Monday, September 25, 2006

The Sound of My Mom's Smile

As much as I want to keep referring to one of my superiors as The-Devil-Wears-Prada "boss" for the entertainment value, I really can't anymore. I really like her now. Sure, she made me feel like an idiot for the first week or so that I worked there, but she's hardcore, she's business-savvy, and she's good at what she does. She knows she's not well-liked by some people in the company, but if she cares, I can't tell. Afterall, it's not friendship; it's business. And I understand her level of intensity and meticulous detail. I get her.

She just got back from celebrating the 40th birthday of a friend (they went to Mexico), and The-VP "boss" just left for Italy with her husband. That's how the big-timers live.

I actually took a lunch break today. I went to the temp agency to pick up my paycheck and took a walk in Bryant Park. There were dozens of squad cars parked on 5th Avenue between 41st and 42nd Street (in front of the New York Public Library). The officers stood around in bunches of 8-10 along the sidewalk. I wondered what they were doing, but I didn't want to ask so I just kept walking.

My boss(es) extended my assignment with the company so I'm now employed beyond September with a good chance at a permanent position, which I'm not banking on or letting myself get too excited about yet. However, this evening, I forwarded an email to my parents that the general manager had sent me early today. My parents were really excited and impressed by what he had written with regard to my performance within the company.

I finally left the office around 8:30 p.m. As I was walking down West 43rd Street toward Grand Central, talking to my mom on my cell phone, I couldn't believe the amazing luck I've had. I moved to New York with no job and no apartment (well, I still sleep on an air mattress in Tokii's living room next to the front door of her apartment), but 11 days after I moved here in August, I happened to be placed with one of the most successful companies in the United States. It's been a really hard road that finally got me to this city, and it feels really good to have a few things go my way.

How many people move to New York City every year and wait tables for months or years before they are able to catch a break? Then again, I'm not an aspiring model or actress. And not that waitressing isn't a noble profession (in fact, based on my own experience, I believe it to be one of the hardest in the world), and advertising sales isn't exactly my big break since I'm not extraordinarily passionate about it ... but a job in a highrise on West 42nd Street, right between Grand Central and Times Square, and across the street from Bryant Park? What?!?! I know it's not that I am any better than anyone else or did anything differently. It was all sheer luck - just the right place at the right time.

Even if I don't end up becoming a permanent employee, this is a kick-ass first job in New York City. I'll go back to sulking about being homeless tomorrow, but I don't expect anyone to feel too sorry for me. Of course, I know that luck can run out at any time, and that shit will suck. But I'm not doing too poorly for a former military brat who has spent the last 10 years in Western North Carolina.

As I walked across the floor of Grand Central's Main Terminal, below the elaborately decorated astronomical ceiling, I said to my mom, "This was a good idea, wasn't it? I am so happy I moved here."

"Me, too," she said. I think I could hear her smiling.

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