When I was in my thirties, a “headhunter” called me to ask whether I knew anyone for the editor’s job at Better Homes & Gardens. “What about me?” I chirped up, knowing full well that they were using the question as a ploy to discover if I was interested. That’s the way it worked back in the day, when jobs were actually available.
At the time, I was an editor at an important trade newspaper in the home furnishings industry, so I would have made a perfect editor for a consumer magazine. It was a plus that I knew all the major manufacturers and retailers in the industry, from Carl Sondheimer, who brought the Cuisinart food processor to the US from France, to Marvin Traub, who was chairman of Bloomingdale’s.
When the headhunter heard that I might be interested, he said the job had a six- figure salary, which was phenomenal. He set up an interview for me.
The magazine, by the way, was located in Des Moines, Iowa. When I discussed it with my husband that evening, he joked, “With that salary, you could be mayor of the city. And we could live in a big house” (we lived in a modest one-bedroom apartment in New York City with a one-year-old). Douglas was ready to pack up and move.
Not so quick, Doug. I didn’t think I could go from being a city girl to a country girl. I didn’t want to own a house. Besides, I thrived at Fairchild Publications, where I worked, because it encouraged individualism.
The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to stay just where I was. I cancelled the interview. I’m thrilled I did. I continued to grow and learn and to be presented with new opportunities.
Today, I was chatting with my colleagues about “lost opportunities” and I thought there really is no such thing. Only optimists think they lost a chance to do something.