The Year I Came, Saw & Conquered

I’ve been back in California for nearly a year now. As I’ve written before, the last year has been one of personal growth and introspection. I’ve lost and gained friendships and lost a noticeable amount of weight (26 pounds for almost 26 years alive LOL). I’ve seriously doubted my self-worth and struggled with some depression….and came out feeling stronger and more defiant than before. But most importantly: I’ve come to enjoy life without the sense of near-absolute certainty and security I had come to embrace for years.

Back when I moved to DC for the internship at The American Prospect, I expected to land some sort of job in the journalism world. But towards the end of my time with The Prospect, I realized that journalism wasn’t the career for me – it’s unreliable (especially in the digital age) and doesn’t pay well for the amount of work that has to go into it. I was feeling homesick and nostalgic for the Golden State and wanted to jump start a career as a political staffer in the LA area. After making several connections and applying for several dozen jobs, nothing really panned out. In the meantime I worked side jobs to keep just enough money coming in to make monthly payments on my (thankfully) small student loan and a couple credit cards.

My next step was to apply for jobs in DC, too. Washington is both the political and non-profit heart of the country – there are countless opportunities for a job-seeking millennial with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. So I started applying for political and PR/communications jobs in DC a few months after moving back home. I scored a few interviews and made some great connections that have since helped me tremendously. But the biggest obstacle to being a young politico in DC again has been the fact that I’m no longer in DC…yet.

This past January, I had to go back to work at my old Starbucks store. Did I want to? Not really. But my source of income was small and unstable. My old employer would at least pay me a steady wage. My manager has also been incredibly understanding and kind by bringing me back onto the team. One never really forgets how to make a Caramel Macchiato or a pitcher of coffee once you’ve spent years making them so my transition back to Baristaland was pretty smooth.

Had I known that I’d be back at my old Starbucks store a year ago, I would have obviously made some different decisions. For one, I would not have quit Starbucks in the first place. Say what you will about the two-tailed, green siren – she provides a good work environment and exceptional benefits for a food service company…and she allows her minions to transfer to different stores across the country. I probably would’ve stayed at the DC Starbucks I was at until I landed a permanent job.

But I didn’t. And that’s okay.

I’ve been forced to accept the fact that life – no matter how well you think it’s being managed and/or controlled – does not always go as planned. I planned on having a career in my field by now. I planned on living and working in the City of Angels. I planned on living and working in Washington, DC. I did everything I knew to do and have accepted all the constructive input I’ve sought out. And yet here I am.

Don’t confuse my acceptance of life’s uncertainty and unpredictability as defeat. To the contrary – I feel more ambitious than ever. My drive to succeed and make my own life has never been stronger.

As a matter of fact, I’ve applied for nearly 30 internships and fellowships since the beginning of May – DC internships and fellowships. My new plan is to once again be an intern in the District while working at (preferably) the same Starbucks store I was at before. I learned my lesson from last year and won’t quit “the Bux” until I land a permanent and full-time communications/PR or Capitol Hill job. The goal: Get to DC, continue to network, and stay. I’ve already had an interview and have another coming up. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be back in DC by early June.

Of course this plan could easily change or be upended by another one. But building my resume with a third internship or fellowship – one I am definitely qualified for – is an excellent way to launch a successful career. Just being back in DC will only expedite the process, too. Life threw me some important, lesson-learning curve balls. I’ve taken notes and redoubled my efforts. It’s not in my nature to settle for mediocrity or collapse in defeat if things haven’t gone according to plan. I’ve only got one life to live and I want to look back on it someday knowing that I did everything in my power to make it successful and fulfilled.

As always, stay tuned. 🙂

just me

Don’t Cry for Me, California. The Truth is I Never Left You

This has been the shortest four months in my life. If it weren’t for the gross DC humidity, I’d think that I arrived yesterday in the dead of a brutal winter. And now, in just matter of weeks, I’ll be going back to California to pursue a career in public service…and I cannot wait.

