I wish "600" was just a random, very large number used for humorous purposes to illustrate that I have been at this job search thing for a while. Like whenever Sister's friend has to tell someone her weight, she says 1512 pounds or, alternately, 17 pounds since neither can be true and people laugh and forget they asked her a terribly rude question like, "How much do you weigh?" But, alas, it is the real number (if we're counting from here, which I am, so there). So. That's...fun.
Anyway, I told the Internet I had an interview coming up and then promptly stopped talking to the Internet about jobs at all (even on my non-blog, real-name social media sites where people from home look to find out how I'm doing). So here's the story, as best as I can tell it without revealing the company or the industry and without sounding like a giant blog of "and then I did this and then I did that and then I misused the word interesting about seven times and then BORED."
Several weeks ago, I got a call for a "pre-interview phone screening" which was apparently just their fancy way of saying "We'll have an HR rep ask you all the usual interview questions, which they will type up and give to your interviewer (should you be chosen for an interview) and he will only glance at them and then ask you all the same questions over again. Just for funsies." At least, that was my experience. I answered all of the questions for a particular position and the HR lady was very nice and personable and we had a good rapport. I don't know if that matters at all, but I'd like to think it's a good thing. It can't hurt, anyway.
An hour after that call, she called me back and said, "The whole time you were answering my questions, I was thinking you'd be great for this other position. And I see that you've applied for that one as well. Can I screen you for that one, too?" Like I was going to say no. Plus, do you know how gratifying it is for someone to call you and tell you that your skills MADE them think of a place for you at their company? That was pretty nice. So I answered a lot of the same questions, which I had to remember all of my good answers from before since she was re-typing them because they were going to a completely different department. Luckily, SHE remembered some of the good things I said and actually prompted me a few times. I sent her a Thank You Card, because she is awesome. Hands down, best person I've met through this whole job hunting experience.
Anyway, about a week later, she called me and set up an in-person interview for the second position (I've never heard another word about the first one). Apparently, the Executive Director's schedule was pretty tight, so she offered me two dates, both three weeks out. Which is unusual in my experience, but it's not like I'm going to turn it down. Unfortunately, this lead to three weeks of me talking myself in and out of being qualified for the position. My interview nerves are pretty bad in the best of circumstances, so I'm amazed my head didn't explode at some point in those weeks.
After a lot of mental rehearsing and wardrobe choosing, Thursday arrived. I put on my big girl panties, figured out how to navigate the unfamiliar interstate highways (Far Northerner, remember?), and went to the interview. And it went seemingly well. I mean, it's ME, so there were still a lot of awkward moments and talking with my hands (read: one step short of flailing). Since my barometer of what makes an interview good is obviously not properly calibrated (I've thought some went REALLY well and others terribly and they all resulted in me not getting the job), I couldn't really answer everyone's question of "How'd it go?" But I also didn't spend days agonizing over every little flub and wishing I'd said more or less on particular subjects. So I felt like that was pretty positive.
And the director seemed nice enough. He was a little intense at turns--he kept a cot in his office--but also kind of blase about things--he made light jokes about the weaknesses of the organization. But all in all, he seemed decent and I could see myself working for him. And let's face it, as much as I don't want to get into another terrible boss situation, I also REALLY NEED A JOB. Anyway, I felt like it went as well as it possibly could have. He said he had another interview the next week, but that he'd make a decision by the end of that week.
I got a call on Wednesday from the HR department. As soon as the woman identified herself, I braced for rejection. It was too early in the week. Plus, my default expectation is disappointment (like that's news to anyone). And just as I suspected, she did not offer me the job.
No, instead, she informed me that the man I had met with six days ago was "no longer with the organization" and asked if I would be willing to come in and re-interview with another executive. So. That's weird, right? Seriously, I have been puzzling over this for days. I met with him in the afternoon on Thursday and I got the call in the morning the following Wednesday. What could have happened in three business days? He was the executive director of a large organization. They don't usually up and quit. If he'd been planning it, he wouldn't have scheduled the interview. If they were trying to fire him before that, they wouldn't have let him take the interview. So my guess is he went out in some kind of hailstorm. Either he walked out or they fired him. Or he died. Otherwise, I have no idea how this happens. And don't think I haven't been googling (it's a prominent enough company that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for them to put out a press release in this kind of situation).
Anyway, long story short, I'm headed back in to interview tomorrow. Obviously, we're dealing with some odd circumstances here, but it's a little crazy to me how long this process has taken. I got the very first call the schedule the pre-interview screening on April 9th. My original interview was on May 9th. At the rate we're going, I may not find out whether or not I've got the job until June 9th. Is this how things usually go? Because my 600 days tell me something a little bit different.
Not that I'm necessarily complaining (I'm totally complaining), since any progress is still progress and I'm grateful to have ANY kind of opportunity to tell someone they should hire me. It's just that it feels a lot like expecting to get stood up for the school dance but your date actually shows up and is dressed nicely and even brings a corsage and you're OVERJOYED until you get to the dance and everyone looks at you in a way that makes you feel like you aren't supposed to be there but THEN you find out you got crowned QUEEN and as you're making your tearful speech about how they really actually like you after all there's a whole giant bucket's worth of PIG'S BLOOD falling on your head. And I'm just saying that if it takes two entire months to get to the pig's blood, I'd have rather stayed home alone with a good book.