With every job comes the honeymoon phase.

It lasts a week, or maybe until the first paycheck hits the bank account.

When the newness wears off, the real work begins.

This is when your mettle gets tested. This is when you’ve got the chance to prove yourself.

It’s exciting.

And, scary.

It’s a tenuous, fluid line, shifting on any given day.

I know it’s intimidating to be fished from a small pond and face a vast ocean of possibilities. I know what it’s like to walk the shoreline and agonize over the waves nipping at your toes. How long before the tide comes in? Will I be ready when it does?

Have a little faith in yourself. Trust your team. Take the step.

Better yet, climb up on the cliff for a new perspective. The sky’s up there. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the limit.

Welcome to February at Panoptic, where I waded into an ocean of possibilities and resurfaced with an itch to fly.

Mostly, it’s been business as usual. I liken work to building boats. We’re figuring out what materials to use (and what not to use), and what the best tactics are so we can sail. We analyze the outcomes of sponsored ads. We’ve sourced fresh products. Amidst my daily tasks, I’ve begun a spreadsheet tracking data that’ll be used to design SFYD newsletters, and have begun sourcing content for Panoptic.

The sailing’s been great. But what about flying?

Before I get into that, I’d like to mention the others behind Panoptic.

Dossy is the man behind the curtain. As Panoptic’s owner, he provides expert IT tech services with a level of speed and proficiency that’s saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for several e-Commerce businesses. Based on each client’s needs, he shifts between consulting, managing engineers, coding, and rescuing e-Comm sites from the horror known as downtime.

The idea grew to launch his own e-Commerce shop. While he’s no stranger to challenges and problem solving, there are only so many hours in a day. When Stuff For Your Dog (SFYD) came to life, Kelly became his first employee.

Kelly juggles a variety of plates. She moves seamlessly between product and pricing research, purchasing, specialty reports and graphs, managing SFYD’s storefront, video/photo editing, and creating and scheduling social media content. Like me, she works for Panoptic from home.

Outside our Discord-based office she’s an experienced dog sitter and regularly works alongside her local veterinarian office. In matters of canine health, happiness, and even their sorrows, she brings a plethora of knowledge to the table of our remote-oriented company.

To take some of the load off their shoulders regarding social content and product copy, the decision was made to hire a copywriter, which I wrote about last month. I talked about being challenged to improve my skills, and how other projects took the front burners shortly after.

I’ve spent the month working in tandem with Kelly. Together, we create and post social content. She researches products and creates spreadsheets of what we’re able to sell, I write the descriptions, she loads them into the shop, and Dossy approves them.

That may not sound glamorous — and some days it hasn’t been — but the beauty lies in learning how each other works. The magic of becoming a well-oiled machine means you gain more insight on how each person works in order to take on new projects. To push a little further.

To fly.

My recurring task of creating Facebook content has birthed ideas for feature articles. Kelly’s real-life experiences with one of her beloved dogs are stories aching to be told. She’s trusting me to tell them, and I’m honored to do so.

At the helm is Dossy, who doesn’t shy away from big ideas — nor from testing out those we’re sometimes wary of. We make it a point to have meetings twice a week on Zoom. We track what works, what doesn’t, and what we’ll try next.  

During a one-on-one call with Dossy last week, we discussed how I was doing. Was I getting more comfortable with everything? Yes. Do I have any ideas or thoughts of my own for SFYD and Panoptic?  Yes, I do. Where do I see myself in 5 years?

I gave The Typical Answer, but I meant what I said: if I had my way, I’d still be working for Panoptic. If not on current projects, then something else. While not a bad answer, it wasn’t what he was looking for.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asked.

What a loaded question! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian. While I loved science, math and I weren’t what you’d call friends. This aversion haunted me during the decision to advance from being a phlebotomist to a medical technologist — and that’s when the unexpected turn into the world of copywriting began.

Today, the answer to that (if not a published author of urban romance/horror) was clear after just seconds of thought:

A journalist.

I never made it onto the high school newspaper staff. I never wrote any pieces in college beyond essays and creative works for a semester of English classes.

But I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first short story was in the back half of my childhood diary. I’ve been sitting on half a novel and three-quarters of an anthology of haiku for years.

Maybe I’ll get inspired to pick those back up. But in regards to work, thoughts of creative, narrative, or feature journalism, and how I can apply these forms to SFYD and Panoptic, swarmed every synapse in my brain. Whether evergreen content or meant to follow trends, the ocean I’d spent time growing accustomed to suddenly felt smaller.

I want to do more.

I want to fly.

My mind is teeming with the number of things I’ve learned, the content I’m studying, and now, the new avenues I’m pursuing to help our company shine.  

January was a little adjustment and a lot of learning.

February taught me that I don’t have to settle — but there’s still more to learn.

Today, I raise my coffee mug to March: we’re ready for the month and all its possibilities.