My most memorable travel adventure was really only an hour or so away from my house. The first time I left the elevated train to attend my summer internship at an office was chaotic. A multitude of workers gathered on all sides of me and flooded down the steps in order to exit on the city streets. Growing up a train ride away from downtown, I thought I knew everything I could about the area. I could have never been prepared to walk amongst the men and women holding briefcases and tapping phone devices. I tried my best to move with the same rushed pace as everyone else, and to look directly forward so I didn’t seem as inexperienced when it came to the corporate world. The Chicago Financial District is nothing like the tourist spots that I visited and even worked at in years past. There are no benches to sit and observe art sculptures; the district is serious, bland, and displays a pure occupational environment. When I entered a shiny black building that contained so many floors that elevators were separated into numbered sections, I was struck with complete fascination. I knew that even a summer job could change my life.
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Tasks that seemed to be second nature to my employers were minor challenges to me. Sending faxes, contacting my bank for the routing number, and battling the complex copy machine was always enjoyable because every request felt so new. Even attempting to get work done, and having to pause and ask a question was pleasant because I soaked in every word from my advisors. After my first week, my hands covered with paper cuts from filing, I began to utilize my lunch breaks. I promised myself that I would walk a few blocks in a new direction every week. Pacing amongst lawyers and brokers holding cups of coffee at noon was one of the best feelings I have ever had. Just being next to such successful business people was an honor to me. I would hold my office security card tightly in my hands to remind myself that I was a part of this, even just for the summer. Thinking about the opportunity with the company, titled CBIZ, allowed me to live in the moment, and I could never walk a few blocks without smiling.
When I first applied for the program that would help me obtain an internship, I always referred to the work possibility as temporary. The summer before, I had been a hostess at a patio restaurant. I liked working with people, but I always left exhausted and at late hours. I planned to work again for another summer, but I was very cautious when it came to choosing. I am a perfectionist, and I tended to take even a summer job very seriously. Just by the title, I assumed that the office interview would be stressful, but the second I walked into the dark marble floors, I forgot all of my too-soon objections. I was offered two positions, and even though the other company seemed to be more laid back, I knew I had to accept the offer with CBIZ. The atmosphere that was at one point overwhelming was nothing but comforting at the end of my internship; I adored the hurrying of locals, the smell of black coffee, and the noise of traffic from my office window.
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