Don’t get me wrong – my time in the political heart of the country has been great. I’ve seen the monuments, museums, galleries and founding documents of the United States in person. It’s something every American needs to do in their lifetime. The feeling I had after seeing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in person, through a specialized, secure case with its own atmosphere, is difficult to describe. It’s similar to the feeling I had when I saw the Apollo 11 Command Module and the full-scale replica of the Voyager probe, mankind’s first ambassador to interstellar space, at the Air and Space Museum. It was definitely there when I saw the remains of many of humanity’s distant ancestors and genetic cousins at the National Museum of Natural History. The feeling was there when I sat on the grounds of both the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial to read e-books. And it was there when I took walks throughout the city, passing the house where Lincoln died, strolling through the MLK Jr. and FDR memorials, casually walking past the White House, and walking the streets some of the greatest men and women in human history have walked. It was spiritual, but not in a superstitious way. I felt connected to my history as an American and a human being on this precious planet. My story is my own, for sure. But it’s also a part of the larger narrative of what it means to be human.

via my Instagram (micah_escobedo)

via my Instagram (micah_escobedo)

I could go on, but for your reading pleasure and convenience, I’ll continue… 😉

My editorial internship with The American Prospect has been an amazing experience. My writing and research skills have improved and now I can say that I know how to fact-check (not as easy as people think) and, to a certain degree, copy-edit. The feeling one gets from seeing stories they helped fact-check appear in print and receive national attention is one of prideful satisfaction. Knowing that I had a hand in getting very important, incredible stories out to The Prospect’s readers (and even a number of policy makers) has been extremely gratifying and fulfilling. However, like all internships should be able to do, this job has helped me better realize what I want to do for a career. Spoiler: It’s not journalism. And it’s in the Golden State.

The Spring 2014 interns with few of the editors (via Gabriel Arana's Instagram - gabrielarana)

The Spring 2014 interns with few of the editors (via Gabriel Arana’s Instagram – gabrielarana)

Years ago (I can’t believe it’s already been that long) I was a congressional intern. I loved the experience, even though the responsibilities were limited compared to the rest of the staff. I was working for a lawmaker, a representative of my home district – what a great job! But that was during my first year of college. By the time I graduated, with a BA in Communication from Fresno State, I knew I wanted to have some kind of job in the communication field. I wasn’t sure of the exact job I wanted, so I applied to be an intern with a great magazine that you should all subscribe to…and got one of the spots!  Half way through the internship, I started applying to other internships, fellowships and jobs in Washington. As time went on and that irritating sense of urgency intensified, I began to reconsider my plans. Did I want to be a journalist, constantly writing for relatively low wages? Was I going to write for a think-tank or a watch-dog organization? Was I going to end up living on the East Coast, away from my beloved home state?

I remembered how I felt as a congressional intern and once again started to gravitate back toward public service (this time with a clearer sense of what my political philosophy is). Plus, I really, really missed my home state. I can’t help that I’m drawn to California. It’s my home – it always has been and, as far as I can tell, always will be. Most of my friends and family are there, not to mention countless amazing memories. The climate, though negatively effected by climate change, is great. Cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento have special places in my Californian heart. Since 2011, the state’s been on a political and economic uptick (thank you, Governor Brown and current legislature) and we’ve led the nation in renewable energy generation.  I cannot wait to lend my talents and abilities to the state that has provided me with so much.

Thanks to valuable help from some great people here in DC, I’m on track to getting into California politics. I don’t want to run for office (at least not at this point in my life). I want to be a part of the team that keeps an elected official operating like clockwork, whether it’s a state legislator or congressperson. Even the thought of me returning to California to work for a politician makes me incredibly happy. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and two communication-oriented internships under my belt. I’m ready and eager to go. You can take the boy out of the Golden State but you can’t take the Golden State (of mind) out of the boy.

California flag