Monday: A Memory. Just Like I Promised.

In my early 20s, I worked as an advertising coordinator for a Chicago-area bank. I took the job right after I moved from L.A. where I was an editorial assistant for a video game magazine. Like I do, I pretended I knew way more than I did during my bank interview, and so became responsible for not only writing all the branch’s communiques, but also laying out and PRODUCING all its brochures — because I had “once” formatted a magazine page on that “newfangled Mac computer” at my old job. As an aside, bringing all the brochure production in house would save the bank over $100,000 — and I made the ripe old salary of $21,500.


At any rate, I often stayed late at the bank trying to figure out what the hell I was doing. I mean, QuarkXPress? Color standardization? Font suitcases? I knew none of this and so began the long process of trying to figure it out before anyone realized I was an imposter. After months of early mornings and late evenings, I managed to turn in a batch of 30 tri-fold brochures for printing. I was a hero! The bank cut its costs by 80K and earned a grunt who would work for peanuts in the process! Soon enough, I acquired the reputation of knowing “cutting-edge technologies” and “being interested in computers” and so the porn-addicted computer geek in the next office over decided I would love to have the “Internet” installed on my PC.


I had no ever-lovin’ idea what the “Internet” was, or why I should have it, but I was game to fake it. “Sure!” I said enthusiastically (but also dumbly). “Get me on the Internet!” And so a scant half-hour later, I had Prodigy and a modem and everything changed. I spent hours, HOURS, flocking around on Prodigy. There wasn’t much to see on the web yet, but there were chat rooms and a few portals and I was all over it. How I managed to stay employed during this time is anyone’s guess. Me and the computer geek called it “research.” Deb surfing the ‘net again? It’s research. The telltale whir of the modem emerging from my cube? Research.


It went this way for awhile. I was connected, man. I read about what was happening in the world before it was printed in the paper. Then, one day, I logged on and read that Kurt Cobain had killed himself. I truly can’t tell you what it was about that particular headline, but right then and right there I understood that the Internet was going to change the world.


A little bit later, I quit my job and moved to a PR agency in downtown Chicago. Once again, I talked out my butt, referring to my “Internet expertise,” and “web experience,” and so before I knew it, I was the resident “Internet installer.” I was informally called upon to “discuss how the web would benefit the agency” and the “role of technology in advertising” and oh my Lord, was I a phony baloney. Truth told, I gained a lot of great experience during this time and realized that maybe I wasn’t “faking it” so much as I was willing to try something new. Maybe that’s spin, I don’t know. In the end, I did get one thing right though: The Internet sure damn did change the world.


P.S. I feel weird bringing this up. But I was nominated for something. If you haven’t voted yet and want to, you can head over to the voting poll and click the arrow next to my blog name.


Thank you my angels.


9 Responses to “Monday: A Memory. Just Like I Promised.”

  1. Marsha says:

    I have to tell you that I really enjoy your posts because you are so “real”. You inject humor and you make your reader feel like they could be your friend and you are confiding in them. It is a real treat for me to follow your blog.


  2. When exactly was the internet invented again? That is a foggy memory for me. I remember getting my first Mac computer and playing the hell out of Tetris on it but I don’t really remember when I first started messing with the internet. Must have been around the time my daughter was born. I don’t remember much from then on…

    I think it is very cool that you jumped in at the very beginning! One of the many things that is cool about our gender–we do, because we can!

  3. San Diego Momma says:

    Thanks Marsha! We can def. be friends!

    Jenn: This was 1994…don’t know that the Internet was “invented” then, so to speak…but I think it was right on the cusp on being used for personal and business use!

  4. I made the exact same amount in my early 20’s! And I lived in a big expensive city. I don’t know how I got by. Oh yeah, happy hours and ladies’ nights. And dinner dates. I also remember when Kurt Cobain died. I didn’t yet have the Internet, but I worked in an investment firm and it came over the ticker on Bloomberg. So sad. Good for you for faking it – that’s all anyone does! Fake it til you make it. You obviously had the skills to learn and pull it off. So koodos for kicking ass.

  5. Stefanie says:

    You are a freaking prophet.

  6. Mama Mary says:

    Great story Deb! I can totally see you faking it. Wait, that didn’t come out right, but you know what I mean. xo

  7. Sweetie, anyone working at the forefront of technology in those days was winging it! I applaud you for having the moxie to go for it and learn along the way!

  8. Stephanie says:

    QuarkXPress! My knowledge of Quark got me two job offers, one of which I took. The second… well… Click the link I put with my name ;)

  9. mommypie says:

    Aaaannnd, yet ANOTHER parallel. I was faking my way through QuarkXPress in the publishing world at the same time. AND surfing chat rooms on the “World Wide Web.” And my bosses thought I was SUCH a techie. (If they only knew I’d never even used a FAX machine until I worked there …)

Leave a Reply