Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Suddenly, a dark cloud settled over first period...

"The goddamn pen is bluuuue."

A week ago J had a preliminary interview with the Bronx district attorney's office to be a DA. Yes, I just said the Bronx. After the interview (which he said went really well), J surprised me and said he wasn't going to send them his letters of rec like they'd requested.

Me: "What? You're nearly giving yourself an ulcer finding a job. Why wouldn't you pursue this?"

J: "Because though it'd be nice, I think I can do better. That and," he said with mild sarcasm, "I don't think it'd work if we became a bi-coastal couple. I'd miss you too much." (Note: I've told J that if he decides to reside on the East Coast post-graduation, I'll split my time between the East and West coast. Maybe throw in a little extended time in Italy for good measure. No biggie, but apparently it is.)

He looked at peace with his decision (well, as much as one can be who's job hunting with $200,000 in school debt looming over his head) until two nights ago, when we were working on our laptops at Starbucks and he got a call. It was the DA's office, wanting him for a callback interview. And his immediate response when they asked if he'd want to come up and interview with the panel was ..."Yes." Why, I don't know. He didn't even know himself, and kept wondering out loud why he'd said yes. All I could do was shake my head...."this is SO not something Don Draper would do," I thought to myself. J immediately regretted his snap response and said he'd call and cancel, but I told him no.

"Just do the call back. You don't know if you've got the job. Think hard about whether you want it when you get the actual job offer. Until then don't say no," I said, espousing my oft-sage advice. He agreed ... and promptly began looking for possible apartments in the Bronx, emailing me the listings. I couldn't help but laugh out loud across the table from him when I saw the damned things in my inbox.

"No, kemosabe, I won't be living in the Bronx. You'll be," I reminded him. (Insert sad J face here.) "I'm a freebird, I don't do the Bronx...or anything that's even remotely close to Yonkers."

Now I've never actually been to Yonkers or the Bronx, but they both remind me of a particularly vile DMX song I used to "bump" in my car during my high school years as I cruised through senior parking thinking I was cool long before I actually was. (It was very Michael Bolton listening to Tupac in Office Space). Anyway before the song starts there's a crass repartee between DMX and his "honey," in which he accuses her over the phone of feigning interesting in other males' appendages and philandering with some unnamed man in Yonkers (in so many words). It will forever be burned on my brain and is now what I associate Yonkers, the Bronx ... heck most of the NYC boroughs with.

After hearing my story and laughing in my face, J thought I was being "ridiculous," and so began sending me Manhattan apartment listings instead.

"I could take the train and commute," he reasoned.

I shook my head. "Did I not just tell you I was a freebird?! Freebirds don't live in Vuh-jin-ya, like we are now, and they don't live in Manhattan either." (Confession: I so wanted to live in Manhattan when I was 21 and still overly obsessed with Sex and the City. Not so much anymore, as my new obsession is all-things Easy Rider.)

"Take me back out West, honey child. I'll even live in LA or Reno if it means we're inching our way closer." Yes, you read that correctly. I'll admit the Reno comment was desperation speaking, but it didn't seem to matter since calling J "honey child" seemed to distract him from the imminent issue.

So J has come to one of the great crossroads in life (that is if he goes through with the second interview and gets the offer): Does he settle and get paid minor ducats at a thankless job, or does he take the risk of holding out and wait for a better opportunity? Too often I think we choose the first option because it's safer and more secure, but does it lend itself favorably in long-term career advancement, or is it simply sufficing as "a job"? Personally there have been times in my career where out of sheer impatience I began blindly applying to anything I was qualified for (within the journalism realm, of course), and jumped at the first offer that came my way. It worked out okay in the first year, but my happiness began to wane the second year -- even with a 15% raise and myriad perks.

I vote he waits for something better. Not just because of my fond memories of DMX and the Bronx, but for his overall happiness and well-being.


Penny said...

At the risk of offending those from the Bronx {and I can say this because I've been there many, many darn times throughout my lifetime}....keep telling J not to go! The Bronx is rough [sure it has it's nice communities]. He would be dealing with a lot of hot drama that could easily overwhelm him. If one is not up for all that, def. don't do it.

On the flip side however, I do think that there is a lot of upward mobility in a place like that...once you step into one of the boroughs; I gather it's easier to slip into Manhattan/even private practice [given ones talent and networking]...but again; lots of drama in the meanwhile. It all boils down to where J sees himself going in the future.

