Last week, while I was at an anime convention with my husband, I received the telephone call I'd been waiting for for days. I'd been tentatively offered a position with the company that I'd applied to work for almost a month ago. They were offering me my dream job, spitting distance from my house, for $2000 more a year than I'd asked for.
All contingent, of course, upon successful completion of a drug test and background check.
I'm a goodie-goodie two shoes. A wild night for me involves grabbing one too many beers, having a friend drive me home, and passing out in bed. I can't smoke anything nor can I stand to be around anyone smoking anything stronger than a hookah with flavored tobacco. I don't even have as much as a speeding ticket to my name.
So why am I so nervous?
My husband went out on a brief analyst limb and says I'm freaking out because this job opportunity (and the pay) are both so good that I feel I don't actually deserve it. I'm not sure that's the case. I have self confidence in spades (getting told you're gifted as a child helps a bit in that respect) and this is exactly the position my recently completed master's degree has trained me to do. I'm excited because the company is good and the job is fantastic.
I think my nervousness stems precisely because I am a goodie-goodie two shoes. I was the kid who never broke the rules. I never got detention in high school, and my school was famous for handing out detentions like candy. When I got into trouble due to credit card debt as a young adult, I sought help and diligently paid off every penny - and have lived a nearly pure cash existence ever since. I go to the doctor every year, and I allowed the dentist to perform over a dozen root canals and crown treatments over the years because she said it needed to be done and I trusted her. I haven't downloaded an MP3 in years, aside from freely available podcasts. I tip whenever I am expected to. I drive the speed limit and always turn on my turn signal. I report spamming Facebook accounts. I feel guilty any time I call out sick from work.
I'm taking this final background check and drug test as a judgement of my personal morals and character. There no reason for me not to pass the drug check, but what if I said something wrong, such as mentioning I'd drunk a lot of water before going? (Nothing worse than being asked to pee in a cup and being too wound up to pee at all for an hour.) What if my previous employers, all of whom swear I'm eligible for rehire, suddenly decide they didn't like me at all?
I'm going to be nervous and anxious and terrified until these final two hurdles have passed, simply because I will never get another opportunity this close to home, that pays this well, ever again.
If these last two steps, this judgement of my fiscal, ethical, and physical character somehow fall through, I don't think I'm ever going to recovery from the devastation.
How much power our employers have over us!