The Communications Director was a great guy. He hired me, after all. So I kept going to him asking for more. I told him I wanted to maybe move to a different location. I wanted to write speeches. I wanted to conquer the world. He really was a sweetie but just didn't know what to do with me. Charlotte was a prime location. No one ever wanted to move. Including him. So he didn't get it.
I remember one epic conversation. He said "You are just like Barbra Streisand. She's such a great great singer. And now she wants to act. And now she wants to direct. Why can't she just be happy doing what she does best??" I sat there so frustrated. He didn't get it at all.
I went right into my buddy, Bernard's office and started whining and bitching and moaning and finally, when he had had enough he just looked me in the eye and said "But, Susan, he compared you to BARBRA STREISAND!"
So that got me through a month or two. I was still itchy. But I knew I wanted to stay at IBM. The money was great. And I was convinced there was a good future. I grabbed at anything that would distract me or give me a reason to hang on. One day, on the way home from work, I stopped at a Nisan dealer and bought the most expensive car on the lot. It had more bells and whistles than I was smart enough to operate and I borrowed the money to buy it so I had a stiff monthly payment to support. (FYI, I drove that car for the next 14 years.)
Meanwhile, I was distracted by Bernard. He was sick. Really sick. And no one knew what it was or how to fix it. And he was so depressed. He finally ended up in the hospital and once when I was visiting, I overheard two doctors agree that he wasn't getting out. It was horrible. I suspect not even the doctor's knew then - maybe later but it took me about 4 years to realize that he had died of AIDS.
I really wanted out now. I wanted new and I wanted it bad. Finally the Director came to me with an offer. Not the best. No speech writing. But, it was in New York. White Plains. Doing press for the real estate division. Doing press in IBM Communications was pretty big and getting an opportunity with zero experience in it in New York may not have been my first choice but was a plum offer. I packed my bags.
IBM packed everything else (even ashes from the ash tray). And on January 28, 1986, they loaded up all my stuff and my Nissan. I know the date exactly because I was in the living room with my tiny black and white TV watching the Challenger blow up. Time to get out of dodge.
To Be Continued