Sulking

I mentioned a few weeks ago that life is settling into a quite lovely reprieve lately. The boys are old enough to hold their own, to help, and to navigate life with a level of alacrity that informs our interactions. They’re people more often than actors playing needy little whelps, and I enjoy being with them.

Client work is winding down, as it typically does before the holidays. I’ve been looking forward to this window so I can work on my book. I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo because I’m participating in NaNoWriDecade. My novel needs at least two more huge overhauls before it’s decent, and I want to do that work.

And I’ve been contemplating going back to work. The sacrifices of curtailing my career for child-rearing smacked me right across the mouth with Ann Marie Slaughter’s article on working and motherhood…I’ve given up almost a decade of income, a decade of retirement savings to be with my children. I’ve stayed in the game by consulting, but there’s a certain point at which I need colleagues. In writing, in editing, and in brand naming (a seriously awesome niche of the linguistic world wherein companies call me to name their widget, their salad, their company) I’ve been working alone or hiring the same small group of trusted creatives for a decade.

Then LinkedIn sent me an email. “Did you know Awesome Niche Company is looking for someone like you?” I clicked, read, gasped, and submitted. Jobs like this don’t come along often, and I had to acknowledge the fit. So I applied. I got an interview. I researched nannies and school schedules and I waited, day after day rethinking my every interview answer. I talked too long on that point, I didn’t turn that back around to the issue at hand, I poorly articulated something at which I excel…If you’ve ever interviewed, you know the process.

And then I got the email. “Lovely to meet you…experienced and enthusiastic…better qualified applicants.”

I wish them great luck and I’m sure they’ll find the right person for the job. But in my head, I was the right person. And hearing they don’t agree is a ridiculously oversized blow to my ego. I should focus on the fact that clients don’t agree. I get hired quickly and repeatedly for jobs because I’m good at what I do.

But for now I’m having a good sulk.

This is the first time I’ve gotten excited about a job in a long time. A job like this won’t come around again for five years. This was the job.

Oh, goodness, am I pouting.

I need to polish my interview skills, so this doesn’t happen again. And I need to work on my book, so when I get the perfect job I won’t have an unfinished novel looming over my head. And I need to write proposals for two nonfiction books and apply to law school and write that scholarly article I’ve been promising for three years and turn down more client work and actually ditch sugar and…

I just want someone to look at my accomplishments and be impressed. And ask me my opinion on something. My children can’t and won’t fill this function. My husband can’t either. My colleagues don’t care because they have their own baggage to manage. My clients think they’re engaging in exactly this sort of supportive respect by hiring me.

So why the big ol’ pout? this isn’t high school. “You need 100 auditions to get one gig, so just go do another 99,” my acting coach always said.

Why not go and do something on the List?

The List. The List shall guide you. Use the List, Luke. Help me, List, you’re my only hope.

But I’ve written my own to-do list for more than a decade. Can’t someone else hand me a list?

Wait, do I really want that? Haven’t small people and clients and students and employers been handing me a list for twenty-plus years? Don’t I want my own list?

Yes, but that’s not possible. I have a family and bills and clients. My list will never be my own. Just as it’s not your own list when you’re under your parents’ roof, or in college, or gainfully employed, or imprisoned, or unemployed, or an elected official, or…wait, are independently wealthy, single people the only ones with self-generated lists?

Does LinkedIn send opening for that role? Single and independently wealthy?

I hope so. Until then, I have things to do.

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thinking makes it so…

We spent last Friday¬† picking strawberries with a great group of families, and one woman said, “On days like these I think my husband got the raw end of this deal.”

She was, of course, correct. There are some days when screaming and tantrums and hitting and  illogic take place in the sun and fresh air, on which there are more cuddles than screams, more engaging interaction than battles. And then, yes, this job outshines others.

And there are days when fluorescent light and cubicles, steady pay and logical co-workers, and the chance to just think a thought through to completion and urinate when necessary, even when faced with terrible work conditions, lack of respect, a cruel boss, and crappy pay sound a whole lot better than this.

So I’ve been thinking of quitting. Or, rather, shifting careers. Before Peanut, when I worked in corporate America, I evaluated jobs with lists of pros and cons, and made decisions based on whether, in the balance a job offered more than it took from me.

So I took a deep breath and did the same evaluation about staying home to raise a child. Because it’s gotten challenging enough for me to spend more days in tears and screaming than not, and I am really, really talented at my previous, grownup jobs.

I think for my temperment, this job may not be a fit. I think I have too many conflicts with management, and I have too many skills that go unused in this role. But I also think that the boss needs me, the future of the company needs me, and the franchise will stand a better chance of making it in the long term if I keep my job.

So I’m starting each day with the attitude that I’m really lucky to be able to do this job. I may not be the best for the role, and this position may not be even close to what is best for me. I don’t even particularly like the job, though I love the company and believe in it. But the role will shift, the job will grow, and I will be able to say I made the right overall decision to stay instead of go, if only because in the balance, in the sun and fresh air of good days, this does beat shilling for multinational corporations, to whom I’m just a cog. Because to this tiny operation, I am the sun and the moon.