From the Court to the Cubicle: Part 1
I recently started an internship with EYA, a real estate development company that specializes in urban development in the Washington, D.C area. Real estate development has always been an interest of mine; being a native Washingtonian and seeing how neighborhoods are constantly changing for the better.
A few developments that sparked my interest were located in Columbia Heights, the H Street Corridor, the Southwest Waterfront and more recently over in Brookland.
Brookland is a neighborhood that EYA has invested in by bringing Chancellor’s Row, a new townhome community just minutes away from Brookland’s metro station and ABDO’s new retail town center. That may have sounded like a shameless plug, but to a point it was. I have really bought into what this company aims to do, which is to bring sustainable, high quality living to urban areas that encourages smart growth in convenient locations. Their motto ‘life within walking distance’, attests to the company’s desire to be in locations where residents can easily access public transportation, retail, and other amenities.
Long gone are the days where people want to start a family and move to the suburbs. Instead the suburbs have now come to the city.
Now this transition “From the Court to the Cubicle”, surprisingly, has not been the easiest. Mind you, I’ve had to make many transitions in my life. Whether it was the transition from college to the WNBA or from the WNBA to living in a foreign country, I have been put in some very trying situations. But none as trying as figuring out how to use a copy machine or do a mail merger. God forbid they ask me to send a fax! A mail merger? What in the world is that?
I was given the task of creating a mail merger and printing the addresses on envelopes. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Now factor in loading envelopes into a copy machine and instructing the copy machine to print those addresses on them. Who even knew that was possible! Long story short, I went back and forth from my cube to the copy room about 6 times trying to get it right. I actually laughed at myself while all of this was going on and it was very entertaining.
Our human resources administrator Nancy said, “You’re familiar with Outlook right?" With a look of confusion I hesitantly respond saying “um not really!” Gmail, Yahoo, and even AOL, I have that down. I can send an email, reply to emails, the whole nine, but using Outlook, checking and setting up a calendar, in which I must say has its share of meetings scheduled, accepting and approving things are all foreign to me. I can definitely say that I already have a greater appreciation for those who do administrative work. It’s not as simple as it looks.
For now, I’ll stick to making baskets instead of making copies. Either way, this experience has been nothing but amazing to say the least. Already, I’ve sat in on city council hearings, been in meetings with executives, and learned different marketing approaches. Bob Youngentob has given me a great opportunity and I only hope to continue to learn more about the business of real estate development. In my short time here, I want to gain a better sense of exactly what I’d like to do after my basketball career. To be working with some of the best in the business, I am certain that I will come out with a better understanding of what it takes to be the best in a field entirely different from the one I’m coming from. Better yet, next week maybe I’ll learn how to answer the phones.