In the summer of 2007, I had a summer internship at Fleishman Hillard, which is one of the largest public relations firms in the world, in their downtown San Francisco office. I was working for its technology practice with a very large and busy team. It was located at 555 Market Street, which I’m assuming it still occupies, one of two twin towers that shares a grand entrance complete with a ramp that runs over a waterfall and pond fixture.
Today, I went to its twin building for a customer visit, and it felt a bit funny for me to be entering these buildings again, 12 years later, as a working professional, visiting from New York to meet with one of my customers. I no longer work in public relations (and thank God for that), but I still am in the technology sector. I walked in, feeling grateful that I left PR to pursue technology for many, many reasons. Life would have been very different if I had continued in that career path, and it would have felt pretty lifeless and boring. That entire summer was painful at work, and I waited every day until 4:30 or 5 when it was okay for me to leave. That office was a sea of politics and favoritism, and knowing how low the pay was and how unattractive the benefits were made it even easier to turn my back on it.
A lot is wrong in the technology industry, particularly when it comes to women and people of color. But where I am today is far, far better than the choices I left behind from my college internships.