Thursday, September 25, 2014

Working Girl

During the three years I’ve lived in Spain and Russia, many people have erroneously assumed I am independently wealthy. At my college reunion, a guy who’d known me for all of five minutes asked, “So do you just have really rich parents or something?” A friend in Los Angeles, who knows me well enough to know that I am independently un-wealthy, still asks me how I afford to travel so much. I don’t know why this is such a mystery, but I’ll share my secret: I work.

While one would be hard-pressed to find a career trajectory in my assortment of past jobs, I do have to work for money just like everyone else. My parents are retired special ed teachers, which is not exactly the stuff of trust fund dreams, and “unpublished writers” do not make bank.  Now that I’m no longer being supported by a Fulbright grant, I have yet again returned to the working world. Or some facsimile thereof.

Without getting into specifics (I don’t want to lose my job, after all), I do have to get myself into an office every morning at 9am. Now that I don’t work from bed, I not only have to put on pants, I also have to meet the Russian dress code. In case we’ve forgotten how Russian women dress, let me just quote directly from a job ad my flatmate recently saw:
“Your look and appearance shall be that of a TOP MODEL, while your organizational and business skills shall be that of a TOP MANAGER.” 
As horrifying as that is, it’s also the implicit message you get as soon as you walk down the street in Moscow, which would explain my outfit for the day: 4-inch heels, a skirt with a slit up the side, and a sheer blouse. And somehow, even with an entire leg exposed, I still managed to be the most conservatively dressed female in the office.  

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