Today I went to yoga class for the first time in two weeks. I think that is the longest I have gone without practicing yoga in the last two years. I purposely went back to the same class at the same studio where I set my intention to find a job with a decent salary and benefits. Only this time I had a much different intention. To clear out my karma.
The last two weeks have been pretty intense. Going through the interview process and starting to contemplate whether I was ready to go back to a full time office-based job was completely overwhelming. Not to mention the added stress of trying to figure out how I was going to write in a shared cube with two other people.
There are probably a lot of people out there who could work anywhere. But I am not one of them. I need a little bit of personal space. I don't want to eat my lunch in front of people - or watch them eat their lunch. I prefer not to have someone looking over my shoulder as I type. Or counting the number of times I get up to take a walk or pick up my phone to text Mark Johnson. And sometimes I need to stop typing, close my eyes and just breathe.
Of course I think all employees deserve these things, not just me. But I don't have the opportunity to advocate for private cubes, natural light or fresh air for all employees - although sometimes I wonder if I should be. Right now, the only person I can advocate for is myself.
On Tuesday morning I waited for the HR Recruiter to call and offer me the job. I waited until about 11:30 AM when I had to leave for my shift at Anthropologie. Then I gave in and called her myself. When she picked up the phone and I told her my name she asked "So, what did you decide?" As if she had already made me the offer. I guess she talks to so many people in a day that she forgot where we were in the process.
When I reminded her that she hadn't actually offered me the job yet, she apologized and asked if I had left her a message previously. I explained that I left her a message last night around 5:30 PM and she responded "Oh, well I haven't gotten that far back in my voicemails yet." In that moment, I couldn't have felt more like just a number to her.
Then she went through the offer mater-of-factly. I told her my concerns about the cube shelf and she told me I was being closed-minded and needed to reconsider. She said that she works in a cube now and she barely notices the noise anymore. Of course, she is not in a shared cube. And she is basically on the phone all day anyway.
I didn't want to seem rude and turn her down on the spot, so I told her I would think about it and call back the next day. Within a few minutes, the Hiring Manager also called me to say that she heard I might not accept the offer. She told me that someone was leaving and offered me an end spot instead of the middle spot in the three-person shelf cube. She knew it wasn't much, but it was the best she could do.
I have spent so much of my life settling for whatever I could get. And being afraid to ask for what I really needed. Whether it was a job, a boyfriend, or just accepting the way other people treated me as 'the best they could do' at the time. Even now, I was flattered that the Hiring Manager wanted me. And I felt like maybe I should change my mind and accept the offer just because she tried.
When I told Mark Johnson what happened, he had a slightly different reaction. The HR Recruiter was rude (which she was) and the Hiring Manager wasn't really offering much of anything (which is also true). From everything I had told him about the interview and the work environment, no one seemed to be very happy at their job. And if this is how they are treating me when they are courting me for a job, he wondered how much worse it might get if I actually worked there.
After two weeks of inner turmoil over what I should do, versus what I really wanted to do, I finally made my decision. I ended up calling back the HR Recruiter and turning down the job. And as soon as I did it, I felt an immediate sense of relief. Everything in my mind and body quieted down because I was at completely at peace with my decision.
It's funny because I knew in the first few moments after the interview that I didn't want to take that job, but then I slowly started talking myself into it. It took my mind two weeks to catch up with what my heart knew all along. This isn't about what most people can handle, or what I could or should learn to live with. It is about what I want and need in my life.
I almost forgot that I am on a spiritual journey to change my life and find my true calling. When things don't immediately fall into place, it is easy to go back to what is familiar. At first, I said I wanted to get out of the corporate life altogether. Then, I told myself I could apply for some standard 40-hour per week jobs, but I wouldn't apply for any health care jobs. Soon after that, I found myself applying for things that were pretty similar to what I did before.
And with this job offer, I almost jumped right back into the healthcare world and into my old pattern of settling for a job that doesn't make me happy. When I made a conscious choice not to settle in my romantic relationships, I finally found a person who exceeds my expectations, instead of barely meeting them. Eventually I will find the same thing in my working life.
In my yoga class today, I renewed my intention to find my true calling, whatever it may be. And I put my trust back in the infinite organizing power of the universe. In the meantime, Mark Johnson and I are taking a little vacation. And when we get back, I will begin again.