August 16, 2011


Last night, I was walking to the library - to blow off a little nervous steam, but also, to pick up a DVD I had requested ... one of my favorites, "The Purple Rose of Cairo." It's an unsurprisingly predictable favorite - a light comedy, full of intellectual romance and a pair of main characters (one a daydreamer, one hopelessly optimistic) in whom I can recognize parts of myself all too often.
Tom: I guess I have to get a job.

Cecilia: That's not gonna be so easy either - right now the whole country's out of work.

Tom: Well, then, we'll live on love. We'll have to make some concessions, but so what? We'll have each other.

Cecilia: That's movie talk.
Around 6 p.m., walking down the sidewalk in Little Italy, I checked my email on my phone, and there it was.

I got offered the full-time position.

It's undeniably great news. The excitement and nerves lasted approximately an hour, until I got home.

Great news. But.

I already signed my contract for the part-time teaching job here in Chicago. And according to the reply from an urgent email I sent my director in Chicago last night, "Theoretically, once you sign a contract you need to stand by it."
Jason: I'm bored with sitting around. I'm a dramatic character - I need forward motion!
I'm not sure what the next step is.

And also -

I spent Sunday night at a train station, crying into a boy's shoulder as he quietly dabbed at his own tears. It's new, but it feels real and serious. I'm in the city and he's in the suburbs and it's tough when you want to spend every waking moment with someone. Now, that distance could be thousands of miles.

It feels a little like a movie, you know? Nothing seems to be going right for the main character, then a series of separately wonderful things come together, only to become a source of conflict shortly thereafter. You can't have it all - it's one or the other. I spent all summer applying for jobs but not getting answers and dating a boy who didn't love me back and who hurt me; within the past week, though, I have grown very close to an amazing boy *and* got an interview for a totally perfect job. Except - the boy is in the Chicago suburbs, and the job is in central California.

This boy isn't like the others. He didn't mistreat me like quite a few did when I was big. He didn't hit me like Jon did. He didn't cheat on me like Matt did. But I still might have to leave him. And I'm surprisingly heartbroken, given how briefly we've been together. I haven't slept with him. His kisses are mostly on the cheek - the first was on my hand. But being with him feels unlike anything else. There's a strong attraction, a chemistry I've never felt before. It's beyond anything I've known.

I'm trying to trust the universe and accept that everything that happens does so for a reason. If I don't take the full-time job, I have work guaranteed here for at least a semester, and I can move forward with the boy. But the job is an amazing opportunity that I absolutely cannot refuse - but with it comes the sacrifice of what feels like an incredible relationship. I'd be starting over completely from scratch - working at a new job and living in a new apartment, in a new town, in a new state, in a new time zone. And I'd be profoundly alone as I nursed yet another heartache.

This is crazy. But by the time this post goes live, I'll be headed to the suburbs on the commuter train. We both spent yesterday nervous wrecks; today, we're going to make some decisions. We're going to have a plan. We will figure this out.
Tom: It's so impulsive, but - I'll come. Why not? What's life without a little risk taking?
Of course, there may be nothing to figure out. I may be stuck in Chicago because of a stupid piece of paper I signed quickly before they decided to take it away a second time.

Or I may be on the road in 24 hours.

I really don't like uncertainty.


Kelliann said...

"NO What-ifs". That's what my now-husband and I said when we were first together and I had some decisions to make. I had to leave and be away from him. But it still worked out. You never want to look back and think "what if I had done that". That what-if might be the full time job, it might be staying put. But think of yourself in the future. What would you be more regretful to have not tried.
Nothing is permanent. Having worked at a university as a part time professor, I know those contracts are broken all the time. You always have to do what is best FOR YOU.
Good luck! You have some very exciting prospects!

Karen said...

You know what? I kind of hope you're on the road. I think a change is good, sometimes.

Congrats on the job offer!

aschmalz83 said...

Congrats on the job offers. Though your decision will be tough I have no doubt that you'll make the right one. Good luck!

Amy said...

AHHHHHH!!! This is all so insanely crazy. Go with your gut...that's all I can say!

Best of luck to you and the hopeless romantic in me hopes you stay!

kravatron said...

"...the job is an amazing opportunity that I absolutely cannot refuse..."

The decision sounds made, to me.

Contracts (and hearts) are made to be broken. What are the actual repercussions of breaking the contract? Read the fine print and get a lawyer's advice if it sounds serious.

Anonymous said...

I think this all so exciting!!! It's great to be able to have choices. I don't think there is ever a "right" or "wrong" decision in situations like this - but just what you feel is the best decision at the time.

Good luck!I'm sure it will also end beautifully!


jayme @ Losing Half My Weight said...

oh, friend!! hang in there! you'll get through this, decisions will be made, and it'll be ok. will be thinking of you over the next day...

