I got a strange email the other day. Mike left kind of abruptly. He told us on a Monday that Thursday would be his last day. So there was no going away party or any goodbyes or exchanging information to stay in touch, he really just left.
And I was really surprised when Mike’s name popped up in my work inbox. The email said: “Reese, I just want to make sure we have each other’s contact information. I’d like to stay in touch. Here’s my number and email.”
We already had each other’s phone numbers and email so it was weird that he would say that. And also weird that he wanted to stay in contact. It’s not like we were super close when we worked together or anything (I didn’t even think he liked me).
I sent a picture of the email to Brady and said, “What do I say?”
“Just thank him for the information and move on. I’m sure it’s harmless,” Brady said back.
So I did exactly that.
Scott has really been prepping me for the new job – even doing mock interview questions with me. And surprisingly, all of his help has been making me want the job. I thought the opposite would happen. Apparently the New York people asked him a ton of questions about me before he even threw my name in the hat and wanted to know about my interest level. But I was under the impression that they still needed to interview me.
Lexi texted me telling me about this guy she met – a chef at a restaurant here in Chicago – and she wanted me to meet him. So the plan was to go with his restaurant and then he’d make an appearance at the bar and have a drink with us. We invited Alyssa to come with us and we met at Lexi’s apartment before Ubering to the restaurant. Alyssa had already met the chef, but wasn’t sure about him and was eager to hear my opinion. Honestly, anyone who wasn’t my boyfriend’s married brother I approved of.
After we finished our (phenomenal, superb, perfect, divine, etc) meal, a skinny little guy with a weird hipster mustache sauntered over to our table. He was probably 5’5” and 20 pounds lighter than me with a man bun and big round frame glasses.
“Victor!” Lexi moaned and jumped up to hug him.
I watched as they hugged and she pulled away and kissed him then turned to us.
“Reese, this is Chef Victor,” she said.
“Hi, Chef Victor,” I said. I stood up to greet him and he seemed bored with me already.
“Babe, I was telling Reese about your restaurant you want to open and she loves it. She’s so into that kind of stuff,” Lexi said.
Victor gave Lexi and me the most unamused smirk. “Cool.”
I wanted to smack him. Lexi had told me about his silly little restaurant idea where there wouldn’t be a menu just a series of questions about what mood you are in that the chef will use to decide what to serve you. It was basically a real life Buzzfeed quiz and he didn’t even appreciate my fake support.
He stayed and had a beer with us and then insisted he needed to go test recipes with another chef. They needed to come up with new and innovative ideas for the new restaurant he told us.
As we were walking out, Lexi asked, “So what did you think?”
Recently, I realized it doesn’t matter what I think of someone else’s boyfriend. I don’t have to date them. I remember I used to give so much unsolicited advice and opinions to my friends about their men and like, how annoying. Like Kendra’s husband John, after he cheated on her, I couldn’t stand him and would always talk shit about him and tell Kendra she deserved better. And now look at how happy she is. What do I know?
“If you’re happy then I’m happy for you,” I said.
“So you hate him too,” Alyssa said. “I knew you would.”
“Alyssa,” I said disapprovingly, sounding like a teacher.
“Lexi can do better!” she whined.
I really wanted to say, “Would you rather her be with a married man who actually has no real interest in her?” but I didn’t. That’s mean.
Scott and I had a meeting so I could go over the business strategy I created for the job. He asked me a ton of probing, hypothetical questions that I could possibly be asked – just to get me thinking. And it was stuff I’ve never even thought about so it was helpful. Afterward, Scott suggested we go grab lunch.
“So I just want to talk to you about something,” Scott said after we sat down with sandwiches and soup.
“The job is yours if you want it. Everyone already knows you and the only approval we need is mine.”
“But before you say yes, I want to set some expectations.”
“I’d love to hear them,” I said, trying not to sound sarcastic.
“You’re probably one of the hardest working people in the Chicago office. I don’t want that to change. I want you to continue doing everything you’ve done to get where you are now.”
“And I want you to take this seriously. Everything you say, everything you do, every decision you make, it’ll have an impact on this business. I want you to understand that.”
Scott has a tendency to be a bit dramatic and I knew he probably didn’t have this same conversation with Monica when she was promoted. But I knew he was right.
“I know, Scott. But that’s what I want. I want to impact that business. That’s why I’m here!”
“This is a big job that I know you can do and be successful in. And I want that for you. If you want it.”
“Well, I’m going to have to think about it obviously,” I said.
Scott’s eyes lit up. “And here’s how much I’m offering you, if you take the job.” He pulled out his phone and typed something into his Notes then turned it around to show me. The amount was about $32,000 more than I’m currently making. It made me wonder if I’m even worth that much. I started having visions of all the things I could do with a new higher salary, like more vacations and actually saving enough money to buy a condo. “I’ll send you an offer letter today and I want you to take the night to think it over before you sign it.”
When I got back to the office, I texted Brady saying, “I was just offered a promotion I think.”
