Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Decision of a Lifetime

Right in the middle of whatever was happening, the Asian man across the table from me asked why I was wearing a pinstriped shirt when the table cloth was solid white. It was if I was supposed to know that what pattern the table cloth would be before I got there. I deflected the question by saying I should have packed more shirts and that seemed to placate him.

The only reason I had a shirt at all was by the grace of the man who apparently would become my boss, or my boss' boss, or something. Only 10 minutes earlier, I was in his outer office and reception room. He himself was moving through a closet providing me some shirt/tie options. Also in the room were a dozen very-well dressed men who were introducing themselves to me and palming me their cards. The one that shook my hand the quickest and then left the room was the most noticeable.

Back at the long tables, I was reading a two-sided, single-page job offer. It was in English, but in a format that I'd not seen before. It wasn't evident what my responsibilities would be, or who I'd work for. It seemed I'd be in the UK; compensation was in pounds sterling.

I thought briefly that the phone call I just finished was a set-up; another episode of hand-holding that had dotted and hindered my career at my current job. In my current place it was very easy to tell her I was out of the country and she should take care of it herself.

After glancing at both sides of the offer, finding nothing objectionable but filled with questions, I felt that flush that comes with dramatic change. Everyone at both tables began clapping, as if a treaty had been signed. It was happening very fast and the pressure to go along was overwhelming.

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