The Interview Chronicles: Day One
Today, I'm headed to the Ladies Retreat I've been telling you about. It's a five hour drive down, two night stay, and a five hour drive back (funny how that works out the same for both ends of the trip). At some point this weekend, I will be dressed like a pirate. Just sayin'.
I'll be completely offline until Sunday (okay, I'll have my phone, but somehow, I don't see myself live-tweeting a spiritual retreat). This really won't be that different to any of you because I'm not so great on the consistency thing. Anyway, I thought I would tell you a quick (heh...) story about an interview I had yesterday. In case you missed my purposefully hidden announcement, I resigned from my job on Monday. I was hoping to hand my boss my resignation and make him so angry (he is easily angered and I figured that removing his opportunity to fire me and/or make my life more miserable was enough of a trigger) that he would kick me out then and there. But he said that he was fine with me finishing out my notice period. So my joy must be put on hold until October 15th.
In the meantime, Lazy Coworker is plumbing the depths of her Passive-Aggressive superpowers (she's pissed that she'll be alone and her unwillingness to work will be much more obvious) and has made up a list of things that must be accomplished before I leave. Including things that fall squarely within her job description and duties. She actually said to me today, "Well, I just need you to do it. Because I don't want to have to do it later." So that's how that's going. Luckily, The Jerk is out of town until after the 15th, which means that I only have to deal with her and really? What's the worst that can happen? They ask me to leave earlier? They can't actually FIRE me, since I already quit. It's rather liberating, actually...
Strangely (not that strangely, considering I'm pretty sure that the Lord was guiding me to leave this job), I got a all on Tuesday for a job interview. It was a position I applied for about a month ago (somewhere only slightly tangentially related to either my current field or my field of study) and had completely written off because? If they don't call after a month, they usually aren't going to call. Then, out of the blue, they call and must.have.me.come.in.as!soon!as!possible! So we scheduled it for 4:00 pm yesterday. I thought it was strange that they would wait so long and then be so urgent. The reason was pretty obvious once I got in the interview, though.
I show up fifteen minutes early, because I think that makes for a good first impression. The nice young woman at the front desk says it would be a few minutes and then my interviewer would be out. I sit gingerly on the edge of a very uncomfortable chair, trying not to be nervous or look anything other than COMPETENT and EMPLOYABLE. I am unsure what either of those things translate to when only judged in posture, so I'm pretty sure I fail at this interview before I have met anyone other than the receptionist. Then the door opens and out walks... A fashion tragedy. Now, any of you who have been reading for any length of time have probably realized that my fashion sense falls squarely in the covered-in-all-the-right-places-clean-and-mostly-matching-comfortable crowd. But this man. Oh. My. Word.
He was a 62-year-old (he told me later, when he said he quit drinking 12 years ago and bars stopped being that fun) white guy, wearing high-water tapered-leg acid-wash jeans. His baggy short-sleeved button-down was loudly orange and red, with some kind of knock-off African tribal pattern (although it could have been Native American designs... I tried not to look too closely at it for fear of losing my retinas). His hair was grey and curly. In a low pony-tail (how many HYPHENS will I have to use?!) ending somewhere below his shoulder blades. OH! And! Loafers with dingy white gym socks, the ones with the colored bands at the ankle.
Color me impressed.
Did I mention that this was a professional office, in the public sector, and that this man was a lawyer? A lawyer that occasionally has to go into COURT? Before a JUDGE? TO REPRESENT SOMEONE ELSE'S INTERESTS? And that he's the head of this entire office? GAH!
Anyway, we head into his office, which is incredibly cluttered and all of the walls are jammed with a strange assortment of personal photos, framed papers that DO NOT look like degrees, and abstract paintings. I perch on the edge of his giant pink floral patterned couch. I position myself to be directly in front of his desk chair when he inevitably spins it around to face me. HA! He cannot be PREDICTED!!! He chooses one of the side chairs next to the couch so that I have to swivel and perch parallel with the edge of the cushions, one butt cheek on, one butt cheek off. He sits on the edge of the chair, but then leans all the way back until his shoulders are against the back of the chair and his head hits the wall (and I do mean "hits" as in shook all of his ridiculously framed "art"). Slouching as if he could not POSSIBLY care less about anything, ever, he rests an ankle on one knee and begins to ask me questions.
Questions that he seems more intent on answering himself, instead of hearing about me. I get interrupted almost immediately. And then again. And we're off on a tangent! I try to swing us back around to the original question. He's not having it. I figure it's his interview to conduct how he wants, so I wait patiently for him to stop talking and very politely agree with whatever he's been saying (to show I was listening), then answer the original question anyway. We get through a few more questions, with him telling ME more about what my current (soon to be PAST!) employment is like than I am actually telling him. And he's partially right, but also frequently wrong. I try to gently correct, so as to avoid leaving an impression about my abilities that I cannot live up to and/or an impression about my experience that would disqualify me for the position when my experiences are ACTUALLY QUITE DIFFERENT THANK YOU and make me an excellent candidate for this job. At some point, I wonder if I'm really needed at this interview at all.
We're probably about five minutes in when he drops the first swear word. The F-Bomb, too. No easing in, no preparation. Just BAM! There it is. And not like a test, to see if I'm a) professional enough to discourage this kind of behavior OR b) professional enough to pretend it didn't happen. Nope. He's just talking all casually, so laid back and chill that I would not be surprised if he pulled out a joint and asked if I wanted to toke with him. He's often not looking at me at all. HE occasionally plays with his sock or his pony-tail.
Ten minutes later, my thighs and back are starting to ache from holding my body at such an odd angle, but it's weird to move NOW, because it would probably require some awkward half-standing shuffle to flop my rear end firmly in the center of the cushion and also I would then have to put my feet out straight in front of me on the couch and lean my back against the arm rest and I JUST DON'T THINK THAT IS APPROPRIATE INTERVIEW BEHAVIOR. So I endure, nodding and smiling at his strange stories that are somewhat related to the question he just asked, but not exactly and SHOULDN'T I BE THE ONE TALKING? He delves into a character analysis of a nerdy woman on 24, which he's recently started watching on DVD, since he hasn't watched television in "many, many years."
This is about the time he drops another swear word, one that spends a lot of its time with the word "bull," although it wasn't keeping its company that day. By the end of the HOUR, I have talked very little, but I am ALL TOO AWARE of the unfairness of the budget he has been working with SINCE NINETEEN NINETY-THREE. And also of how awesome he thinks he is, but doesn't say out loud. His self-satisfaction just seems to ooze out of his very skin with every sleepy-eyed nod and casual shoulder shrug.
He tells me that he hopes to finish the interviews by the end of this week and make his recommendation sometime next week. Because he's leaving for a three-week vacation at the end of next week. "So, yeah... If, uh, I haven't, uh, made my decision by then, we'll probably just, uh, put it off until the end of, uh, October. So, yeah... Don't worry if you haven't, uh, heard from us by then..."
I'm pretty sure (not COMPLETELY SURE, but like 90% sure) that I will not be taking that job if they, uh, offer it to me at the end of, uh, October. It's just this feeling I have.