“Congratulations! Let’s celebrate this weekend,” Brady said.
Brady’s new thing is to only hang out with me on the weekends now. I won’t hear from him at all during the week (unless I reach out to him) and then come Friday night, he’s obsessed with me and is super sweet and attentive and makes plans for our future. It’s so weird and frustrating.
I called him after work though because I wanted advice. I explained to him everything Scott said.
“So I don’t know. This is what I want, I think, but what if I’m not ready? Like what if I’m not good?” I said.
“Why wouldn’t you be good? You’ve done this for years. You will be great,” Brady said back.
“You think so?” I loved that he thought I’d be good, even though I can be dumb and irresponsible.
“Of course. And Scott isn’t going to offer you a job he doesn’t think you’re capable of. I don’t know why you’re doubting yourself. You know you’re amazing at what you do.”
“You’re so right,” I realized.
“How much did they offer you?” Brady asked.
I told him and he said, “You should counter and ask for a little more. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.”
“Really?” I thought asking for more money seemed a little greedy.
“Yes. You’ll have a ton more responsibility and be doing so much more. If Scott really thinks you’re worth it, he will do it.”
So the next afternoon after lunch, I stopped by Scott’s office. I hadn’t heard from him or seen him since our lunch meeting and I was actually surprised that he hadn’t reached out at all.
“Heya, Reese! How’s your day?” he greeted me.
“Hey. Can we talk?” I said.
“Of course. Close the door.”
I closed the door and sat. “So I’ve been thinking. And I think I want to take the job.”
“That’s great news!” Scott exclaimed.
“But I think I’d like to negotiate the salary,” I continued.
Scott looked surprised. “Oh? How much do you want?”
I actually hadn’t even thought about an amount. I just followed Brady’s instructions to ask for more. I wished he was there to tell me how much was appropriate.
“Well, I’ll let you decide that. However much you think I’m worth. I’m coming upon my two year anniversary here and I’ve done a lot. I even helped out with Monica when she was chosen over me last time. Just keep that in mind,” I said.
“Let me sit down and look at some numbers and then I’ll get back to you this afternoon. You know I would give you a million dollars if I could, Reese. You’re worth so much more than I can ever offer you,” he said.
I rolled my eyes and got up to leave, but I’ll admit, I smiled a little too hard on my way out. Scott sent me a revised offer letter right before I left for the day, offering me $2,000 more than the first offer. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it was still more. And I took it without consulting with Brady first.
So I’ve officially been promoted. I had a week of training with Scott, but I haven’t officially started in my new role yet. He keeps emphasizing that he wants me to take my role seriously and he wants me to continue working hard. Now I’m in charge of global sales, product development and vendor relationships. I’ll have four teams under me and I’ve already asked Scott for an assistant. Like it’s a lot of work and I want to be good at it, unlike Monica. Sure, she left because she found a new job, but she was looking for a new job because she couldn’t handle the pressure.
On Sunday night, I asked Brady what he wanted to do for Valentine’s Day.
“Oh, when is it?” he asked, looking confused.
“Wednesday. I can’t believe you haven’t planned anything for me yet,” I said.
“Wednesday. I completely forgot honestly. I don’t know if I’ll get off work in time to do anything. We can celebrate next weekend though, if you want?”
After him avoiding me during the week for two weeks, I was furious.
“Seriously? It’s one day out of the week and you know how important Valentine’s Day is to me. It’s not like I’m asking for a lot, it’s literally just one night I want to spend with you,” I said.
“Okay, okay. I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try to get off early that day,” Brady said, sounding frustrated with me. And then I was mad at him for being frustrated.
I assumed Brady wasn’t going to be able to get the night off or wouldn’t even try, so I had to look around for other plans. Literally all of my other friends are coupled off so that didn’t leave me many options. But Brady texted me on Tuesday night asking if I would more in the mood for Italian or steak. Steak obviously.
He ended up taking me to one of my favorite steakhouses in Chicago – I’m actually super surprised that he was able to get a reservation on Valentine’s Day. It made me wonder if he actually made the reservation months ago and the whole “I don’t know if I can get off work” was an act. But he also got me a gift card as a gift which seemed last minute to me. Brady usually takes pride in picking out gifts for me.
I don’t know about Brady. Like, I love him and I love when are together, but the way our relationship is not what I want. I want to do everything together and I feel like these days I never know if we are going to hang out or if he has other plans or if he will be working late. I don’t like having so much doubt. It’s getting to the point that I don’t even want to ask to see him because I don’t want to get rejected. I don’t like not knowing if he actually likes me or just likes me when it’s convenient (like on the weekends). Sometimes he makes me feel so amazing and special and sometimes he makes me feel like he doesn’t even think about me. It’s so strange and I don’t like feeling like this.
Kendra and John are going out on a date this weekend and asked me to babysit. I am honestly so excited about it, especially since I talked Brady into helping me. I can’t wait to see him with the baby.