Nothing is ever simple. Just because you have a job
doesn't mean you don't want a nice husband. Once you have a great
husband, you still want a kid. Even though you have a wonderful
family, you don't check your ambition at the door.
I recently got a call about a new job. Not the mid-level
job I have now, but a REAL job, with lots of money, responsibility
and a long commute. The American Dream.
So what that it'd mean long hours? So what that after five
years of trying to conceive, we have an 8-month-old we adore who I
actually like to spend time with? None of that mattered-I finally
got the call for THE job and I was going to get it.
The interview went like this: I did as the HR person asked
and told her about my adult life, my education, my career history
and how I'd ended up where I am now. In my very interesting
narrative about my life, I mentioned that I had left the corporate
world for several years and consulted. One of the reasons I did
this resonated with this recruiter and she spent the next 15
minutes telling me about her life-in MY interview, for MY job,
which I was willing to consider even though I have a husband and a
child and an easy commute on the train to my current job. So due to
her desire to commiserate about our life experiences, we ran out of
When she asked if I had any questions for her, I didn't
think I should ask her why she took up nearly a quarter of our time
together talking about herself. I asked her if she had any critique
for me. She said she was concerned I wasn't corporate enough, since
I wasn't wearing a suit and was wearing open-toe shoes.
I blanched. I had been a VP in this industry eight years
ago, and I didn't wear my fancy suit because this was just the HR
screening; she wasn't a decision-maker. She then spent a full five
minutes praising my portfolio and regaling me with stories of all
the bad material she'd seen. As we walked out, I noticed she was
wearing casual pants, a sweater set and open-toe shoes.
When she called the next day, she opened with, "First, let
me say I enjoyed our girl bonding time." Was she kidding? That
bonding time was supposed to be my job interview. When she sent me
the rejection e-mail, she mentioned how much she enjoyed meeting
me. I'm sure she did.
At 45, it's a bit scary to realize I can't have it all, at
least not all at once. So when my boss leads our meetings and I'm
cc'd on e-mails as an FYI only, I look at photos of my son, think
about how nice it is to read the paper on the train on the way to
work and count my blessings that the biggest mistake I've made
lately is wearing open-toe shoes.
Susan Bisno Massel is a mom living in Chicago.
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