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.

Year’s End, Part 1

When I’m thinking about something, it’s hard to think about other things. So, for example, I haven’t been able to think of other things–blog things–over the past month. Because I was thinking of something. Or, somethings, to be more specific.

A month ago, my roommate tells me she’ll be leaving at the end of December. So I’m left with a choice: I can either scramble to find another roommate (who I assumed won’t like me), so I can stay at this place I can’t really afford, so I can continue to work at a job I don’t really enjoy, so I can remain in a city where I have approximately zero friends, scraping by a windowless and meager existence, or I can… not do that.

I decide to not do that.

My friends in LA–probably tired of just hearing me complain about my life (and presumably wanting to watch me complain about it in person)–have been trying to get me to move down there for a while. So I decide I will. No job, no home. I’ll stay with them and my last paycheck and returned security deposit can sustain me for a month or two, until I hopefully find a job. At least this way I’ll be with some friends. And at this point I decide I should let them know about this. So I tell my friends in LA and they say it’s great: I can stay with them as long as I need, etc.

The next day I ask our HR guy about what will happen with my paid time off, and that sort of thing, if I quit at the end of the month. Of course he wants to know why, so I tell him I don’t feel like I was on the right track, to editing or writing or whatever–I don’t go into my other problems. He asks if there was anywhere in the company that I think would be a good fit, just so I could be sure to explore my options. So I mention the website part of the business, which they’ve been talking about having me involved in for months, but nothing came of it. So the HR guy says, why don’t I meet with them to talk about it? So I say OK, and he sets up a meeting for the following Monday.

I ask my landlord if I can have until that Monday (the 3rd) to give my 30 days notice and he says OK. (Actually, he says no, but then he says he misunderstood my email, so OK.) Over the weekend I think about the possibilities and, coincidentally, make a new friend.

I decide, in order for me to stay, they’d have to offer me a super great job and enough money to get my own place here. And I don’t think that’s going to happen. Although, you have to keep in mind that up till now I’ve been making what, in SF, practically amounts to minimum wage for anywhere else. So it’s not like I’m looking for a ridiculous increase.

I’m stressed out, and I can feel myself starting to get sick. I give my 30 days notice, because even if I do stay in SF, I’ll be moving.

On Monday I have the meeting and they basically offer me the job, no questions asked. A content editor position, some writing, gathering articles, giving a voice to the site. They say it’s OK if I start off slowly, since I haven’t had a lot of experience with this type of thing directly. It’s basically the perfect opportunity. I say I’ll think about it.

Now I’m really confused. I think about it as I walk the few blocks back to my office. This would be a great opportunity to learn and develop some great skills. This is opposed to moving to LA and likely finding some crappier job for less pay, at least for a while. I guess I’d like to stay here, if they pay me enough.

But… I didn’t ask about the money.

I don’t know why I didn’t. It all happened so fast, and I’ve never been in a position like this before; I didn’t know what to do. When I get back, I send off an email thanking them, and–oh, by the way–Conlan gots ta git paid, son. I don’t hear back immediately.

The next day I’m sick. This happens all the time. I get stressed out and my immune system shuts off. I call in sick, sleep till 6pm, and am still sick the next day. I send another email to the hiring people saying, basically, I’ll decide when I know the salary.

I’m still sick the next day. I think I’m getting better, but I still generally feel like shit. Just a general achy, feverish, snot-faced good time. This is also bad because I’ll need all the money I can get in my last paycheck, whatever happens.

I still haven’t heard anything by the end of the week, when I finally go to the doctor and get some drugs for my sinus infection. Next week?

The clock–apparently unaware of the cliché–goes on ticking.