Joyce Snyder, one of Libby's childhood friends, had also quit college after 2 years. She was attending Northwestern University, but didn't want to abandon her boyfriend, a French citizen named Jean-Louis Bouyer. She conspired with Libby to move to Chicago, where they'd get jobs and she could be near him. Libby was hoping for work as a Fashion Designer, but didn't know how actually tough that would be.
Libby's first jobs, at Arthur Andersen and at a small packaging company, weren't much and didn't lead to much of a career. At Arthur Anderson, a large and prestigious accounting firm, she did filing and some receptionist work. An interesting side note was her "initiation" into Chicago's work culture, where co-workers were more interested in others' ethnic background than where they were from. Questions often were, "What ARE you?", rather than "Where are you from?" What they were asking was for Libby's nationality (i.e. Polish, Italian, German, etc.). In Chicago, with many ethnic cultures and neighborhoods, this was more important than background.
She also discovered that her Kentucky accent wasn't a good thing, and worked hard to "ditch it".
After a couple of years assimilating into Chicago's norms, Libby got a job as an executive secretary to a VP at a small magazine publishing company, Clissold Publishing. This was a good situation, but she really desired an art-related career.
She and Joyce shared an apartment for about a year, until Joyce married her boyfriend and moved to France. Forced to leave the apartment they shared, Libby moved to a succession of apartments and roommates in the Rush Street area of Chicago. Her work at Clissold continued, and she lived the life of a young single girl in the "big city". Libby met some interesting people, and dated a pro hockey player named Eric Nesterenko. who would later enter Mike's life.
A couple of years of this life was enough, and Libby started seriously dating a man named Art Harris. He helped her move to Rogers Park, a neighborhood on the northern edge of Chicago's lake front, along with 2 of his cats. Libby discovered she was allergic to cats...
Art Harris was an interesting, if offbeat, guy. A college graduate, he didn't really have a career or regular job, but he did odd jobs for wealthy North Shore home owners: things such as cleaning gutters, seasonal storm window/screen replacement, and various tasks his clients needed. Work like this was important to home owners in these communities, and it paid well. Art operated a cash-only "business", and he invested heavily in the stock markets. He had a very modest and frugal lifestyle, but he was shrewd, hard working, and saved almost everything.
Libby developed other friends, among them were Robbie Ryden, Diane Klebba, Linda Lewis. Judy Smuzer and male friends of Art's, Frank Haynes and Bill Werth. Several of these friendships continued after meeting Mike, even after she married him.
It was while working at Clissold that Libby met Mike...