Year’s End, Part 2

It’s Monday, the 10th, and I have effectively two weeks before my world crumbles around me. Apparently I’m not the only one for whom this is happening fast. Turns out, no one actually knows what the salary will be for the position, because the position hasn’t been created or approved yet. And of course the executives who hammer out such things are out of the office for the week.

The week drags on, until Friday, when its suggested that I may have an answer the next Monday, the 17th. I resolve that after all this waiting, I can’t possible not wait longer, so Monday it is. The problem is, if I do leave, the following Friday will be my last day, since the next week will be Christmas and I’ll be out of town. So I remind my current managers of this. They mention that they’re going to be making my position a real full-time deal, with a salary, and whatever else goes with that. I don’t care.

I leave work for another agonizing weekend. Sunday night, I find a listing on Craigslist for a little studio in the Haight and, on a whim, I set up a viewing for the next night. Just in case.

Monday comes around, as it tends to, and I’m back at work. Before lunch, the HR guy lets me know that the powers that be have reached a decision; we’ll meet at 4pm to discuss it. Great. So I spend the next few hours with my iPod, compiling a suitable on-the-go playlist of songs for the inevitable heartbreak to occur at four.

I’d only had a sliver of hope that the offer would be enough to keep me here, but at the same time, I didn’t think it was too far-fetched. I estimated that I’d only need to make an average of two dollars more per hour. As it turns out, my cynical view of hope is again completely justified.

The offer: A net raise of… negative dollars. A decrease in pay. In a twisted way, I would be paying them to let me stay here and have this new job.

My heart feels like it’s in my throat. I’ve always prided myself on expecting the worst; I scold myself for not imagining this.

… No thanks.

I’m feeling defeated as I walk back to my desk. I guess I’m leaving. I don’t want to leave. I talk to my manager. I ask about what would happen if I stayed. He says I’d get a big raise.

I sell out. I decide to stay.

I feel a little light-headed, rushed, but good. I’m staying.

Now I have less than a week to find a place to live. I leave work and head out to the apartment I’m going to look at. It’s under a Victorian house: a bedroom, kitchen, and a bathroom. It’s cool. It comes fully furnished (even with dishes and pots and pans), all utilities included. I tell the lady I’m interested, leave my information, but you know in SF it’s never as easy as that.

The next day, I see the same ad reposted. (I hate it when they do that.) I email again to say thanks for her consideration. Then she sends me a rental application, which I fill out and promptly return. On Wednesday the ad for the place is posted again, this time with info for an open house that night. (I’m getting mixed signals.)

I’m not finding other suitable places on Craigslist, and time is getting short. I expect I’ll have to spend at least a week or two in one of those repulsive residential hotels–just like old times–when I return for the new year.

At work on Thursday, I email one last time, to get a final answer on this place. To my surprise, she emails me in the afternoon and says my boss gave me an excellent recommendation, and I can come over that night to sign the lease.

This is weird.

So after work I ride the bus a few extra stops down Haight to this place, sign the papers, and write a check. I tell her I’ll move in this weekend. She says welcome. And I suddenly have a decent job and my own place to live in San Francisco.

Merry Christmas.