Remembering the first trip to Chattanooga

December 10, 2023

A memory for 11 years ago. We traveled up from Orlando for a job interview. We stayed at a SpringHill Suites, which is the hotel I am currently staying at in Murray, KY.

As I was looking at my memories on Facebook tonight (Friday night), I had a memory from 11 years ago when we first visited Chattanooga. We had driven up from Orlando that day and stayed at the SpringHill Suites. We arrived just in time to see part of a boat parade on the river and fireworks from an annual Chattanooga event.

We had traveled to Chattanooga so I could have an interview with Aaron Gustafson and Kelly McCarthy for a front-end developer role at Easy Designs. I had already had several phone conversations with them as part of the process. They had chosen two candidates to bring into Chattanooga for an in-person interview and I was one of them.

I had worked it out so my whole family could come up. We wanted to be able to check out Chattanooga together and see if it was a place where we could see our family living. My kids were 12, 8, and 6 at the time.

I remember that the weather was cold, rainy, and foggy for much of our trip. We had driven up on Saturday. On Sunday, we drove up one of the main roads to see an area of town that we were considering living in. We ended up stopping short of where we currently live so we didn’t see many neighborhoods. We ate lunch at a Chilis and drove around town a bit more.

We spent the afternoon at the Hunter Art Museum and walked around a little bit of downtown that was by the river. That night, our family met with Aaron and Kelly for dinner. And then we got some ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s before retiring for the night. The whole family enjoyed getting to meet Aaron and Kelly and I enjoyed seeing how they interacted with our kids.

The next day, I drove over to Kelly and Aaron’s house and met them in their downstairs studio. I enjoyed getting to know more about them and their business. I was impressed with their professionalism and commitment to excellence. I enjoyed spending the day with them as we ate lunch out, visited a potential office location that they were considering, and spent some time at a coffee shop before heading back to their house.

I remember walking back to my van after we were done and was just bursting with excitement. My interest in the job had only increased as I had spent the day with them. I really wanted them to offer me the job. I knew I was going to have to wait a couple of weeks before I heard from them. But it was such a positive interview experience.

I came back to the hotel and shared about my day with the family. We ate dinner at an Applebee’s downtown and then visited the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. We enjoyed seeing this historic building. Our favorite part was a miniature railroad set in the Chattanooga downtown complete with a Lookout Mountain.

Even though the weather was cold and overcast during our entire stay, our whole family was pretty enthusiastic about relocating to Chattanooga if I was offered the job.

For several years, my oldest daughter had asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I had told her that I wanted a new job, I wanted a dream job. That year I got my wish. Just two days after my birthday, Aaron and Kelly offered me the job! Six months later, we relocated to Chattanooga after working remotely from Orlando.

I wish I could say that this story had a happy ending. But that was not to be. The job ended up not being a good fit for them or me. It was a disappointment. But I am incredibly grateful for the time I got to work at Easy Designs. I learned quite a bit and gained confidence that helped me in my future endeavors. I cut my teeth on responsive design and got to interact with several industry leaders who came to town to speak at a meetup that Aaron and Kelly organized. And I got to work on some pretty amazing projects.

The Facebook memory has some special significance to me on the day that I wrote this post (Friday). I am sitting in another SpringHill Suites in Murray, Kentucky. I have been helping my son move out of his dorm for the past two days. He will be spending the spring semester in Spain so this was the big move out.

The room that I have been staying in the past three days has the same setup as the room we stayed in Chattanooga 11 years ago. The only difference is that it is not a part of an adjoining suite. So that story from eleven years ago is very fresh in my mind as I sit in this room that is so similar to the one we were staying in during that trip.

Related articles

  • The Road to Chattanooga – In my excitement leading up to starting my job at Easy Designs, I created this one-page site that told the story of my journey to this job.
  • Track 29 – A post I wrote on my first day with Easy Designs.

This post is part of my attempt to post something every day for a month. I was inspired by Michelle Barker, who recently participated in National Blog Posting Month.

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