Listen, we all have school loans. I joke with my husband that my last payment will be when I'm 83. He doesn't find that so ammusing, but I do since in all likely will be, that

Damn, why couldn't I just have gone to a Vocational school or something? Ah, oh well....such is life.

Keep the faith, something great will come along:)

paisley penguin said...

I vote wait to. Of course, I am in a current job I don't like but it's no fund to be there. If he holds out for something he really wants he should. Although getting interview experience under his belt might just help him get that job he really wants. I would not want to be a bi coastal couple either.

Anonymous said...

You make me laugh first thing in the morning and I love it. Your couple dynamic sounds so great.

This is a tough one.... thats quite a bit of student debt. Maybe it would be worth it to try it out and live in Manhattan for a year? Maybe you would feel a teeeeny bit Sex and the City about it... and maybe J would let you call him "Big" ... would that help? After a year... you make your big move out west... OR... maybe you love Manhattan and he loves his job, and you stay a little while longer, while searching for that west coast dream job.

Nicole said...

There are some places in the country where I could just NEVER live. (I won't name them for fear of offending someone.) So I would personally tell him to hold out for something closer to where you want to be, especially if the job isn't that good anyway. Now if it's a dream job but just a bad location, that's a different story.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Best of luck to your man! It is really hard right now to find a good job so it might be tempting to settle- but I'm sure the right one (in the right location) will arrive soon! xo

AuntBT said...

I took the first job out of college, and it wasn't what I wanted to do. I had another opportunity looming, but it wasn't a guaranteed. Try to hold out!!

Mandy said...

If you have to convince yourself why you should say "Yes," then you shouldn't say Yes. Period. And life without you? Even short-term? Well, how could any man stand to live that way?! :-)

Tom Bailey said...

I connected through another blog so this is my first visit.

Opinion not fact to follow:

Being a lawyer is not a bad position to have right now he just needs to focus on finding a job in the right specialty.

Investment banking

Those areas of the law are doing fine. I hope that information helps.

Best regards

A Nerd and A Free Spirit said...

That's a hard decision. Cute blog, by the way. I have two poodles and LOVE them. One is a toy, and one is a standard.

Holding out for what you REALLY want is usually filled with less regret....


Katherine said...

I recently discovered your blog and I LOVE it! You are a brilliant writer and a very funny girl. So glad I found you!

Unknown said...

Oh girl I'm with you! I vote that he wait. My siso was a state prosecutor for many years and made literally nothing. He should hold out for something better and not in the Bronx!

Crystal said...

Thank you all for being so honest!! I think he's got enough "hot drama" to deal with being married to me. I've tallied all your votes and opinions and sent the ballot results to J. ;)

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog and take a completely different view from most of the others who commented. If your bf got the job at the Bronx DA's Office, he should be thanking his lucky stars. It is no simple feat to become a prosecutor at one of the top DA's offices in the country, especially in this economy where there is a glut of attorneys (esp in NYC-- trust me, I should know) and people are losing jobs left and right. The interview process at DA's Offices in NYC and its boroughs is highly competitive and extremely selective. While working in the Bronx (yes, the Bronx) might sound less than glamorous, the fact that it's the Bronx means that you will get to see a range of crimes and lots of trial experience. Hardly something to sniff at, especially if you are looking for solid courtroom/ litigation experience that you can one day parlay into a private firm job. 3 years of government pay might not sound appealing, but the experience you get as a prosecutor at a reputable office will always be on your resume.

Bottom line: unless your bf went to Harvard, graduated Order of the Coif, and was editor of Harvard Law Review, he should not be so cavalier about this job opportunity. And nor should you.

-NYC Lawyer

Crystal said...

NYC Lawyer -- First of all he's not my bf, he's my husband. And second of all we're both (he especially) well aware of the great experience you get as a litigator working in that Bronx office. It's definitely nothing to be sniffed at. My point is I'm not willing to give up another 3+ years of my life living in an area for a job. And yes, at the end of the day, a job is still a job. It just depends on how bad you want it.

My husband goes to a T14 law school and is highly aware of his choices and how they will affect his career, especially in today's legal market. This post was written from the standpoint of a wife who's tired of moving wherever the next job is, whatever that job may be.

But thanks for your input.

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