Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Adventures in Job Offers

So yesterday I received another job offer over the phone, this time from Los Alamos. It felt a lot like an 18th-century marriage proposal.

Imagine a book by Jane Austen, in which a lonely widower, kindly but socially awkward, decides to propose to a lively young woman. He walks to her home and knocks on the door. The manservant, Bill, answers the door. He seats the middle-aged gentleman in the parlor, where he waits for the young woman's arrival.

Bill: Miss Rebecca, [the German-American guy] from Los Alamos National Lab is here to see you.
Miss Rebecca: Thank you, Bill. I will be right there.

[After a few moments, Miss Rebecca enters the parlor. The lonely Los Alamos-American widower stands and bows, and she curtsies. Then they both take a seat, she on the couch and he on an armchair.]

Widower: How are you today?
Miss Rebecca: Fine, thank you. And you?
Him: Fine, thank you. Listen, I'm calling to see if you're still interested in working for us.
Rebecca: Yes I am.
Him: Good. Because we would like to offer you a job. [He kneels in front of her and takes her hand.]
Rebecca: Oh, that's great!
Him: I talked to my boss about you. I told him I'd been looking for someone like you for nearly four years. He told me that he would be willing to pay for the balance of your salary from his funds if our budget doesn't come through.
Rebecca: Why, thank you.
Him: You are exactly what I've been looking for. You answered all my questions so well.
Rebecca: Thanks for the compliment, but to be honest, your questions weren't very hard.
Him: Oh, I know. I could have asked much harder questions. But I'd lost hope of ever finding someone who could answer even the simplest questions correctly. I was very impressed by you. That should make you feel very pleased.
Rebecca: Yes, I am very pleased about that. Thank you.
Him: [Returning to his chair] But you mustn't feel obligated to me for this. You must make a decision for yourself.
Rebecca: Of course!
Him: If you chose to accept, how soon could you come work for us?
Rebecca: Well, I have a few things to finish up here. I need to deposit my dissertation and I need to sell my house. So I would need a couple of weeks.
[Eventually they negotiate a timeframe for the offer.]
Him: You should expect to receive an offer from us in about two weeks.
Rebecca: Okay, that's great! I'm looking forward to it.
Him: Okay. Just don't give up on me in those two weeks. Give me the time to do all the paperwork.
Rebecca: Don't worry. I understand.
Him: Good. But listen, you are under no obligation to accept my offer. You need to figure out what is best for you and your future. I would be very pleased if you accepted, but don't take my feelings into consideration when you make your decision. It is all up to you.
Rebecca: Yes, I understand. Thank you for saying that. I am looking forward to receiving the offer.
Him: Okay. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Rebecca: Okay. Thanks for calling. [She stands.]
Him: You're welcome. Goodbye. [He stands and kisses her hand.]
Rebecca: Goodbye. [She curtsies, he bows, and takes his leave.]


Laura said...

Hee hee. Very elegant. So... is Los Alamos more like Mr. Collins or Mr. Darcy? ;-)

rachel said...


Sounds like his manners are impeccable, but is he really a man of means and standing? ;-)