I didn’t want to come to my interview at Roundpeg. I wanted to go to the zoo.

It was late January, 2010. I had been un- or underemployed for the eight months since my college graduation. I’d worked retail, I’d done some contract writing work for a local university and most recently, I’d been laid off from a part-time job that I hated but wished would go full-time because it paid well and I wanted a job–any job.

I was down-in-the-dumps on that January day when Roundpeg called and told me they didn’t have any jobs available, but they’d talk to me about an unpaid internship. I didn’t want an unpaid internship, I wanted a job. I was tired of being poor and depressed. But I knew that I needed to keep moving and learning if I was ever going to find that elusive full-time gig.

“Can you come in Monday?” My heart sank. Monday was going to be a rare day for myself. You see, Monday was Martin Luther King Day, which meant free admission at the Indianapolis Zoo. It was going to be my treat to myself: a free trip to the zoo on a frigid winter’s day.

“Of course I can.”

So I went. We interviewed, but I don’t really remember it. I was full of resentment and hurt, going through the motions. But Roundpeg and I looked at each other and saw the same thing: potential. They saw a girl who was a little surly, a little battered, but who might just have some chops. And I saw a company that was a little rough around the edges, a little scrappy, but which might just have the makings of something great.

“When can you start? How about today?” Lorraine asked.

Goodbye, shark petting tank. Goodbye, red pandas. “Sure, why not?”

I worked the whole day, and then never left. Two months later, I was brought on full time.

So much has changed since that day I first walked into the little white house. For one thing, we don’t hire interns on the spot anymore. The company is also more confident, more focused and more profitable. The cast of characters has changed, revolving around the constants of Lorraine, Rebecca and Clyde. The brand and the company have grown up tremendously, and it’s been incredible to watch the change.

And for me? I’m more confident, focused and profitable, too. I’ve honed my writing skills, discovered the wild and wonderful world of social media, built a tight network in the Indianapolis community, gotten comfortable enough with myself and with my boss to help steer the direction of the company. I’ve learned to manage people–sort of. I’ve executed great campaigns with clients I loved that reaped big results, and I’ve face planted on a few projects that left me with valuable, if painful lessons.

But most importantly in my two years at the ‘Peg, I’ve rediscovered my self worth. I’ve grown up. And I’ve had a lot of fun along the way, with Taylor and Jay and Peter and Jenna  and Rebecca and the parade of interns.

Lorraine still owes me a trip to the zoo, though.