February 13, 2008

The Power of the Pants Compels You! Hopefully.

Last week in the midst of my emotional meltdown, I had a job interview. Probably not a good idea to go to said interview with the regulator off so to speak between my brain and my mouth. I thought I did a good job then, but now I look back on it and think, "Damn, did the crazypants really come out and run amok?" I think they kind of did. The job in itself was perfect for me and very fulfilling, and I have the requisite experience and skillset, but the pay is low, lowwwww, low. Lower than what I left at my last real corporate job which was in television. People who don't work in television have this weird notion that everyone is rolling in the dough, but sadly, that is not true. Just go ask those poor fuckers, who work for Viacom. MTV has been and will continue to abuse the permalancers there for as long as they can get away with it. What's even worse is that in this age of gender equality (hah), women here in the U.S. still make less than $0.77 on the dollar as compared to their male counterparts, SO horribly, mind-numbingly, and soul-destroyingly true that it should be depressing to every career woman out there. That really was the ultimate reason I left my job. Sure, my Dad was not in the best of health. I did want to be closer to what little family I had left. Yes, I was insanely tired of the unrelenting ignorance of the Deep South. Yes, I did long to go home to the mythical creation of a liberal and temperate city in Texas, that being Austin. I enjoy not dealing with 4.5 million on the street at the same time though the 1 million or so population of Austin can be trying on the roadway. All these things were true, but I really left because I wasn't being paid enough to do the 3 separate jobs I was doing, and since the last pay-raise and job-title change I had just had was ridiculously huge (that's what they have to do to bring you up to almost adequate when you are barely making a pittance) I was not going to be in line for another pay increase anytime soon in the rotation. "Be grateful you have a job because there a million people out there clamoring to do your job for free," should have been printed above the entrance to our department.

Despite all of this though, that job was perfect for me. It was my career, my greatest joy, my (almost) every dream come true. Never mind that the job also shattered my physical health, my mental equilibrium, and my emotional self confidence; that's just television, baby. The nature of the beast is that it wants to consume your soul and spit you out remade full-blown in its image. I looked down the timeline of my "perfect" job and chose to walk away after 5 years of toiling in the salt mines of children's cable entertainment because the person I saw myself becoming to get ahead was not any person I was interested in being. I wanted it all, but not at the cost of my soul, sanity, or health. BUT. And here's the kicker, If I had been paid adequately, I would have stayed. I would've stayed and become that person. If the pay had been high enough, I could've balanced out the equation in my soul, maybe not forever, but for longer? Sure. Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe I could've found a way to to mitigate the evil and not amplify it inside of me. I didn't though. I walked away from it all. I'm really good at walking away, at unmaking myself and remaking myself on the spot, but there's consequences, you know?

So, why am I here again contemplating a job I may have biffed the interview for that is in a similar field and with a lower starting pay than what I left the perfect career for? It's a good question, and I've been chewing over the answers for the last 2 weeks (pre and post interview), looking at all the pros and cons and carefully weighing them all. Benefits are good, but I've survived the last few years without them. I made as much money as they are offering sitting around without pants smoking the bong and working out of my house last year, but it's media and production, and I am a production (and a love) junkie. I cannot give it up no matter how I try. Cold-turkey? Stepping down? At least I don't watch air from my former job anymore, but when I was there I watched air compulsively all the time calling the BOC (Master Control) every time they flubbed the burned-in logo or ran the wrong versions of the promos. I spent hours combing through the 24-hour daily logs prior to air, searching for errors with a highlighter, and correcting them across 3 different departments, and that wasn't even my job. I am a devoted and loyal person. When I give you something, I give you my all: all my passion, all my attention, all my loyalty. When you tell me my all is worth nothing to you repeatedly, I walk away, but it takes some kicking, just so you know.

On the plus side, since I exist as my own company now, I could bring projects in and receive a percentage of the profits for those projects. That sweetens the deal considerably and I don't want to walk away from this job. I want to take it. I want to work with passionate, creative professionals who get me, for me. I want to build something more than the sum of its individual parts. If the possibility for advancement and higher pay exists as a real thing and not some theoretically merit-based carrot tied to the ugly stick of politics, then I can sweat it out at a lower paygrade for a while. I guess the bottomline is that I am hungry to play the game again and am hopeful that the outcomes will be different. This time it is not dancing with the corporate sharks. It's the little guys this time, and a way to be in on the ground level of building something that has the potential to be very, very cool. I really want this job. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Let us pray that said pants were crazy in the attractively, intelligent way and not the 'run for the hills' way.

Is it even crazier that I half want to send them a link to this blog? I think it kind of is. I mean it's honest, but it's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Last week kicked my ass. I'm lucky I can string a semi-coherent thought together.


Ro-Beast Rollie said...

You should everyone the link to this blog. Especially the Blue Oyster Cult.

Robin said...

No one ever lay on their death bed wishing for one more day toiling in the salt mines. Life is what happens after the 9-5 job....

I work to live, not live to work... and the Vmax is calling!!! Sweet Jeebus I like getting off at 4 pm!!!


teh Beauty said...

Yeah, I've converted to the work to live lifestyle now. Maybe I flubbed it on purpose. Bleah. I don't even know that I flubbed it. CRAZYPANTS on my head running around in circles.