Last week between feeding my children delicious organic meals from my hydroponic vegetable garden and knitting free trade clothing for children in Haiti, I managed to find time to go on a job interview. I dusted off the old business clothes and found that little leather folder thingy that is the must-have accessory for any job interview. I am pretty sure you are supposed to put some paper in there to complete the look, but I didn’t. My leather thingy was empty, save for a decades-old Bic pen, which had no ink in it.
I got this interview through a friend, L.W., with whom I used to work at the Big Fancy law firm where we started our careers. Both of us left the BFLF and moved on– she to a small real estate firm and me to…well, this. Because L.W. is taking a new position, she suggested that I interview for her job at the real estate firm. I hesitated because I don’t think I am ready for a full-time (or anything even close) legal job. Oh, and I don’t know squat about real estate law, except that I hope to never encounter the rule against perpetuities ever again.
I want to be ready for the next phase of my career, but I know deep down I am not. When L.W. told me that the Big Chief at her firm was open to having me work part-time I felt I couldn’t refuse to at least interview. (Plus, my therapist insisted I go. That a**hole.)
I went. It was an amazing experience. First, I met with Big Chief who was as amazing of a boss as I could ever conjure up, especially at a law firm. I didn’t know they even made Big Chiefs like that. He was interesting, enthusiastic, did not talk about himself the whole time, and seemed unfazed by my lack of experience in real estate law. When I am ready to work, I hope I do get a boss like Big Chief. (Guess that means I can’t ever work for myself, but I am not as dynamic or as generous as he is, and I pretty much only talk about myself.) After meeting with him and then debriefing with L.W., I rode home on the train (where I accidentally left that stupid, empty leather folder thingy) and pictured myself working there.
Except, I am not ready. I know in the way I know that I hate Dr. Phil that I am just not ready. It’s a gut-level knowledge.
So, I called Big Chief and told him what my gut was saying, but not before spending some time in my bedroom breathing into a paper bag because of these messages:
- How will I ever find part-time work as a mom-lawyer again?
- Sometimes I get bored, so shouldn’t I go work?
- What will happen if I take even more time off?
- What if I regret not becoming Big Chief’s Tonto?
- What about the money I am foregoing?
- Sadie will be in school in September, so aren’t I supposed to take a job?
- Why is this SO F*CKING HARD?
- Here I go again: taking something positive (like a potential job) and turning it into something negative (like a chance to have a panic attack).
- I wish Big Chief had hated me so then I wouldn’t have to affirmatively say, “I want to stay home with my kids longer. Please hold that job for 3 years.”
- What if I resent the kids for this?
- What if I get fat? (That’s at the bottom of every panic attack.)
I found the courage and the words to tell Big Chief the truth. And guess what? He was amazing about it. We agreed to stay in touch. He actually hinted that I didn’t ask for a high enough salary. (Is he for real?)
Then, I got the kindest letter in the mail from Big Chief, who does not appear to hate me for wanting more time with my kids. Maybe it’s time I let myself off the hook as well.
Anyone else turn down a job and struggle with the voices in your head? Anyone else know they are not ready, but struggle anyway?