“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
It seems like yesterday when school was in session and we, English students, were first getting acquainted with Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Ah, as she counted the ways she loved that lucky man, we counted the minutes till class was over and we could run outside and party plan.
Now our frazzled recent grads count the number of interviews they’ve had, the number of edit tests, the number of minutes they’ve gone over their phone bills thanks to all the week’s networking and shameless pleading for a job.
They count the total amount of money they’ve spent on the expensive New York rent of the past six months, they count the months they’ve been in the city looking, fruitlessly, for jobs.
Or, if they’re lucky, they count how many letters are in the name of the company that just offered them a job. They count the numbers in the five-figure salary offer. They count the days till the start date.
But let’s not get carried away.
It’s my turn now, so let me count the companies:
1. Springer Science + Business Media: 1 lukewarm interview, no word (Oct 07)
2. Taylor & Francis: 1 amazing interview, 1 edit test, 1 intro to staff, many hints that they’ll hire me, 1 admission that their budget wouldn’t allow it after all (Oct 07)
3. Esquire Magazine, Hearst Corp.: 1 edit test, 1 glossy rejection letter (Oct 07)
4. Woman’s World Magazine, Bauer Pub.: 1 exhilarating interview, 1 call back, 1 food poisoning that prevented me from going to the second interview, 1 decision from them that they couldn’t reschedule the interview (Nov 07)
5. Harlequin: 1 long manuscript test, 3 successful interviews, 1 rejection (Nov 07 – Jan 08)
6. Dentsu Communications: 1 interview, no word (Jan 08)
7. Interview Magazine: 1 wonderful interview, 1 hold up thanks to budget, 1 promise of a call back. Still no word. (Jan 08)
7. Simon & Schuster: 1 okay interview, 1 writing test, 1 rejection e-mail (Feb 08)
8. Skyhorse Publishing: 1 manuscript test, 1 annoying phone call where they said some other dude got my job thanks to his cooler internships (Feb 08)
9. Penguin Group: 2 great interviews, 1 edit test. Still waiting to hear. (Feb 08)
10. _____ : 1 thrilling interview, 1 easy edit test, 1 exciting offer letter.
1 offer letter?
Yes! I can’t hold it any longer: I’M THAT LUCKY RECENT GRAD!
After an incredible interview two days ago, I woke up this morning with a wake up call: I have a job. Literally, the vice president of the company called me and extended an offer, which I gladly accepted. Wait, did he say these have never paid anyone as much as they’re paying to keep me? Three weeks vacation? Full benefits? Wait, I have health insurance? Wait, I have a job??!! A career?! At 21? Really?!
Those were the first thoughts of the morning.
The next few series of thoughts had to do with surviving the dreadful snow outside on the way to FedEx to fax in my signed acceptance letter. But I survived. After plunging steps in thick snow, the deal was sealed.
And that’s when it hit me. Wait. They didn’t ask my about my citizenship. Oh, wait–they don’t know about my citizenship. They won’t care, will they?
I had to tell them. Nervous, I went home, and practiced my speech away from the mirror. Then I called the guy, asked if he needed any further documentation for me, and after he declined, I brought to his attention that yes, I can start right away on Wednesday indeed, because, yes, I am legally authorized for work till October, but I will eventually need sponsorship to continue working thereafter.
There was a pause on the line. His pause, and mine, as I held my breath.
“Oh,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of that.”
I presented the case lightly, that it was no big deal really, that it’s common procedure and all we have to do is get a lawyer to do all the paperwork, and then the company will just have to sign. (And pay the legal fees, which is another story altogether).
The guy was clueless; the company had never sponsored before. Many frazzled minutes on his part and mine and a few phone conversations later, he called back to tell me that he’d have to talk to HR to figure out what the next step would be.
So that’s it. I know the next step: I have to spend my weekend waiting, continuing applications just in case this doesn’t work out. *double sigh*
We said we’d “touch base” on Monday. I always hated that expression, by the way. But if I can convince this guy, get the lawyer myself, and tell the company to take the few grands’ worth of fees out of my salary, I think we might have a deal. Because then the company has no real reason for refusing me, aside from discrimination.
I guess the lesson here is that sometimes it pays to be a U.S. citizen. And if you’re not, sometimes it pays to make sacrifices for the long run.
And to pay now so that, as the new editorial assistant, I can have the power to take out phrases like “touch base” from the English language forever.