The rest of the interview went without further mishaps. Manager Quan’s attitude remained the same throughout so when Li Ming walked out of the office later and said goodbye to the receptionist, he couldn’t help but hope that things would work out.
Being able to be himself and not having to hide his orientation was definitely one of the most important points to him. But even among the companies that would not discriminate against queer people, the atmosphere would vary greatly.
He had been aware of that from the beginning but had figured that he wouldn’t care much either way. He had worked at different places after all and even though he had been especially comfortable at the railroad station, he had figured that another type of workplace would be alright as well.
Seeing the attitude of Manager Quan in the interview though, he wasn’t sure of that anymore. Yes, he could work anywhere. In fact, even if he wouldn’t like it, he could also just never talk about his private life with coworkers and keep his distance if he were to work at a place that wasn’t as open-minded. He couldn’t help but hope for more though.
To work somewhere that would accept him for who he was and that being a place that also had a warm and familial atmosphere just like it had been at the railroad station … Yes, that would be incredible. And even though it might be unlikely to find such a place on his first try and be accepted there, he still hoped for it.
For the time being though, he could do nothing but wait. He had done his best so he didn’t dwell on it. Seeing as it was still early, he went back home instead, grabbed his laptop, and started to work on that online course he had started.
If he had done well in the interview and was actually accepted, then he might be able to start soon. Even if it hadn’t been enough, one of the other applications might net him another interview that could work out better. Until then, he should finish this.
Having a task that he could focus on, Li Ming indeed managed not to think too much about how the interview had gone. The thought crossed his mind every now and then but he figured that having to wait for a few days at the very least should be normal so not hearing back immediately wasn’t a bad sign.
He also continued to look up the companies that his friends had suggested. Even if one of the applications he had already sent worked out, it couldn’t hurt to keep these names in mind for later. After all, it was unlikely that he would stay at one place for the rest of his life. After a few years, he would likely start looking for something else again even if he was happy there. This was what he had decided on previously, after all.
In this way, Li Ming’s time was spent between his last course and his applications, as well as the usual things he did every day. He also made it a point to take some time to catch up with friends and visit his parents, not wanting the relationship that they had just rekindled to collapse again.
After a week had gone by, his phone finally rang, showing the caller ID from the hotel that he had saved. He stared at it for a heartbeat before hurriedly taking the call.
“Mister Li?” Manager Quan sounded exactly the same as on the day of their interview, making Li Ming’s tight nerves relax somewhat.
“Manager Quan, it’s me, yes.” He was pretty sure that this call should be about whether or not he was accepted. It was hard to guess which way things would go but, at the very least, he wouldn’t have to wait any longer. Even if they said no, that would be easier to come to terms with than always needing to wait.
“Well, it’s about the job you applied for. When would you have time to come and sign the contract? Would tomorrow be alright?”
Li Ming closed his eyes and suppressed a sigh of relief. “Tomorrow? Sure. Just tell me the time and I’ll be there.” Thankfully, his schedule was flexible right now so this wouldn’t be a problem no matter which time Manager Quan wanted him to come in.
With Li Ming not needing to take anything else into consideration, the two of them came to an understanding without trouble and the next day, Li Ming stood in the hotel’s lobby right on time.
The guy behind the reception was the same as the last time and he flashed him a smile. “Well, looks like we’ll be colleagues from now on. If you have any questions, you can always come to me. I’ve been here for three years already so I know my way around.”
“Thank you. I’m looking forward to working here.” Li Ming smiled and couldn’t help but glance at the door to Manager Quan’s office.
The receptionist also motioned over. “Manager Quan’s already in. Just go over. When it comes to the people working here, he pretty much has an open-door policy. If you need anything, just go and knock. You’ll never get in trouble for that.”
“Thanks again. Then I’ll be back in a minute.” He nodded at the other man and then indeed went over to knock.
Just like he had been told, he was called in and Manager Quan directly waved the contract at him.
“You’re here! Come on over. Let’s sign, let’s sign.”
Li Ming smiled brightly and went over to sit down. “I’m happy to be able to work here.”
“Well, welcome on the team!” Manager Quan handed him a pen with a similarly bright smile.
Li Ming accepted it without a second thought and signed the paper, looking at the ink that slowly dried with satisfaction.
The past year had been an up and down. A lot had gone wrong but he had grown as a person. Life wasn’t perfect now but it never was and despite everything that had happened, he was happier, much happier than he had been before.
This new experience, he was looking forward to it. But no matter how it really went, it would be one step further in the right direction and that was all he was looking for. Either way, he felt that he was a lucky guy and he didn’t have any regrets about what had happened. In the end, maybe everything had turned out exactly the way it had been supposed to be.