Phew. That’s a relief. After months I can finally let that big grey beast shamble into the light and reveal that what I have not been mentioning since September is that I have been inching towards getting another job. I interviewed in October, in November and then in January. It’s been a protracted process but this week I accepted the offer and I start on April 1. Huzzah!
What this means is that I am leaving the unstable, shifting world of a small publishing company whose name you wouldn’t recognise to go and work for a monolith of publishing with a name you certainly would know. This allows for something of an exhalation of breath, because my present company recently changed hands in a transaction in which it fulfilled the role of the free flip-flops you get when you pay for a ‘special’ spa pedicure. Indicative of present company’s importance to new faceless corporate overlords is the fact that our HR representatives were summarily fired and replaced with someone who might drop by every now and again if the weather is ok… Oh, and did I mention that my husband also works for the free flip-flops?
So, that sums up reason # 1. Fortunately, beyond being a bid for continued health insurance and some quasi-guaranteed income for us, I actually want this job. I’m more than ready for something new, somewhere new. And frankly, it was easily won. This is heartening to me, because it feels like proof I can cut it in the US on my own terms.
Changes ahead, then, and I love change. Time was that roughly every three years I would take all the components of my life (job, city, boyfriend), throw them up in the air and let the pieces fall where they would. The status quo is not for me, I have far too low a boredom threshold. Now, facing a new two hour commute that will require me to be on a train into Manhattan at a time in the morning when I’m usually sipping coffee in bed and listening to my husband sing in the shower, I am just plain thrilled. Think of all that reading time, or listening time, or quiet contemplation time. There is no downside to it that I can see that can’t be overcome with a few hundred pages and a mini bottle of Purell.
Then, I will be working in a big city again, which I haven’t done for, oh my god, more than 10 years. Not only that, but it’s Manhattan. Since part of me is still a scruffy schoolgirl from a Birmingham council estate, that seems impossibly glamorous. My initial reaction is, Must Try Harder with clothes, and probably Should Wear (Even) More Black. When I lived in London, absolutely everyone was better dressed than I was and looked as though they were on their way to some ineffably cool place that I would never find but where they would fit right in. This time round I’m at least going to fake it.
As for the job itself, there will be the inevitable learning curve, those three hectic months where you have to figure out everything from where the paperclips are stored to what you are really supposed to be doing. It’s like a great, big, knot that has to be teased out and is composed of smaller knots that also have to be teased out. I am almost salivating at the thought.
You may notice that I’m not big on looking back. This habit of mind, I think, is what allowed me to move to the US with minimal disruption. I make decisions and then carry them through, and I am rarely plagued by ‘what if’s’ or ‘might have beens’. If I come to where the path in the woods splits, I’ll take one direction and not waste my time wondering if the other route was prettier. In general, everything works out for the best, even if not quite as anticipated. I feel good about the decision to accept this job, so now I’m looking ahead.
Still, it is not an unmixed blessing. I will miss my department, who, individually and collectively, completely rock. They are the benchmark. Above all, I will miss my inimitable manager, aka Zoesmom, who effortlessly combines the roles of friend, mentor and professional role model. It is said that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers; absolutely the reverse is true for me. I would take her with me if I could. I will not say that I hope we stay in touch, because I know we will. But there, you see, is the cloud around the silver lining. To take a step forward, I have to leave something behind.