Today, a vignette from a past world, rather than a future one. A world that I hope we will one day transcend. These are the kinds of choices that people should not have to make.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“What do you mean?”
“Thanks for the offer, but I don’t want it.”
“Why not? Is it the package? We could go up.”
“No, it’s not the money.”
“The title? We can change the title.”
“No, it’s not the title.”
“The start date is negotiable. More leave days? Do you want a company car?”
“No. Thanks. It’s just not for me.” She stood up and shook hands with the rather bewildered Human Resources manager.
“Let me, let me know if you change your mind.”
“I won’t. Change my mind, I mean.” She smiled to herself and strode out of the room.
A short while later, she slid into the soft leather seat of her Volvo, instinctively locked the door, and let her hands drop into her lap.
“What have I done?”
For a minute, she allowed herself to imagine saying yes. The contracts to sign, the polite handshakes, dates agreed. Shopping for a better wardrobe to reflect her new status. Arriving for work and being ushered into an office with a large desk, plush carpet, her name on the door. Meetings in boardrooms, documents to read, points to argue. Clever verbal sparring. Carefully cultivating support for her projects and positions. Being nice to people whom she didn’t respect to secure their support. Making money for shareholders. Dodging the rich food at company lunches. Working late to meet unreasonable deadlines. Company matters taking on an exaggerated importance that would override her sense of priorities, making her neglect her health, family and friends.
The price was too high. Way higher than that very substantial offer.
She took a deep breath and turned the ignition. Humming, she drove to the nearest car dealer to negotiate a downgrade. Lucky escape.