Long story short, I didn’t get the job, and I'm okay with it.
Here’s the long version. I really don’t expect anyone to actually read this but I want to remember it.
Let’s start at the beginning of the school year. Actually we need to start before that.
When I quit Old Navy over three years ago it was the most wonderful time of my life. Paul was pretty happy too. I don’t think either one of us ever wanted me to work again, at least not for a long time.
I had worked on and off since the kids were born. I was with Old Navy for five years. On average I worked three nights a week, some weekends and holidays. (Ah the joys of retail.)
On the nights that I had to go into work Paul would get home, I would throw dinner on the table the minute he walked in the door and I would have to eat as fast as I could. I was usually out the door 15-30 minutes after he got home. He would have to help the kids with homework, get them bathed and into bed all by himself. I would get home, depending on the time of year, between 10:30 and midnight. Keep in mind that on the nights I didn’t work Paul would be attending classes at BYU. It was really hard on us and hard on the kids. They didn’t get to see us together hardly at all. Needless to say it was not fun and it wasn’t good for our marriage.
When I got to stop working I was thrilled, beyond thrilled. I have been thankful every single day that I no longer had to work. I think that’s why Paul was shocked when I started talking about getting a job this year when the kids went back to school.
I know I have said this over and over and over again but I really want a different house. Like really. Bad enough that I was willing to go back to work so I could squirrel away every penny and hopefully save up enough for a down payment on a house. Thanks to a crappy real estate market we don’t have any equity in our home. We might even need money to pay the difference from what we owe to what we could sell for. Oh that makes me so mad. I can’t tell you how ticked we are that we bought a/this house but that’s a whole other story.
Anyway a few possible work options came and went but I didn’t try very hard to make them happen and Paul wasn’t really on board. At the beginning of the New Year I mentioned again that I was still thinking about working again. He looked a little panicked but I think he was warming to the idea. He actually really wants a new house too.
Paul and I were really trying to decide what I should do. Should I start actively trying to find work? We just weren’t sure we were ready to take that step. Paul gave me a blessing and in the blessing he said something along the lines of “An opportunity that you are not yet aware of will arise and you will be able to use your creativity to earn extra money for your family.” At that point we decided that we would just pressed forward and kept our ears open for new and unique opportunities.
A few weeks later I got a call from my friend/acquaintance Kristy. I have never done anything social with Kristy but I feel like she is an amazing friend and that somehow we are bonded. She is someone that I think the world of. It’s hard to explain our relationship. She is (well, was, but we’ll get to that later) the creative manager at Close to my Heart. She told me that she had some artist positions open and that she wanted me to apply. I was so flattered! She was hoping to have someone in position by the week of Valentine’s Day.
She told me that I could set the hours I would be at work to fit with my schedule (She said some weeks there wouldn’t be hours but most weeks she would need me a maximum of 20 hours a week) and that I could leave if needed for the kids. I just needed to make sure I got my work done. She also said I would be able to take vacation time pretty easily. When I questioned my ability to be an artist she said she wouldn’t let me fail. She said she was a really laid back boss and that really it was the perfect job.
While she was talking to me I “felt” like it was an answer to our prayers. Even though she had a lot of pull in who got picked she needed me to submit a resume, artwork and interview. (In other words if she wanted me she could get me but I had to go through the proper channels)
The reality of “putting myself out there”, the idea of being creative on demand and thinking about being judged on my creativity was really hard on me. This made me start to feel really anxious. It almost sent me into a panic attack. It was sort-of funny. Paul kept asking me "what's the worse thing that can happen?" and I would always respond, "they could offer me the job."
Paul was my hero. He helped me get my creative resume all worked up and kept telling me not to worry. He reminded me that we didn’t need this job and no matter what happened we would be okay.
I submitted the resume and was told it looked good. I turned in my artwork to positive reviews. The process seemed like it was going well, very slowly, but well. I got a call to come in for an interview. This was after Valentine’s Day so obviously we were behind schedule.
