I hope they like me.
I mean, they gave me the job. So of course they like me. Of course they do. Getting the job is the hardest part, and I have the job now, so that means I’m past the hardest part. The part that comes next is the part where I just walk in, already totally liked. They will absolutely like me, no doubt about it.
Unless… They definitely meant to give me the job, right? Like this wasn’t some crazy clerical error or something? What if it was, and tomorrow they double-check the paperwork and realize their mistake? What if there is some other, more qualified candidate out there, patiently twiddling her thumbs awaiting a phone call that accidentally came to me instead? Maybe her name sounds like mine. Maybe her name is Sally. And on the day they made their selection, they had Susie’s resume and Sally’s resume side-by-side on a desk, and somebody wasn’t wearing their reading glasses and picked up the wrong one.
They won’t like me, they can’t like me. They only like Sally – That’s who they’ll be expecting. And I’ll walk in, glasses on, notepad in-hand, and they’ll gasp and look at each other sideways and try to decide the best way to tell me.
I bet Sally was blonde. I bet she was brilliant and experienced and totally comfortable in heels. She was educated and well spoken, and used words like “albeit” in everyday conversation. I’m sure she carried herself with confidence and poise, and never wondered about people liking her. Sally knows people like her. She’s Sally, for goodness sake. Sally was undoubtedly the right choice for this job. I could never, will never be as liked as Sally.
Maybe they won’t tell me. Maybe they’ll just swallow their error and live with it, and kick themselves forever for choosing this mediocre, second-best candidate. And I’ll always live with that knowledge, too. I will carry that truth around with me every day.
On Sally’s first day, she would probably have walked into the office with her head held high. She would exude total self-assurance. She would stroll gracefully to her new desk and fit into her new surroundings immediately. Everyone would love Sally.
I, on the other hand, am bound to give the worst first impression in human history. In all likelihood I’m going to walk in the front door and trip. First thing. And they’ll all shake their heads and sigh and think, “This is who we hired? This is what we have to live with now?” I will grip their hands too hard when I shake them, I will call someone by the wrong name, I will nod at all the wrong times in conversation.
And then, worst of all, they’re going to sit me down at a computer and say “Write!”
…And I will forget what words are. I will forget how a keyboard works. I will stare back at them, head cocked like an untrained puppy, and I will not know what to do or where to start or how on Earth to proceed. They will massage the bridge of their nose with their fingers, and palpable regret will fill the room like noxious gas.
These are the things I know to be true. Their certainty is absolute and inescapable. They are utter truths – Outright, undeniable facts.
…Unless of course, they did mean to hire me. And they do like me, after all. In which case…
Eat your heart out, Sally.