An Ode to Olive and Letting Go


Two years ago, I was months away from graduating college with degrees in strategic communication and German. I wanted to work at an ad agency. I created a website for myself so that I could begin applying for jobs and send potential employers to a somewhat buttoned-up blog. I loved writing, as I still do, and I said to my then-boyfriend, “I wish I could just get paid to write blogs. That’s all I want to do.”

About a week later, my now-close friend, Eliza, sent me an email asking if I’d like to write blogs on a freelance basis for Olive & Company, a Minneapolis-based brand and marketing agency. I had no idea how to even begin setting up a freelance contract, but I was ready.

Someone’s going to pay me to blog?! This is exactly what I wanted!

I gained so much experience from Olive & Company. It was one of the very first agencies I worked at, and I not only got to write for the Olive & Co. blog, I eventually got to write for Olive’s clientele when I joined the team as a copywriter and content strategist. I couldn’t believe my luck.

That’s what it felt like—sheer luck.

Of course, there were times Olive sucked. There were coworkers and clients and processes I disliked. There were conversations and projects and expectations that made my blood boil. There were days it took everything in me to show up on time.

But there was also a whole lot of love. When I was still pretty new to the team, one of my supervisors gave me a book about writing—one that I still reference today. My bosses encouraged me to take classes online, read books, blogs, and articles, listen to podcasts, and attend events to further my learning and advance my career. They brought me along to client meetings and gave me tremendous autonomy when it came to my job description and my schedule. I worked less than two feet from my best friend for over a year. Seriously, I can’t complain about much.

That’s why it feels so strange to leave. I think about the people in my life who have been let go from their jobs and left devastated, and I think, Why am I willingly choosing this? Between yoga teacher training and moving and now switching jobs, I can’t help but question, Why am I forcing so much transition upon myself? But, just like with any relationship that’s run its course, it’s time to rip off the band-aid and move on.

Before I’d even received my diploma, I was an Olive. And for the past two years, as I’ve moved around to new places, met new people, and gotten involved with different organizations, Olive has always been a constant in my life. It’s part of my identity, and it’s difficult to let it go.

But I know that growth is in the transitions. Growth comes from taking leaps.

I’m scared to start my new job. It’s outside of my comfort zone. It’s unfamiliar. There’s no guarantee I’ll be good at it. But I’ll never know until I try. So here I go. My drawers are empty, my picture frames are packed, my projects are finished and goodbye letters are waiting for my coworkers atop their desks. My last day at Olive & Company is here, and even though I don’t feel ready right now, I know I’ll feel better in time.

Yesterday, a line in the book I’m reading stood out to me. Over the next week (which I took off, by the way), it will become my mantra:

I can do this even if I don’t know how right it is at this moment. Game on.

CareerErika VoellerComment