The interview went well. The main lady I interviewed with me was very warm and kind. She felt like an instant friend. She and Kristy were warm, friendly and complimentary. That was really nice and helped put me at ease. It was a good experience but the more I heard about the details of the job the more I started to have my concerns. I was worried about the hours (they wanted me there M-F) and the pay. I still wanted to see where it would go. They told me that I would hear one way or the other by early the next week. I finally got a call from HR. It was later than expected and it wasn’t an offer. They wanted me to come in for a second interview. Hmmm. What was this about?
I went in the next morning and met with Carly for my second interview. She told me that I was at the top of the list after the first rounds of interviews. She also informed me that in the past week the whole department had been restructured and that Kristy was no longer over where I would be working, that she was. It was hard to not be shocked but I think I hid it. However in my mind I had the though but Kristy is my friend. I want to work for her.
Carly was calling everyone in to meet them so that she could pick her team. She also told me that she wanted me to be there at least 30 hours a week. I didn’t do a good job hiding my shock this time. I told her that 20 hours was my absolute max and even that could be challenging with summer coming up.
She isn’t a mom so she doesn’t understand the demands that children bring. She is in a new position and eager to do a good job while running a tight ship. She wanted/needed something very different than what Kristy had wanted and offered me. I understood exactly where she was coming from but I wasn’t excited.
I left feeling okay about how things went but I was also worried about the impression I had made, my reaction to the hours and confused about what I wanted.
Part of me really wanted to have the title of artist, the opportunity to make a little bit of extra money to stash away and to have a job doing something that I truly enjoy. I also felt like I was partially obligated to take the job because I felt like it was something I had prayed for and that it was a blessing that was being offered. How can you say no to that?
However the other part of me (the bigger part) didn’t want to work out of the home five days a week when I didn’t have to. I didn’t want to not be available for the kids if they needed me. I didn’t want to be mentally exhausted at the end of the day. I didn’t want to not be able to exercise with my neighbor in the morning. I didn’t want to wonder when the laundry would get done or the grocery shopping. Truthfully I was also sad at the thought of giving up my lunches with Paul and my girlfriends.
I know I sound terribly spoiled but without those things I worry about my anxiety coming back. If I don’t have “down days” to help me stay in a healthy state of mind things can get ugly. These last few weeks I’ve really been feeling the nerves. It’s been hard on me. When I’m anxious I totally withdraw and behave differently. It’s hard on friends, my family and me.
My interview had been on Wednesday and I was told I would hear one way or the other the following week. Over the rest of that week and the weekend I had decided that if an offer was made I would see exactly what was on the table and I would ask them for a day to think about it but I was pretty convinced that I would take the position. Honestly though, I wasn’t excited about.
This past week was the week I was supposed to get the call. Each and every day it seemed a little something would come up and I would think I couldn’t do this if I was working. As each day ended without a call from HR I would take a deep sigh of relief. I told Paul that I didn’t even know if I wanted the job anymore. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “how bad do I really want a new house? Bad enough to give up all of my freedom?” Right now I can’t answer that and obviously I don’t have to.
Kristy approached me yesterday at church and after apologizing informed that Carly had hired two people. Obviously I wasn’t one of them. She was apologetic but she didn’t need to be. It wasn’t her choice anymore. The company may still be looking for one more person but that’s way up in the air. For now I don’t think I have to worry about a call coming in.
It’s a relief but I’ll be honest, a tiny part of me was hurt. I would have preferred it if they had made me an offer and I got to make the decision! My ego may have been slightly bruised that an offer never came. I don’t like that I wasn’t chosen. I will never know if it is because I wasn’t good enough or if it was because I didn’t want to commit to 30 plus hours a week. Kristy told me a few things that make me think it may have been about the hours but I don't know for sure I didn't think to ask at the time. Now I don't know if I even really want to know!
This experience has given me a chance to reflect on a lot. It has made me stop, think and prioritize. My family is always going to be my number one priority. I want to be here for them no matter what. Being the best wife and mother is by far more important than getting a new house.
I am thankful for this whole experience. I am thankful that Kristy made me feel wanted and talented even if nothing came from it. I am thankful that I have the choice and that I can be a stay at home mom. I am thankful that Paul supports me no matter what. I am thankful that this chapter is closed and behind us for now. Now I can get back to feeling normal and unburdened again. Someday I will go back to work, but this is not that day and I'm okay with it.