It was my first interview in years and I was running late – not seriously late, but time had marched forwards, leaving me with about 30 minutes to get dressed, shovel on some make-up and find my portfolio at the back of the cupboard.
I may have put a little more mascara on than usual, because my pink-rimmed eyes looked like I’d been up all night (which is not surprising, because I had). I’d landed back in Dubai at 6am that morning, slept a little and was heading down to Media City for an interview on a fashion magazine.
It had to be that afternoon; it was the only time they could do. And, while a part of me yelled, ‘You’re a mum now. What do you think you’re doing? You left the high-profile stuff behind years ago,” I was excited – the thought of working once again on a beautiful glossy magazine setting my brain alight with possibilities.
As I waited nervously in the foyer, I marvelled at the rows of magazines on display, the glamorous receptionist, the fake-smile PR girl flicking her blonde hair and the overall swishness of the place.
The editor appeared, looking trim and trendy in a metallic skirt, and led me to the canteen. Decked out in white, my eyes were drawn to the green, grass-like herbs on the formica counters, the ping-pong table and the view outside.
You could even get a massage upstairs (I’m not kidding). It beat my kitchen, where I boil the kettle and battle endlessly to feed my children, hands down.
We seemed to get along; she was nice, interested (and at least didn’t take one look at my hurriedly thrown together outfit and rather dated boots and step back into the elevator).
But there were some stumbling blocks.
“We sometimes have to work at the weekend,” she told me, eyeing me squarely. “I realise you have children, but I need to know you wouldn’t let us down.”
“Umm, that should be okay,” I faltered, “although if my husband and nanny are gone, I’m really stuck,” I blurted.
“I’ll be in touch later,” she said at the end. And sure enough she was – with a writing test she wanted by the next day.
I did the test and sent it at 1.30am, ploughing through severe fatigue, but jet lag at least working in my favour (the position, covering a two-month absence, was to start on Monday, hence the urgency).
And you know what? They haven’t even been in touch. I don’t need to tell you that it’s Tuesday today, and that the deafening silence obviously means I was rejected.
But it would have been nice to have been told [she says, in a depressed little voice].
My DH tells me not to worry, that something else – more family friendly – will come along if a proper, more regular job is what I want, and can’t fully understand why I’m so upset. “I’m a mummy, not an Airbus,” I tell him. “There’s no quick-fix for a mummy who’s conflicted about her career being in tatters.”
And then my mum’s words (of reason) come into my head. “These things, they tend to work out for the best, you know,” she says.
She’s right, isn’t she?
EDITED TO ADD: I finally heard from them – still a big fat ‘no’, but feel so much better to know the reason!