Lion Heart - Epilogue
“You silly cow! What have you done?!”
If I can’t confess the truth to you, to whom can I? Despite my experience, despite my accomplishments, I still had doubts as to whether or not I did the right thing when I declined a financial firm’s recent…I’ll be generous and call it an “offer.” To anyone on the outside looking in, I may have appeared calm and secure in my decision, but at home…let’s just say I lost five pounds (5 lbs., or nearly half a stone) in a week. I can now say from personal experience that this kind of rapid weightless may sound appealing, but it is actually rather frightening.
Suddenly the ‘Lion Heart’ was reverting into a ‘Cowardly Lion.’ Was this my best chance of finally getting my bearings in Seattle?
“You could’ve had the role on your résumé, and then moved on to greener pastures. Maybe they really would have come up once they knew you could deliver. This was everything you’ve wanted for so long, and you earned the opportunity totally on your own. Yes, the base salary was absurdly low but…” Milquetoast Hesper, said.
“But what?!” snapped Business Hesper, “but you would have to spend over half of your paycheck just to afford the rent of a decent studio in a decent part of the city? Does that sound like good business sense to you?” she asked, not waiting for a reply.
“Boo-hoo! Those finance boys were mean to you. What are you going to do? Cry?! Aw, poor little Hesper. Did it hurt your feelings when they wanted you to deliver big results on a pittance? Did it hurt being devalued? Good! Now b*tch up, and figure out how to make something of yourself within the confines of this city, or move!” Business Hesper said.
“You have got to let this go…but, I understand Honey; this was your golden parachute,” my mother said over the telephone. She was correct, she is always correct. I tried to hide it, but I had staked a lot of my self-worth and my future on this job offer—more than I care to admit.
Unfortunately, this parachute failed to open; I pulled the ripcord on my old life, only to careen into an uncertain future, with nothing but grit and skill to catch me. There is no role in finance to facilitate a soft landing. That low offer was going to be a setback in my earnings, which would have made for a rough landing, but not necessarily a treacherous one. Now, I had to ask myself, “Can I really survive this fall?”
The answer came in the midst of twilight: You don’t have a choice.
When in doubt (and I most certainly was in doubt), stand by your research:
- 12 - A brief list of contacts in my rolodex whom I knew I could count on to say, “Yes!” to being part of the webcast series I was set to work on. Depending on how we divided this list, this could have been one (1) contact from my personal network for 12 months, or two (2) contacts from my person network for 6 months.
- 10 - The number of pages I had written for a preliminary report before I had to stop working on it; this report was intended to sell the firm on a new target demographic they had been overlooking, and incorporated contacts within my current network.
- • 7 - The number of one-page (1 pg.) dossiers I now have, related to individuals who work at this company—I met seven (7) people in-person before our interactions came to an end.
- 4 - The amount of pages in the abridged overview I now have of the company; this includes basic information regarding their approach to business, behavioral/personality traits, negotiation tactics, Achilles’ heel, and red flags.
- 1 - The comprehensive file I now have on this company; this experience and information will surely serve a purpose at a later date in time…every experience and/or interaction eventually does.
- 0 - The amount of recent college graduates who immediately bring to the table everything I did. This assumes that the company continues to offer newly minted graduates and experienced candidates the same base salary.
“Look at this file!” Business Hesper ordered me. “Look at this, and tell me that this information alone isn’t worth more than $34,000 USD. Then tell me, no—tell YOURSELF that you’re only worth that much.”
I couldn’t. I tucked away the company’s file, and admonished myself for doubting my own talent and worth. Just because a decision is difficult, doesn’t mean it is incorrect. Can you really call a role a ‘dream job’ if it doesn’t allow you to pay your bills in reality? What good is vacation time if you can’t afford the airfare and accommodation fees?
*Sighs* Since I won’t be spending the next 10-20 years of my professional life at that company, where am I going to spend it?…
Diary, there are no lyrics to accompany this entry. There is only the song of silence as I step into the unknown. For better or worse, I have chosen my path—uncertain as it may be. If I listen closely, I can hear the sound of my footsteps as I tread uneasily.
-Hesper Rose, The Skulking Glamazon