Exactly What You Wanted

Posted April 04, 2006 by

“What about you? You think you’re going to be around here for a while….”
“Are you happy here?”
“…For the most part, sure. Yeah. I should be around here for a while.”

It’s conversations like this you never expect to have with your boss at 8:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning. But here I am, and here he is, and here we are.
And I’m lying. I am lying through my teeth. I am lying right to this man’s face.
I guess I’m qualified to do that. I have a B.A. in theatre.
It’s month seven of this job, and I’ve been looking for a new one for about six of those. I’ve even had interviews in that period of time, and I’ve just always made up excuses as to why I couldn’t work: “Is it cool if I leave for lunch a little early today?” or “I know I’m taking Friday afternoon and Saturday off, but I was wondering if I could take all of Friday off too? My mom needs me to help her move some boxes in the basement before I go to visit my girlfriend.”
“The reason I’m asking is because I was at home last night thinking ‘Why did he have to leave work early yesterday? Does he have a job interview?’ Well, I thought I’d just flat out ask you.”
“No. I didn’t. I had an emergency I had to take care of in town, and it needed to be done before 4:30.”

Maybe he’s seen through my thinly veiled disguises. And all this time, I thought I was so clever. But this time in question—I really did have an emergency.
When I got home that Saturday afternoon, I started to wonder if I had done the right thing. I hadn’t expected that question to ever be asked of me, especially not at that time in the morning on a Saturday. For a moment, right after he asked me, time stood still, and I thought “well, here’s my chance to be honest.” I could have told him how unhappy I was, how I had been seriously looking for a new job and that I was hoping I would find one very soon. But what would all that honesty have gotten me?
My boss is a very unstable man. And ever since I started getting job interviews rather than “no thank you” letters, I started worrying about how the whole “we need to talk” conversation would go with him. Would he understand? Would he wish me well? Or would his face turn red? Would he say “F—k you,” and tell me to get out?
So when he confronted me, I took that split second when time stood still, and wondered if I wanted to have that conversation now. Or did I want to wait until I had another offer, when the risk of getting fired would give me more time to pack up my apartment?
I chose the lie. To make things easier on myself for the time being. To keep up the illusion that I’m happy with what I’m doing. And to make things harder for when I have to be honest with him.
It’s reminiscent of when I was younger, and I would do something wrong. I wouldn’t tell my mother about it, but when she found out about it, I would be in more trouble than I would have been if I had just told her when it happened.
Hopefully something new will come along—hopefully I will find my ticket out. It’s getting harder to keep this lie up for the time being.

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