5. Ignore this comment and the other comments, questions, and emails that follow about how his marriage might be breaking up, and would he be a hot commodity on the dating market, as simply the awkward ramblings of a Man in a Vulnerable Place. Focus on the job. You want this job. You think he’s offering you $65,000 to jump ship, which is less than you’re earning now, but the new paper has greater reach and is a better opportunity, so maybe you can work hard and prove your mettle, just like at the last job, and get a raise in the future.
6. Go back to your boss at the online magazine and tell them you’ve been offered a new job, and you’re going to take it.
7. Write to the Big Important Male Editor and tell him you’d like to take his job offer.
8. Get a confusing email back that says, “I’m not even sure there IS an offer! I am a slow mover. I have never edited you and I don’t know how you’d fit in here yet. I know you can write like a bastard, and I can see that your work ethic is positively amish [sic]. But I would need to know you better before making an offer. That said, somewhere in the 62,5 range and if I changed Pizza Tuesday to Alpo Tuesday, maybe 65. Benefits are good though.”
9. Be utterly baffled. “Know you better”? Isn’t this about your work? And didn’t he write you out of the blue on Facebook because he liked your work? Write back that he did, in fact, offer you $65,000 a year over lunch.
10. Get another confusing email back that says, “I’d have to work with you a bit first—edit a story or two and discuss story ideas.” Panic. Start looking for a new job.
11. Offer the Big Important Male Editor a 1,500-word essay you were going to give to More magazine for a fraction of the cost—$500 instead of More’s $3,000—just to build goodwill and prove that yes, you do want this job. Deal?
12. Get this email back from the editor: “Deal. But don’t walk around mad that you’re $2,500 short. You’re a single mom and I ain’t looking to take food out of your kids’ mouths. You’re not going to hurt my feelings or cool our fast-growing ardor by taking Meredith’s dough.”
13. Ignore the weird comment about “our fast-growing ardor” and write back simply: “Nope. Promise. Won’t be mad. Like I said, building goodwill is important, I get that.” Deliberately mention in further emails that you are dating someone wonderful right now, so he’ll get the hint that you’re not interested in his “ardor.” You just want the job.
14. The Big Important Male Editor sends an email with the heading “We need a name for column QUICK.” Jump up and down with glee. You have your own column! Yes, you have had to find another job as a VP at a PR firm to pay your bills, since the offer of full-time employment is no longer there, but if you work hard enough, you think, you can land the columnist job full-time.