Since April I have been on nine interviews. Nine times I've tried to sell my skill set with a wink and a smile and a toss of big words like accounting software, spreadsheets and aging reports......and yet I have not found the right fit.
Last week there was a job for the taking. Good salary with awesome benefits and a decent amount of time off and I walked away. Beggars can't be choosers and I seem awfully choosy these days. Coming off a bad breakup from the last place, I know that I am searching every closet and file cabinet to find the crazy that's been tucked away and hidden from company. I also know that being on a hair trigger for office dysfunction is not healthy. I am ever-so-slowly learning to filter that out and rely on my gut, but so far my gut is saying "run" or "you don't really want to do this all day, do you?"
In my excitement over all that this last job offered I gushed to Mark about the perks and benefits. "A big office, Mark," I said. "all my own. There was even a tree right outside the window with birds. Birds, Mark!!! I could look at the birds while I worked!" I noticed this nature moment when the MOUNDS of paper the current office holder was surrounded by started making me all twitchy and uptight and I stared out the window in self-defense.
On reflection there were other negatives.
#1. It was farther from the house than I wanted to commute and the commute would be in the kind of traffic that usually makes the early morning news.
#2. It was a small staff. Four people total. They ate lunch together every day. They worked together and they ate lunch together. Every day.
#3. The office was deep in suburbia which meant that it was in a nondescript building in a nondescript area surrounded by nondescript strip malls.
#4. There was no back room.
I got used to a back room from my retail days. The place you could go to get away for five minutes. The sanctuary (albeit as hot a mess as any basement) where you could regroup and breathe when the latest edict came down from on high. Where your favorite coworker asks you to show her where the large gift boxes are so she can really say, "Can you believe that schedule? Do they think I'm some kind of mule or what? Every Saturday this month. What's that about?"
Many a time I have been the ultimate back room girlfriend and confidant. I'd gladly meet any coworker in the back and nod and listen in sympathy to the issue of the day. I'd bitch about my own hours and willingly throw gasoline on theirs. If asked to take up the cause I'd say, "Well, yeah, if you bring it up I'll back you," because I didn't need so much to carry the torch as I needed to have a place to complain about the torch.
The back room is an essential part of every work place. It cannot be replaced by emails, phone calls or texts.....for there is no trail to uncover to what is said in the back room.
When I told Mark I was going to walk away from this prospect he shook his head.
"I have to work in a bigger pool than that and I cannot spend every minute of the day with coworkers and then eat lunch with them on top of that. I have to have a break. At least lunch alone to read the news or to shop Loft's Friends and Family online sale to buy my way out of the misery of working in a job I shouldn't be doing."
I'm not sure he understood my reasoning. I'm not sure I even do.
All I could think of at the time, though, was what if I got into a relationship with these people and all three of them thought Donald Trump would make a great president? Without a back room to scurry off to my only option would be to crawl out the window of that paper-piled office and tell the birds to scoot over so I could join them out on a limb.