Hungry Grl, Newish Big City

Hi Pittsburgh, did you miss me?

If you’re confused, here’s my synopsis of the past year and a half:

In 2017 I left my alma mater with my eyes and heart set on New York City and a job. It was only once a question of if I should stay and look for post-grad experience in the ‘burgh, which I quickly squashed. I always had the mindset that New York was where I needed to chase my dreams, and that wasn’t possible in this small city I called my home for four years.

What people don’t tell you about life after graduation is just how big of an abyss it all is. Nothing is guaranteed, things can go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye, and you can never truly predict where everything you do will take you. That job I left after graduation for was one I will never forget. It gave me so many experiences and connections that I will forever remember. It pushed me to my limits and showed me what I want in a newsroom job. Those six months made me feel like I was on top of the world and I was living that dream of making your passion your full-time job. However, not all good things last, and leaving that job broke my heart. Without sounding dramatic (aka I’m being dramatic) it was like a boyfriend breaking up with you. I felt lost and unsure about my future and unsure if I was ever going to find a job I loved as much.

So, I did what I do best and dove head first into LinkedIn and reaching out to my network to see if anyone had any leads. By the start of 2018, I was signed onto two different freelancing jobs centered around social media and writing, one for a large publication and one for a local marketing firm. I genuinely did not think 2018 would be my year in any sense of the word, but I was determined to do the best work I possibly could.

I’m here to tell you that I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I worked 50 hour weeks split between two companies, two locations, and two different demands. By April, I felt myself burning out and getting tired of the unbalance. I was working 7 days a week and the lines between my life and work were blurred. It wasn’t until I got an email to interview for another job that I realized just how much I didn’t like what I was doing. I had the mindset that maybe the large publication I was working for would hire me and I could finally have a full-time job since graduating and I could end my time at the local job I was also balancing. However, it took interviewing at a different company to make me realize that I was looking at this job for its money and status and not for the work I was doing. Bottom line, it was not what I wanted to have as a career and priority.

By the end of May, I felt myself coming back to that grl I was the year before. I ended up not getting the job I had interviewed for (which I was okay with) and had told the publication I was working for I did not want to stay on full time; I would be ending when my six-month contract ended in July. It was also in this time that I took a friend up on her offer to travel to Europe in August. My mindset had changed and I felt more like myself than I had the whole year.

When the time came to leave my social media job at the publication, part of me was sad. I had become close with some of the people I worked with, and I was genuinely good at what I was doing. However, I realized I needed that experience in my life and just because you’re good at doing something, doesn’t mean you should be doing it forever. It taught me the type of atmosphere and work I want from a job, and it also brought me the ability to build my savings while traveling the world.

Spending two weeks in Europe brought me back to life. I came home a version of the me I once knew, but better. She had her wits back, her sanity, and her eyes focused on her own brand, which had been a last priority as well as her other job at the marketing firm that she had all this time. If you ever have the opportunity to have hands-on experience at a local company run by two amazing women named Lynne and Jessica, I highly suggest you do.

By September (aka last month) I was back on top of the world. I loved my part-time job at the marketing firm and being able to make my own schedule while also spending so much more time investing in my own brand. I didn’t realize just how neglected and buried Hungry Grl was to me for 6 months. I was feeling comfortable with my routine and not having to commute more than 10 minutes for work.

However, by the middle of the month my mindset changed. Like I said, that 0 to 100 thing is real. I came back to Pittsburgh for a weekend and I left with a sore heart. I found myself the next night looking up jobs in Pittsburgh on LinkedIn and it was then that I knew. I remembered that Pittsburgh was never supposed to be an answer. It was never the city I had my eyes set on for college. It was never somewhere I wanted to come to. But then I came here in February 2013 and I fell in love. I admired the people and their attitudes, I was intrigued by the bridges and architecture, I admired the dedication and fandom of the sports teams, and I was hungry for more of the city’s cuisine. In the four years I spent here for school, I became the version of myself I had no idea could exist. I found my voice and confidence, I discovered my passion for writing and created this very brand and platform. And when I left, I realized I left part of my heart here. I left a piece on the top of the Cathedral of Learning, on top of Mount Washington, in my favorite neighborhood, in the first restaurant I ever ate at in this city.

So, I explored options on how to come back. And like most answers in my life, it came from someone I met on the internet. It came from someone that didn’t cross my path right away, but understood my creative mindset and talents through my Instagram page. With her kindness, connections, work ethic, talents, and home, I am back and living in Pittsburgh. I am excited and scared out of my mind to be out here on my own working on my business, but this would not be a life worth living if we didn’t make ourselves uncomfortable.

If you get anything from this story, it’s never settle for something, somewhere, or someone you think is “right.” Because I’m here to tell you, there’s literally no right answer in life. I said I wanted to move back to Pittsburgh, and then I spoke it into reality by pursuing what I’m passionate about and am doing it on my own (but with the support and words of encouragement from so many amazing people in my life). The moment to pick up and move may come tomorrow, the person you’re going to marry might bump into you while getting coffee next week, your dream job may only be just one application away. No matter what it is, please promise me you’ll say you did it and might fail as opposed to not taking the risk because you’re scared.

And while we’re here, if you’re looking for a writer, social media consultant, or influencer to work with, I am your GRL. Let’s do this, Pittsburgh.

Stay hungry,

Hungry Grl