When the Phone Rings at 4pm in the Target…

Today I got an email from a former colleague. We worked on different teams at a PR agency long, long (oh jeez, tell me not that long?) ago. He worked on a team I had great respect for and, in turn, they were one of the few teams that actually got what my skill set was. So, needless to say, we worked together fairly frequently. We were both also disgruntled with our situations at the same time (creates some pretty quick workplace bonding). We both eventually moved on to bigger and better. We caught up again last summer when he was in town doing an in-house staffing assignment for one of his current agency’s clients. But after he packed it back up for DC, we honestly haven’t been in touch. Oh sure, we’re LinkedIn, but our conversations have been nonexistent for awhile, unfortunately a trend when it comes to some of my former work pals.

Anyway, so I get an email. An email asking me a real question. An email saying he’d value my opinion on something. An email that said call me when you have time. He indicated he’d be available between 3:30 and 4:15. I pondered how soon after 3:30 looks desperate and how late do I push it risking some sort of toddler distraction that renders me unavailable to call until the next day. It didn’t matter because I had to leave a voice mail. So, I packed up the peanut and headed out to Target for diapers, wipes, toilet paper.

Then, while unpacking peanut from the car seat in the Target parking lot, I got the return call. We chit chatted. He ran down the scenario and the possible idea. Asked for recommendations. It wasn’t totally in an arena I felt most comfortable discussing (ugh, radio), but I had some suggestions and ideas I felt were pretty solid. I found myself almost vested enough to ask more pressing questions about the client, the budget, the time line. But, instead, we talked around a few easy topics (still love being mommy, can’t believe it’s been a year since we caught up, can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I’ve been in the business, he’s still thinking the DC work-horse race is going to lead to burnout and a potential outside the beltway sabbatical…) and we hung up.

I filled my cart with diapers, wipes, swim diapers, sun screen, anti-bacterial wipes, shampoo, hand soap refill, TP and some stickers for the peanut (for being an ANGEL while I was on the phone with him on my hip at the entrance to Target for 15 minutes). Then we headed home to draw on our front walk with chalk, run through the neighbor’s sprinkler with some neighborhood kids and blow bubbles.

For a moment of my SAHM day, it felt good to be needed in a professional sense. To know that even though I’m not in front of these people in a suit every day, I’m still, occasionally, front of mind.

On the ride home, though, I couldn’t tell if I was more pumped by the conversation or the fact that 7 of the 9 items I bought at Target were on sale and I spent at least $20 under the average $100 trip.

Either way, a decent day.


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