May 21, 2020

Growing Pains

"Is this Natasha?" a low, masculine voice said on the other side of the line.

"Uh, yes," I said distracted by single hair I spotted on my left big toe. Should I wax my toe? Is that a thing?  "This is her."

"Hi, I'm calling from Icona Media. I was referred to you for the writing position we have."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Someone referred you for this job."

I grew suspicious. This, someone, was clearly no friend of mine as my friends knew, I swore never to work 9 to 5 in an office. 

It's time to roll out the rejection, I thought to myself. But then the voice of my therapist floated around in my head, practice kindness, Natasha. Kindness is the way. So, instead of immediately rejecting the offering, I choose to listen. I am truly kind. 

The job didn't sound too bad, so I agreed to go for an interview in Tel Aviv the following day. It was a writing job for a high-tech content company, which sounded pretty fancy. But as I mentally prepared myself for the interview, I already knew I had the job. Not because I was qualified, but because I learned very well how to lay down the charm.

 

Up until my mid-twenties, I knew I didn't have the ass or tits to wow and distract people, so I focused on developing a personality, using charm, humor, and the occasional snort as a way to work my way up the ladder. Well, really any ladder. It fucking sucked. But look at me now, making an average income and still unable to keep house plants alive. 

 

I know you think I'm not being cocky when I say, I know I got the job. But I'm just following a pattern here. The only job I didn't get in my life the receptionist position at the dental office of a husband-and-wife dental team. We really had a great interview; they loved me, I loved them. I was 21-years-old, and the day after the interview, both husband and wife called me to apologize that they couldn't hire me and that though they wanted to, the single mom desperate for a job was the winner. How the fuck could I have beaten that?

I hadn't been in a job interview in over six years. Do I wear pants? Should I wear a bra? Wait, do I even have a bra? But since it was summer, I decided to maximize my potential with a red dress. I read enough women magazines that red was seductive and powerful. I knew high-tech was full of men, mostly computer programmers who have socialization issues with women. It was my time to shine.

Of course, even though I felt I could use this to my advantage, I was still self-conscious of my soft stomach. I threw on a loose-fitting and bulky jean jacket, making me look like I occasionally read philosophical literature in my spare time. I hopped on the train and headed to the interview. The building was stunning, made entirely of glass, and brightly lit. They even had a barista that made you free coffee in the lobby. And yet, everyone there dressed as though they were all waiting for the repairman to fix their laundry machine or they worked for Microsoft in customer service. 

Security escorted me to the right floor, where I was to enter room 12B. The room had a Playstation 4, and a green velvet couch. I was interviewed by two men who were in their mid-thirties. One had a beard, the other didn't, and both looked like they knew how to reassemble a computer. "We're making high-quality content. We don't want to be like Buzzfeed," they said. I nodded firmly in agreement because as an unemployed woman, I had to. They do have good quizzes though, I thought to myself. 

 

I continued with my usual interviewing routine. I threw in a couple of self-deprecating jokes, made some comments on how much communication and teamwork meant to me while fully knowing I'm unable to play any mildly competitive board game, and, of course, I talked about my love of o̶r̶p̶h̶a̶n̶s̶  writing. In the end, I threw my curly hair to one side to dry the sweat from my neck, shook their hands, and left. Twenty minutes later, I received an e-mail:

We were very impressed by your qualifications for the position and the interview, and we feel you'd be a great part of the team. You got the job. Congratulations! The contract is attached. The hours are Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 7 pm.

I fucking got it. But do I really want it? All these years being poor, living with my parents, struggling while working as a freelancer, was I just going to throw it all away for nothing? Sure, I didn't make much money, but I had freedom. You could use the money. But who the fuck works from 10 to 7?  I opened the contract, peeking at the salary. Fuck. That's not bad; and I wouldn't have to wake up early...oh, don't be a sell-out. This is how they lure you in, show you a couple of bucks. You weak hoe.

I came home and sat next to Nate. "So?" he asked curiously. "How'd it go?" 

"Well, it went good," I said flatly as I threw my purse onto a chair. "I got the job," I said, falling onto the couch with a pouty face. 

"Isn't that good? Or...you don't want the job?"

"I don't know what to do. I mean, having a well-paying job is pretty fucking nice. So is being considered a writer by someone else other than my mom, dad, and that one weird guy that keeps commenting on my posts. You know, I wouldn't be just as a freelancer - I'd be a writer. But fuck, I also just want to be free. I don't want them to take that away from me."

"Listen," he said softly, placing his hand on my leg. "I know the money is what's making you second-guess everything but, you decide what you really want to do. You can always try it out and see if it's something you want."

"You're right," I said. He really was right. I could dip my toes in the whole 9 to 5 thing, more like 10 to 7, and see how it goes. But I also know what happens. People take the "short-term" job, thinking it'll only last for a year or so before they move onto something greater. But then bam! They've been working at the same place for 15 years. I know what happens. Life happens. Being an adult happens. Bills happen.

I sat in front of my computer, staring at the e-mail. To become an adult or do I let everyone else do the work for me as I enjoy my freedom. The latter sounds pretty nice. But maybe this is what I needed to grow up. Or have my soul sucked out of me. Isn't that what happens when you become an adult?

Thank you for the e-mail. I accept the job offer. I'll see you on Monday.

I close my eyes and hit 'send.' I lean back at stare at the screen. Nate looks over from the couch, "you took the job?"

"Yeah, I'm officially an adult."

"How do you feel?"

"Old."

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