might be short but what happened in that time was nothing short of life changing. The 20's are a time of immense change for most people and mine was almost entirely spent in the jewelry world.
Times do change though. As of the middle of this month, my career started a new chapter and its taken me away from jewelry. I'm currently learning a brand new set of vocabulary, meeting new people and starting from scratch in a completely foreign industry to what I used to know. Its definitely exciting, but there's no way I'll forget all of the fun I had in my first home, jewelry.
If you're reading this and you know me because of our mutual association with jewelry, please know that you have meant so much to me. Whether I saw you on a daily basis because we worked together or if I only got to talk to you at trade shows and other events, you have all helped to build me into the person I am today. Its the cumulative experience I have had with all of you that helped change me from an unsure and inexperienced kid in mourning, into the guy I'm actually proud enough of to call a professional.
When considering this career change I thought about all of the familiar names and faces that I wouldn't be seeing in a business setting any more. There are a lot of you. I may not be the most connected person in jewelry but in my short amount of time among all of you, I have had the great privilege and honor of meeting some spectacular people.
There are too many people to list in this blog post and as this is a public place, I don't want to single anyone out on the Internet who didn't know their name would show up here. So instead of naming names, here is an incredibly short list of words and phrases. No one but I would understand the entire list, but there might be a few of you who get parts of it. If you recognize any of this, I'm probably talking about you.
- Foreman grilled chicken with rice
- Top Gear
- Hatton Garden ghost stories
- A French James Bond
- Wedding night dinner at Tao
- Late night pizza in Manhattan
- Models, carrying water jugs, sliders and Gavin Rossdale
- Dynamic Testing
- Mr. Rogers
- My first pistachio nut
- Talkin' WoW in the mail room
- Diesel rig
- Dinner in Battersea
- A first trip to Disneyland (not for me)
- A now healing busted knee
- Blood draw for your physical
- Illegal naps
- Stonefire dinners
- Bleached skunk-stripe
- Harps and scotch
- Phoenix club
- "Is he your type? well how about him?"
- Clams under a desk
- "How do you know about Donut Man?"
- Carpenters (or singing in Japanese)
- A cold but awesome January bus-tour in London
- Rooftop dinner in Philly
- Friends from India (all of you!)
- A rumor that I had a secret pair of jewelry industry parents
Honestly, there are far too many memories of funny and touching things for me to list. How much of the above was actually related to the business we conducted is another matter. Still, you're all part of the memories I have of how my career started.
When people ask me where I came from I find myself being very proud of the fact that I can say I come from the jewelry industry. People look at me with wonder and I realize because in some ways it sounds exotic and exciting. All of us know that its not always rosy and that the last several years have been particularly hard for almost everyone. Still, we're still here, still plugging away, and relationships have never seemed stronger. I think the part about the industry I'm most proud of, is the fact that I can claim you as my peers. The jewelry industry is full of characters. Artists, designers, master craftsmen, expert sales people, numbers whizzes, introverts, extroverts, funny people, serious people, nerds, cool guys and stars. Its a big group of different people, and I'm happy to have built relationships with all of you.