How Much Do You Want This?

September 17th 2015

Story originally written and experienced: November 7th 2013

 I couldn’t sit sTiLl.

I was waiting in the lobby of Michael Kors. Sleek silver fixtures outlining large Macassar wood frames that hung on the wall, housing a reel of footage from their recent runway show.

Glass end tables          punctuated the end of every cushiony couch.

Glossy cylinder vases sat atop them, filled to the brim with fresh white lillies, while oversized black and white paparazzi photos of Jackie O, Lauren Hutton and Goldie Hawn adorned the walls.

I could hear the sound of high heels r-h-y-t-h-m-i-c-a-l-l-y

pace to <<<< and from >>>> each office

—in tandem with the beat of my racing heart as I sat there perfectly sTiLl.

I ran my hands over the smooth creases of my portfolio over and over again. A nervous gesture to keep my sHaKiNg hands occupied. Avoiding eye contact with the other candidates. Aware I was in a black dress. Black heels. And a completely forgotten blazer that was tragically hanging at my office a few blocks away.

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Shit.

 

Where were they? What was taking so long? Did they change their mind? DID THEY FORGET?!

‘They usually make people wait this long…it’s normal…especially for an interview…especially for the last one…” I thought to myself for a last-minute shot of reassurance.

Ring. Ring. Ring Ring.

The receptionist picked up with perfect timing.

“Hello? Mmhmm…mmhmm…okay, I’ll send her over. Thanks.”

She hung up the phone.

“Olivia?”

              “Yes?”

“They’re ready for you.”

Shit.

Shit.

 

“Take the elevator to the 19th floor. When you get to the elevator bank, take a left and round the corner. They’ll be waiting for you there.”

“Okay, sounds good. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

I grabbed my things, slid my hands down my dress to finesse the fabric said to myself over and over, “This is the last job interview you’ll ever have to do. This is the last job interview you’ll ever had to do. This is the last job interview you’ll ever have to do. This is the last job interview you ever had to do.”

I knew that probably wasn’t true.

But I felt better saying it anyway.

I impatiently waited for the elevators to open. The carpet was so pristine. Even the buttons were exuding a luxurious aura.

Exactly right, buddy.

Exactly right, buddy.

 

And as soon as I rounded the corner, the Vice President’s assistant was waiting for me.

She complimented my hair.

Thanks.

“You’re welcome. Follow me.”

She led me into the heavy doors marked with an MK logo.

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Passed the PR team >> the graphic designers >> the celebrity dressing room >>> etc. etc.

And into the Vice President’s office that had a crystal clear view of the Empire State Building.

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Okay okay, we see your point…

 

I sat down in a white chair and waited.

“Do you want something to drink?” her assistant asked me. “Water?”

“Sure, that’d be great.”

Moments later she came back with two cups. One paper and one glass. By instinct I grabbed the glass one.

She wouldn’t let go.

                                                                                                                                                I pulled a little harder.

    She still wouldn’t let go.

                                                                                                                                               I pulled a little harder.

    She still wouldn’t let go.

“You can have the paper cup,” she finally informed me.

“Okay, thanks…” I said as a confused reaction, unsure why she offered both in the first place.

The Vice President finally walked into her office.

She was timelessly beautiful. Curly hair neatly tied back in a bun. No makeup. Expensive clothes.

“Here’s your water, and it’s in your favorite glass cup,” her assistant said handing her what I tried to cherish just moments before.

Now I understood the dishware tug-o-war.

“Thank you sweetie, you can go,” she said before she shifted her attention  >> to me.

“Well…someone had an impressive writing test.”

“Thank you. I worked very hard on it.”

“I can tell.”

We began to talk. About interviewy things and non interviewy things. Eventually segueing into her asking me,

“Do you know how I ended up here?”

“No.”

“I used to work for a big time magazine but…I knew I was hitting a ceiling there. And then one day, Michael Kors himself offered me a job here that I couldn’t refuse,” she confessed to me, taking a sip from her glass water cup with the Empire State building as her illuminated background, “I knew I immediately wanted it, so how could I resist?”

I gave her a nervous laugh in agreement and we continued to talk. And after 15 minutes of professional and personal banter she said,

“Look Olivia, we’re looking for a couple of things here. 1. The happiness of our employees and 2. Someone who isn’t a withering violet.

You’re not…a withering violet…are you?

I don’t think you’re a withering violet,” she said answering her own question. “The kind of person who would crumble under pressure. Right?”

I had never been asked if I was a “withering violet” before. But for the sake of impressions and employment I said that ‘no I was not.’

“Let’s talk salary. How much money would you like to be making?”

I told her, and it was more than she was hoping I’d say. She gritted her teeth, took a deep breath and asked me, “How badly do you want this job?”

I didn’t pause.

“I want it. Pretty badly.”

“Okay. Well…we’ve got two other candidates. But I like you. Let me see what I can do.”

I walked out of the skyscraper on 42nd street and changed from my heels back into my boots on the corner of 5th ave.

Simultaneously thinking that what I said to her was true.

That I did want the job pretty badly.

And I knew that because it was an innate response.

Similar to the one she had given Michael Kors himself just two years before.

I needed something new. It excited me. And a new salary didn’t sound half bad either.

I needed a new adventure. But not just anything. Something I would innately say, ‘I want this. Pretty badly,” to.

And I trusted that theory, because I remembered having the same response when asked:

How much I wanted to move to New York.

How badly I wanted to do that cartwheel at the bar…(even though I got kicked out of my own damn party)

How much I wanted to eat that $40 cupcake on New Years.

How badly I really wanted this job—which ultimately led to the most humbling, difficult and worthwhile writing experience I’ve ever had in my career.

I guess I realized.

Anything that triggered a “Yes, I want it,” as an innate and immediate, deep-down-in-my soul response, ultimately lead to bigger, better and more iNtErEsTiNg things.

And who wouldn’t want that?