Yesterday, I got a recruitment email from one of those big-name Silicon Valley companies, saying that they think I’d be a good match for one of their positions open out in California.
The moment I got that email, my heart just…sunk.
And I was kind of confused about that.
See, this is one of those big companies… BIG. Like, “changed the way we connect with each other and find information” big. Like, the name of the company has become a verb, big. And this is the second time I’ve received a recruitment email from them. The first time was when I was living out in Denver, still with my ex-husband (though our marriage was very clearly on the rocks at that point) and I was kind of hating the brand-new job I was working – the one that would lay me off after only two months of employment, anyway.
So, the last time I got an email from this company, I was fucking excited. I was shocked. What could they have possibly seen on my LinkedIn profile that made me look like an even semi-qualified candidate? Was I qualified? Whatever, they contacted me! There must be something to this!
When I talked to my ex-husband about it, he almost seemed excited by the prospect of me moving several states away for a job with this company. He said I should go, and he would follow. This same husband ended up leaving me anyway, not long after I was laid off from my other job. Would he really have followed me? Something in my gut says no.
Anyway, when they asked for a phone interview that first time, my fingers were shaking so badly from excitement that I could barely type a response. I had that phone interview – and a video interview a week after that – and I felt good. Confident, actually. I thought maybe I had a chance. Maybe they’d invite me to fly out to California for a more formal meeting. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Well, they didn’t. I never made the cut. They told me they would keep my record on file and contact me in the future if I appeared to be a good fit for another position. I was disappointed, but not at all surprised. Through all my excitement, I realized almost right away that my chances were slim, even though they were the ones to contact me. So it was a little sad, but I carried on with my life as I normally would have. Of course, it’s probably best that nothing came of it – I would have probably gone crazy trying to deal with living in a new city on my own, working a high-pressure job, while trying to manage a divorce and everything that comes with it at the same time.
So, that was that. I haven’t really thought of it since…until yesterday.
I was confused for a second when I saw the email come through – it was sent to the email address I used while I was married (which is now almost completely retired), from someone I had no previous contact with, with a fairly boilerplate subject line. And then it registered.
Like I said, my heart sunk a little. And I was confused about feeling that way. Because this is BigCompany, you know?! It’s the real deal. Not everybody gets contacted by a BigCompany recruiter. I’d be silly not to respond.
I told my boyfriend about the email and he seemed to think it was pretty cool. I mean, who wouldn’t? My apprehension was hard to explain though. Even now, I’m a still confused about it. But I think i’ve got some sort of idea.
For one, I’m back in the same boat of being anxious even though I know my chances are slim. There’s really no way I can walk into this situation assuming that I’ve got this one in the bag. But the fact that a door has been opened for me – even just the tiniest sliver – makes it feel very real.
In the rare chance that I am somehow a viable candidate for the job, the prospect of moving back across the country terrifies me. It feels like everything I’ve been looking for and everything I’m trying to avoid, all wrapped up in a neat little box, with a BigCompany-colored bow on top.
It feels like a threat to what I’ve been working toward (stability, consistency, home), yet the perfect chance to reinvent myself yet again, which is something I always secretly want. It’s the idea of a new life. Me: finally stable enough to live independently, out in California at a Big Girl Job with my Big Girl Pants on, making Big Girl Money, living the Big Girl Life.
But then, there’s also the thought of what I’d be leaving behind: my family, the city I love, a boyfriend who I’m finally starting to feel more secure with and emotionally connected to, a job at a smaller company with flexibility and visibility and great benefits, and the chance to pursue my Master’s degree because I’m not overloaded with work stress or anything of the sort. In the rare chance that this BigCompany job is offered, accepting the position would mean leaving that all behind.
And I dunno. I just can’t decide if it’d be worth it to me.
Staying here in my city would mean more of the same thing that I’ve been doing for months now. Still working, still going to school, still living at home. Traveling here and there. Pushing through the hard work to get where I’m eventually headed, sooner rather than later: a degree in Mental Health Counseling & a license to practice. It would mean more cold Midwestern winters and sweltering summers, more suburban life, more normalcy.
Leaving would mean moving out west to have a shiny new adventure, expanding past my horizons of comfort and potentially sacrificing some of the things I’ve been working toward. A job with BigCompany would mean putting my Master’s degree on hold. It would mean either trying to make a long-distance relationship work, or making the choice to end it and move on. It would mean having to start from scratch again when it comes to building community. It would mean total freedom.
I think one of the scariest parts of it is that I could move out there and start drinking again, and really, nobody in my real life would be the wiser. Along with reinventing myself, I could go out somewhere where literally nobody knows me, and add the “drinking” part of myself back into my new identity. It’s that existential angst you feel when you are standing on the edge of a cliff: you could easily fall off, yes, but even scarier is the fact that there’s no one keeping you from just throwing yourself over the edge.
I don’t really believe that I’d start drinking again if I moved across the country, but I have to remain vigilant enough to know that it’s a possibility. These alluring ideas of reinvention and creating new identities are sexy and fun, but they come with very real consequences if you take it too far.
I don’t ever want to lose sight of that.
Either way you cut it, getting an email like that is enough to start the wheels spinning. It’s hard to stay in the present moment and accept these things as they come. Though perhaps, in some small way, I can be thankful that I received this email while sober; had I still been drinking, I might’ve just said “fuck it” and whisked myself away out west without a second thought, given the opportunity. So there’s that.
Sigh. Such is life. And these problems are, undoubtedly, very good problems to have. I’m really fortunate that these problems are about having more and more options, rather than fewer. There’s no doubt about that. All I can do is take it one day at a time.