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Today’s challenge is to write about what I would do if I scored a huge contract or won the lottery and suddenly had enough money to do whatever I wanted. As I’ve done with some of the previous challenges, I’m going to put a little spin on it.

I was contacted recently by an employment agency about a temp job that would last six to nine months, with the probability of it being a permanent position. The money was fantastic – in fact, it would have given me a very hefty raise (tens of thousands, not just thousands) over what I was making when I left Kansas City. I was ambivalent about it because it was located in a town about 30 miles away. The distance doesn’t seem like an obstacle until you factor in that I would be putting 1200 miles a month on a car that is twenty years old.

I had another interview in the same town yesterday – and I accepted the interview because it was a government job (hello, security!) and there was a possibility that I could eventually work in the branch office in town that is about 3 miles away.  But I couldn’t get the other job out of my head. She told me to call her if I changed my mind and that the job would be mine if I wanted it because she didn’t have any other qualified candidates. Hmm. So I called her back and we agreed to meet yesterday.

I went to the government job interview first. I knew it was assisting people with finding the right benefit programs and that I would be working with the public. I just didn’t realize exactly what that meant until I arrived at the office. It was packed. I was nervous so I went to the restroom, a small room with only two toilets and no space. Of course, there were women milling about in there. I held my breath, did what I had to do and walked back to the reception area. It was literally crawling with people and the smell hit me immediately when I opened the door. It was a horrible combination of body odor, vomit and dirty diapers. Oh, no. I realized that this would be my environment every single day. Something in my mind snapped and I turned on my heel and walked out.

It is the single most unprofessional thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I also knew that there was no way I was going to take that job and sitting through the interview would be a waste of everyone’s time. I went to the interview with the employment agency next and the more we talked, the more I realized I wanted that job. It was enough money that I wouldn’t need to worry if I needed to buy a new car. It was enough that I could take a vacation if I wanted, without cost being much of an obstacle. And the job itself was right up my alley. It was a slight twist on my former jobs (medical claims processing), but it would be challenging and I could use what I already know. That interview went so well that she fired off an email to the employer asking them to meet me.

After I filled out a bunch of paperwork for the employment agency, I went to the employer for another interview. I thought it went well. I interviewed with a manager and supervisor and they both seemed smart, engaging and interesting. They obviously loved what they do. They were just as excited to meet me but the employment agency did tell me that someone else interviewed after I did. After my interview I called the agency and told them I was definitely into it. She said I would find out the next day, but that she thought I was the more qualified candidate, both on paper and in person.

… And I found out late this afternoon that it went to the other candidate. I asked for feedback, but the agency said that none had been given at that point. So I don’t know what happened. Sometimes you can just tell an interview isn’t going well but I got none of those signs. I was well qualified. I didn’t say ‘fuck’ once during the interview, although to be honest, I let out a slew of curse words when I found out I didn’t get it.

My brain knows that things happen for a reason, that when something doesn’t work out, it is usually because something better is around the corner. But I keep thinking about that salary and everything it would have done for me. A new car eventually. New clothes. Being able to pay off my school loans. Not having to budget every tiny purchase.

It sure would have been nice. I can only think that it must have been a well-disguised viper pit and I’m better off out of it.

But still …