For most of 2011, my brow was crinkled as I navigated my way through both professional and personal challenges.
“PJ, relax your face,” my mom said from the back seats.
I was driving my parents to the airport after a brief visit north in early December. It was seven o’clock in the morning and from the rear of the car, from the small sliver of mirror I glance at when switching lanes, my mother could see my furrowed brow.
The previous months had been rife with hiccups. My new boss routinely behaved in a manner that made it clear I was replaceable. And for as much as I wanted to change jobs, I felt tied down by a condo worth considerably less than when I bought it seven years earlier.
“Just move to Atlanta,” Leslie would suggest. “Rent your condo and just move in with me. Your expenses will be limited and I’m sure you’ll find a job soon enough.”
“You need to find a tenant before you do anything else,” my mom would say.
Chicken, meet egg.
Every suggestion was a good one. But for whatever reason I was paralyzed. What if I found a tenant but ended up landing a great job in Philadelphia? Then I was homeless. Or what if I got a great job in Atlanta but couldn’t find a tenant for my condo in Philadelphia? I felt like a dog chasing her tail, except pups always appear to enjoy this tediously unproductive task.
In mid-December, I visited my friend in Los Angeles and with my collection of newly purchased crystals and a very cleansed chakra, I returned to Philadelphia ready to make a change. For the first time in over a year, I finally believed I was in control of my destiny.
“What are you doing about your condo?” my mom asked when she picked me up Christmas morning outside baggage claim in Sarasota.
“I’m going to apply for jobs and just deal with my condo when something comes together.”
For weeks, I devoted my evenings to honing my resume, submitting applications and waiting for responses. I have friends who have been job hunting for months if not years. I figured I might as well hunker down, give it my all, and hope to have something come together by the end of summer.
Late last week, following two phone interviews, I was told I was being flown to Chicago to interview one last time for what feels like my dream position. In the days since, I have compiled a twenty-five page book of documents evidencing my qualifications. Knowing I will have to give a fifteen minute presentation, I have talked my way through the topic while lathering my hair in the shower, idling at red lights, and strolling the aisles of Staples. My suit is set out on an arm chair in my bedroom, my presentation is packed up in my travel tote. On top of everything sits my boarding pass.
At five o’clock in the morning, I will awake and get in the shower. At six o’clock I will drive to the airport. And at eight o’clock, I will take a seat on a plane and head for Chicago. I’m rather confident the rest of the day will be a blur. Not until I touch down in Philadelphia just shy of ten o’clock in the evening will I exhale. As I head for my car, I will ring Leslie and my parents to update them. I will text the friends who have been cheering me on along the way. And if all goes well, when I get home I will pour myself a glass of wine. Because, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I am rather certain I will have reason to celebrate.