by Christina Michael
After months and months, phone call after phone call, new gray hair after new gray hair, I received a call from the quasi-government job. They actually went out on a limb and offered me a full time, real, paying job (with benefits!). What a pleasant surprise (actually, another “shock and awe” moment -- remember this was the “prom” job interview that I was certain I did not get?). O.K. The expression “don’t ask for what you don’t want” was ringing at some really loud decibel level in my little head. Now what?
Let’s analyze (a.k.a. free therapy). The job offer is really really full time (9 to 5 if I’m lucky, 8 to 6 more realistically). The job offer is really really outside of my legal box of experience and education (okay, Christina, but you asked to “reinvent” yourself). The job offer is really really real (yes, Christina, that’s what happens when you send a resume, interview twice with numerous people, have your references checked and checked again, and you receive an offer orally and in writing). The job offer really really will make me sign up the “after care” at school from 3 to 6:30 (for which the wait list is from here to Montana) or find a babysitter (a.k.a. nanny or “au pair”, which sounds a bit too official and pretentious for me, but, Christina, that is what people do every day when both [most] parents work). The job offer really really will make me unable to walk my little dog at lunch (yes, Christina, your puppy will need a dog walker or doggie day care). The job offer really really will not allow me to grocery shop and cook dinner for my family as easily or at all (yes, Christina, get used to getting take out or Trader Joe’s pre-made frozen meals night after night). The job offer really really will not let me pick up my sons from school, take them to a whole mix of after school activities (soccer, swimming, Tae Kwon Do, yoga --- they are far too overscheduled like the rest of today’s kids), or take them home to help them with their homework (yes, Christina, your “au pair” or daycare will have to deal with your children and will probably not be able to do the over the top, overscheduled activities very much at all [why a 4 and 7 year old need so much of that extra stuff is an entirely different column that we’ll blog about later, but can’t they just go climb a tree for free?]). The job offer really really will make me use my brain again like I haven’t done in a very long time (yes, Christina, you will have to figure out how to use the few brain cells that still remain after four fun years of college [my kids won’t experiment with those crazy things, right?] and raising two young kids).
This job offer made my stomach clench and my head pound. It felt like the Broker’s Exam again from a couple of months ago. Oh, did I wish I hadn’t chugged that double espresso at 3:00 in the afternoon today (a vice I promised that I would not have after noon, but the little pleasures hopefully would give me enough Chi to make it until Annie’s Mac and Cheese dinner). Take deep breaths. Take deep, pranayama yoga breaths like they taught me in Bikram yoga (though I felt like half a fool when I did this breathing during yoga class, I am a believer in it, even if it stops my spinning for just a moment). Ahhh. Blood pressure dropping.
O.K. I began to recite to myself the positives of this job offer. The job offer really really will let me make some money (better than the big goose egg that I’ve been earning for the past 6 years). The job offer really really will allow me to put something into savings (a cushion more than the ones on my couch is desperately needed here). The job offer really really will allow me to open my own checking account (I was independent financially at some point in my life that now feels like that was in the Dark Ages). The job offer really really will rid me of my guilt of spending money on a new pair of shoes or on my double espresso (I admit that sometimes I leave my empty Starbucks coffee cups in the car so I’m not discovered... pitiful). The job offer really really will give my sons a good female mentor in their lives (me) who will be working and contributing to society more than just playing the role of short-order cook, laundress, and referee (yes, my sons beat the living **** out of each other like Muhammad Ali). Maybe this will be a really really good thing for my boys.
What a dilemma. What a pickle. What a dill pickle. Let’s hope that a good night’s rest and the morning light will bring me a just a little bit more clarity.