Thursday, March 29, 2007

Waiting For Your Call Baby Night and Day

It's become apparent that job hunting is like dating. The vulnerability of making yourself available, sending out your resume to strangers you meet online, all the vital statistics of your professional self. You check your email, keep your phone on your desk, waiting for it to ring. Hoping someone, anyone, finds you worthy of a meeting.

Finally! Someone calls. You talk about yourself, wondering how much of your true crazy to let out at once. You try not to sound bitter about employers who've hurt you, try to let the past be water under the bridge. What do these people want to hear? Will they use me? Take good care of me? They say they'll be in touch again for an in-person meeting. You don't hold your breath.

Then, miracle of miracles, they call you back. They want to meet you! You eagerly say yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Then begins the worry. Will they like you? What should you wear? What says "I am a professional" and "I am a cool young woman" at the same time? Don't swear. For the love of God, don't swear. Calm down. Brush your teeth. Don't eat the poppy seed bagel on your way to meet them.

You're excited by all the potential in this new place. Four kinds of coffee! Televisions playing CNBC and a stock ticker. Men in suits. A cute receptionist who tells you to hang your coat. Leather chairs. You feel excited and intimidated. Once the first person you meet with shows up and shakes your hand, you feel at ease. You remember you don't need this job, you want this job. You meet with everyone, and they seem to like you, which puts you at ease further. You leave the strange office, feeling good, hoping you'll see each other again. You send an email, thanking them for meeting with you.

A week later, they call. They like you, but they also like someone else. Your heart begins to break. You listen to sad songs. You talk to them again, telling them how much you liked them, hearing the words and knowing that they're true. Your heart races. You hope they pick you. They say they'll call tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes, and you sit by the phone, mentally begging for it to ring. You open and close the phone on the half-hour, thinking that maybe it went right to voicemail. You think about the various problems the call could raise. Maybe they'll just break your heart right away and say they like someone prettier, someone with better clothes, someone more skilled than you. Noon comes. No call. One-thirty comes, and they say they're calling your references. Will they give you the money you need? Will the benefits be good? Where will you live? Where will you buy khakis for business-casual? You try to tell yourself you're Zen.

Finally, the phone rings. They like you. They offer you everything you wanted. Good benefits. Decent pay. Room to grow. A laptop. Business cards. Four flavors of coffee. A team to manage. You say yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Then you realize your have to break the heart of the one you're with. You go to them with tears in your eyes, knowing that this will hurt them, even though it's what's best for you. They congratulate you, which makes the tears come up more in your eyes. One of your coworkers holds it together until you leave the room, then you hear her sobbing. "But I'm so happy for you," she says, "I'm just being selfish." You cry more. But they're happy for you, knowing it's not them, it's you and your needs that need to be met. They know you still cherish what you had with them.

So, yes, I've got a new job. No, I am not leaving because Kristen is leaving. I don't want to get into it too much, but I'll be doing editing for a technology company. I'm glad to be moving up in the world, but I'm sad to leave the good people I work with behind.

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