Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bittersweet

Last night, hearing that I was getting the job, I was ecstatic. I called my best friends, my parents, and my in-laws to tell them the happy news. And my dear sweet brother-in-law drove over, and bought a small cake from the grocery store and, in purple icing, wrote "JOB CAKE" on it for me. I was over the moon.

Today, it turns out that Nate, who was up for a planning job at a federal agency, won't be hired--at least not immediately. It had nothing to do with him, it has to do with reorganization in the agency, and the person who wants to hire him very much will try again in March.

I had so much wanted this job for him. Even more than I wanted a job for me. Nate is the person who means most to me in the world, and his dreams are my dreams. To see him come so close and then be stymied is heartbreaking. Yes, yes, there will be another attempt in March, but really, I don't trust them not to decide that they don't need the post after all.

When Nate and I graduated from college, we hit a terrible job market. We desperately looked for work, he with an eye towards building a career, me with the idea that I must get out of my parents' house at any cost or I would kill someone. (I care about my parents, but I simply cannot live under the same roof.) I applied for any job that would pay enough for me to move to Boston, my own Mecca. Switchboard operator at Eaton Vance, sales at Boston Interiors, development assistant at Brandeis (long before I knew what Development was). And in this way I landed at a university with the best boss and mentor I could have wished for. He pushed me to go to graduate school, and nursed me through my search for a career. And when I got that job, when Nate met me to pick me up from the interview, he said something that I wish I could erase from my memory: "Go on, say it. You got a job, and I'm just a loser." He rambled for several minutes about how could I possibly have gotten a job first? I had no connections in town, no experience, etc. I wanted to cry. Two minutes before I had been thrilled, here was a job for me, with a wonderful office, and a salary that would take me away from my parents' house. And now I was crushed.

And every time I have gotten a job, and my salary has gotten bigger, that memory flashes through my mind. I know he didn't mean to hurt my feelings, and when I got my second job, he brought me flowers, and for my third job he took me out. And he's always apologized for the outburst. But it still troubles me. I want the best for him. I want him to know that joy of finding a job that allows him to pursue his passions.

The worst part is that opportunities for him don't come along often. Planning is a very narrow field, and he's spent the past five years trying to break in. I have very flexible skills, and can apply for a lot of different jobs; for him, there aren't many that he can try for.

And so, I will give him my shoulder to lean on, to cry on if he needs to. I will tell him how much faith I have in him. I will help him rebuild his hope, and keep my ears open for any opportunity that might pass by. And I'll continue to think that the people who haven't hired him are idiots, because I know he'd be a damn good planner, and that any city he would work on would become a better place.

3 responses:

Milena said...

Kate - Congrats on your job, that's exciting!

Give yourself credit and enjoy your victory, you have worked hard! I know, I read your blog. :)

It sounds like you and Nate have a great marriage and support system, which is more profound than any transient disappointments when viewed in relation to a lifetime.

My husband's field poses major restrictions on our choices too, so I know how frustrating that can be. But it sounds like Nate is well-positioned for future opportunities. Best to you both!

Tiffany said...

Yes, congrats on the job. I know it's tough to be in the situation where you are making more money or have some sort of a path and the "he" doesn't, so I'm really feeling you in this post. It's such a blessing though to have the sort of relationship that can handle those things though, isn't it.

Best wishes for the 22nd!

WorkingDefinition said...

Send Nate to Lewiston, ME - I tell you, we could use some intelligent design here...

~Matt


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