This post is three weeks in the making. It will never be as eloquent as I want, nor will it fully articulate what I am feeling… but here goes nothing.
Two years ago a Fellowship was bestowed upon me by Johnson & Johnson. In short, Johnson & Johnson would pay for my masters in communication & information studies at Rutgers University, plus a salary. In return, I would earn good grades and work for the Company’s Corporate Communications Department.
When I began, I had a lot of experience with my own business and did very well in my undergraduate programs, but a company like Johnson & Johnson was a completely different level. It was the largest health care company in the world, and I was a kid.
The first time I walked into the building I remember feeling insignificant. As I approached the elevator for the tower that I would be working in, the same tower that the CEO sat in, I thought to myself, “It’s only a matter of time before they discover that you don’t know anything and fire you.” I honestly had no idea if I knew how to do anything that Johnson & Johnson would find even remotely useful. I also didn’t know what my job would be.
I quickly found out that I would be doing the content management of the corporate web site, jnj.com. I had a lot of experience with web design and web site management, but the sites I worked on were viewed by maybe a few hundred people per month (usually less). This site was viewed by as many people in an hour.
The first time I made a change to the site it was unbelievably empowering. The first thing I did when I got home after my first day was call my Mom and direct her to my little change to the web site. I later discovered that every single jnj.com Fellow before me did the exact same thing after their first change.
Two weeks into my time there, my boss Michael Johnson gave his two weeks notice. Around the same time my predecessor left as well. Within about a month I was the only person who knew how to run the site. It was sink or swim time. A web design and web site management agency named Local Wisdom was brought on to assist and supplement me in maintaining the site. Specifically the very talented Melissa Mancuso became my counterpart on jnj.com (She is getting married this weekend – Good luck and all the best Melissa!).
At the same time, a total redesign of the web site was underway. I managed to work my way onto the redesign team, and things really took off from there.
It turned out that I knew a lot more than I realized when I started, and before I knew it I was completely immersed in the redesign. The project was an incredible experience. Working on the redesign was the most intense and fun thing I have done in school or work to date. I loved every minute of that project.
In the months after the redesign, I began to work closely with the social media team in Corporate Communications. Web guru Adriana Lucas took me under her wing, as did Marc Monseau and Margaret Gurowitz. These three people opened my eyes to a world that I knew a lot about yet chose to ignore. They helped me to see things differently; more clearly. Without them, this blog would not exist.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the other great Fellows. When I was new, the elder Fellows showed me the ropes (and helped me become a more relaxed person in general). As I became an elder Fellow, I had the honor of helping the new Fellows navigate the Company. Every single Fellow that I worked with had some special and unique talent (a superpower, if you will [I needed to geek this post up a little bit]) that they brought to the office. Seeing what they were capable of inspired me to write better, think in new ways, and just be a better person.
Finally, there is this guy.
Aside from commenting regularly on this blog, Mark Krajnak was my boss for most of my time at Johnson & Johnson. He has been the best boss that I’ve ever had, an excellent mentor, and a true friend. He gave me the room I needed to grow, but was always there to help me when I needed it.
Last Tuesday was my final day as a Johnson & Johnson Fellow.
I extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone I have worked with these past two years. It has been an privilege.
A special thank you goes to (in no particular order) Sarah Colamarino, Nancy Walker, Carol Bauman, Anthony Carter, Craig Rothenberg, Shaun Mickus, Marc Monseau, Mark Krajnak, Michael Johnson, Mathew Johnson, Margaret Gurowitz, Adriana Lucas, Ray Jordan, BrieAnn Szatkowski, Carla Hayes, Paul Dickler, Mark Curley, and Bill Price (Regrettably, I am probably leaving someone out).
Where am I going from here?
You may have noticed that the title says, “Until We Meet Again,” as opposed to “Goodbye.” That was deliberate.
Remember that company I mentioned a few paragraphs up? Well, in two weeks I will begin my new job as project manager and information architect for Local Wisdom. Johnson & Johnson will be one of my clients.
There are no numbers I can assign, or words I can write to demonstrate the value of these past two years other than: They have been the best two years of my life. Johnson & Johnson, thank you for the education, experience, and memories.
See you in a few weeks.