Anonymous said...


I don't really know what to say to you. You should be able to get out of the contract. Teaching one class versus teaching a full-time load is a good reason to leave a job. Especially one that they weren't sure they even could fill up for you to teach.

I've been there in the situation with the boy. When I met my husband, we had 3 weeks in the same town (with him being at a training camp for the military so his hours were crazy) before he moved back to the opposite side of the country. We'd been dating for 3 weeks when he asked if I would visit him, I said yes to him there and it turned into yes for life. Long distance is scary, it's not fun, it's not glamorous; but it is doable. Feel free to email me if you ever want to talk more about that.

Best of luck.

Meghan said...

I hope that whatever happens you find peace in the situation. You are strong. I wish I could make it better for you.

Maia said...

First of all, mega congrats on the job offer. Whether or not you decide to take it, that's a great accomplishment!

I honestly think it would be a great adventure to move to California (where I think you would love, by the way...)

About the contract, while yes... technically you should stick to it, a rational person would not begrudge you this opportunity. And I can't really see them taking action against you if you were to back out of it. It would take up so much time and energy. They could get miffed, most likely never hire you again, but really that's about the worst of it.

You have a difficult decision to make, one I don't really envy, but I think you have the potential for happiness in either course. Just different forms of happiness.

Anonymous said...

These are the people who gave you a job and then took it away and then gave it back agian, right? Normally I would agree with the whole "Once you sign a contract you should stick it out" thing but these people have jerked you around quite a bit already. Can you find out more about this other position? If you are really thinking of bugging out on this other job you are contracted for, you need to make sure you have all the facts and that it will be worth it if you can get out of it and elect to go that road.

sguidone said...

Love you so much, Mary. I don't envy your decision, and I had a few cousin tears on my way to a meeting this morning, but I'm so incredibly proud of you and know that your life will be full of richness no matter what. We're behind you 100%, and up for whatever comes our way. xoxox

Laura said...

Wow, this really is like a movie, crazy! So glad that you got the job, it will all work out!

Princess Dieter aka Mir said...

Signing contracts is serious business, BUT...go reread it and see if there is an out. And, if you decide you'd prefer the full-time job, make your case to your part-time superior. Tell them why A, B, C you are pleading with them to let you out of the contract so you can pursue the job. Be modest, apologetic, but ask firmly to be released. Sometimes, that combo of modesty, humility, firm request can move a heart. :D

Love, true love, is a powerful thing. Distance can't kill it. Distance might mean you realize it is what it is...or find out it isn't what it isn't.

But if you guys decide to stay, well, as you say, the job is there.

I hope you guys make the best, best decision and you feel at peace with it.

Nicely done, post, with the flick...the creative part of me liked that structure. :D

MartinJon said...

Good luck with whatever happens - you are ready for anything, fear and uncertainty just means you are alive and living your potential.

Marla said...

I wish you luck in which path you choose. I know which one I would, but I would be extra careful not to burn any bridges.

Anonymous said...

Mary, take the job!!!! What a wonderful opportunity for you! Granted, if you break the contract in Chicago you might not be able to work there again, but you have to think about your future and security. TAKE THE JOB! And congratulations!

Weight Wars said...

Wow big decisions. Given how much they messed you around what do you owe the other place?

I want to tell you a story. When I was 13 years old I had a crush on a guy in a band at my school, he was 16, didn't know I existed, and was too cool for me. Then he left school and I moved on. Then he came back to see friends, we met at a party and clicked instantly. 1 month before I moved 4 hours away to Uni.

Timing sucked. But I went anyway, I sobbed and sobbed all the way there. We saw each other fairly regularly and after a year of tear filled goodbyes he moved with me.

We've been married 8 years next week.

It can happen in the most difficult circumstances, I know it's more fly than drive in the USA but if it's going to happen it will. Enjoy it while you can but ultimately you have to do what you have to for YOUR future.

Tim said...

Follow your heart :)

michelle said...

*hugs* i hope you can get it all figure out soon

Denise said...

Take the job. Regardless of whether or not someone thinks you need to stand by something, the bottom line that in a semester, you'll be right back to where you were a month ago. This new job is a full-time position. It's a better deal.

Long-distance relationships work, and that might be something to pursure if you're serious about staying with him. Perhaps he could join you in California in a few months.

Jen said...

Happy for you that you've found a boy who you're into and who treats you well. Super excited for your job offer. You are an inspiring and influential woman. You'll be able to find several boys you are into and who treat you well. Or you may have found the only one you need.

It's been said already and I feel the same - go with your gut, consider which option you might regret more if you pass it up. Trust that the choice you make will be the right one for you.

Congratulations! You have wonderful opportunities! :)