Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Last Weinerschnitzel - The Sequel

The holidays loomed large in my future; I didn't worry over much about my job prospects as I played with my family at Christmas. My regular supervisor had worked with the sup P, from the other department in the past. In fact most of my current management team came from that department. Jen sent P a friendly recommendation for me. He responded that he planned to schedule interviews the second week of January.

As I waited, I worked hard to keep disappointment from affecting my attitude at work, telling myself what I'd learned over and over: everything happens for a reason. I hadn't gotten what I wanted but the Universe has a funny way of knowing what you need and sending it your way regardless of what you want. If you can be patient, things usually turn out OK. If you can be patient.

Sure as sunrise and taxes, the invite arrived the afternoon of the 7Th, dated for Wednesday. I took it as a good sign that the supervisor seemed to be as punctual as I try to be. I made myself take ten breaths before sending an acceptance... and squealing quietly to myself. Behaving like a St Bernard puppy might be endearing in a friend but it's not terribly professional; I'm trying to learn restraint.

I met my prospective management team; strong handshakes and direct looks into my eyes. Kind eyes, but very direct. A tiny voice in my head said "Forget the coaching, the articles, the advice. Tell them what you feel, really. Tell them what you know, truly. Tell them what you'd do, honestly." It didn't sound like that tiny voice that told me there are no calories if you eat a brownie standing up. It sounded rational and wise.

I took a chance. Within the first minute, I'd broken the cardinal rule of job interviews: they knew I have children and they knew how many. By the time it was over, I'd told them about the biggest mistakes of my career with this company, then how I recovered from it and ensured it wouldn't happen again. By the time it was over they were saying "when you start" as opposed to "if you come to work for us."

One last leap, I asked, 'has this been a good interview?'

'This has been the most surprisingly, unconventional interview I've ever had,' said T(that's not a typo, the manager's name is T, the sup is P). 'It's also been one of the best. When you get back to your office, you need to find out the first possible day you can come to us.'

Jen called me at home the next morning: 'they're asking for your salary information and release date. This looks good, Christy.' I wasn't even scheduled to be in for two hours.

Dan and P were engaged in er... vigorous negotiation over that date. Dan has a ton of projects going right now, my timing was bad. Still, he acknowledged I only did what he told me to do. Would have been nice if I'd waited, but he didn't tell me to wait. I was flogging myself even so; I hate thinking I let anybody down. He assured me I hadn't at all. That was the whole problem.

The day wore on and so did the battle. Turns out that Dan and P are more alike than I thought. They went back and forth, P wanted sooner, D couldn't possibly think of it till later. I felt like the last Weinershnitzel at Oktoberfest; a nice change! Instead of left over and forgotten, I was a hot commodity, a valuable asset. Knowing a bit about the two personalities involved, I thought it might have been more appropriate if they'd have a light saber duel in the parking lot, but also thought it might not be a great career move to suggest it. Finally, they came to a compromise. Still felt like a Weinerschnitzel: but one cut in half and without an offer letter.

Friday, I was entirely useless and single minded like a kid on Christmas Eve: WHERE THE HECK IS MY OFFER LETTER? People don't argue over the release dates of employees they aren't going to hire!

The offer came in the late afternoon and a thousand years later. I did a happy dance and embarrassed Debbie. A fair offer, a small raise, a real position, not Interim. Jen and Debbie pulled me away from the desk before I could reply "Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes." They were right, I needed to take a few minutes and calm down so I didn't gush. I called Cowboy and let him know it was safe to celebrate. I secluded myself in a conference room and celebrated myself.

Ten minutes later and much more appropriate I sent something bland, professional, upbeat but still affirmative. A round of congratulations from Dan, Jen, Debbie and others, then discussion of who could be brought in to take my place until the position is phased out.

Dan doesn't doesn't offer false praise and doesn't compliment lightly. When he remarks "oh, and good job!" upon receipt of a completed project, that is high praise indeed. As life returned to normal and I started my usual Friday evening duties, I asked, as I always ask him when I leave his desk: is there anything else I can do for you?

Yes. You can build a cloning machine and make a copy of yourself. Give the copy to them and then stay here so I can have the original.

Weinerschnitzels don't cry, but this one almost did.


Mel said...

You are a great story teller. I will miss you being here for entirely selfish reasons, but I am so happy for you!

Chris said...

Congratulations on the position! And to be fought over? An bonus that is often times better than a pay increase.

And I couldn't agree more with Mel - a great story VERY well told!

MamaChristy said...

Thank you both! Mel, I'm gonna miss you all but two people who live w/in ten miles of each other and free unlimited plans on our cells have zero excuse for losing contact.

Chris, it's been one of the best weeks ever. My ego has been very well fed!