I could have had a job today.

I went to an interview at a national department store this afternoon. After I filled out the application, it became clear that I was an excellent candidate; unlike the other applicants, I was interviewed by a cheerful saleslady rather than the slightly grumpy HR person, and both women who looked at my resume were very enthusiastic about my education.

“How do you feel about starting…really soon?” the saleslady asked, and I could tell that “really soon” meant “today, if you’re up to it”.

Really,” I said. (You know, the kind of really that’s a question but doesn’t sound like one.)

“Well, we’ve lost some people due to health reasons, and it’s so busy, we need someone now.”

I considered. “There’s nothing stopping me from starting immediately; I don’t have anything else going on. But I was planning on going back to Kentucky for Christmas.”

Do you see that, there? The part where I threw the job out the window? Yeah.

As I drove home, I felt terrible. What should I have done? I asked myself. Cancelled Christmas?

Maybe I should have, if it meant I would finally be gainfully employed.

I got home, checked the mail (It’s a Wonderful Life just arrived from Netflix), let the dogs out, and sat down to whine on my blog about rocks and hard places.

Then my cell phone rang.

“Hi!” came the cheerful male voice on the other end. “This is So-and-So with Regional Magazine. I was wondering if we could get together and talk this week.”

I was referred to this gentleman weeks ago; he’d said he’d call me when he was ready to hire. Now, apparently, he is. I’d be doing page layout and design for hundreds of magazine pages, on a deadline, but with great hours in a laid-back atmosphere.

We set up a lunch meeting for Thursday.

Just think. I could have had a job today.