Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Job Interview

You start to realize you're an adult when you stop worrying about job interviews.

You also start to realize that maybe, just perhaps, you have a bank account that can make you self sustaining for at least a few months and you don't, unlike the first couple of jobs you go after, have to grasp at straws just to pay the rent. You get to hold on to some of the straws, pull away a little chaff and gnaw on a kernel of wheat every once in a while.

If you work in publishing or other media industries like I do you know what I'm talking about. Real jobs like banking, tax attorneys, auto mechanics; just take my word on this.

So this was my third serious job interview which is to say I was on the short list to get my third serious job. The first interviews were essentially exercises in prostrate grovelling and promises to sit quietly in a corner and do exactly what I was told. The second job interviews were exercises in lying about all the experience I had gained in the fifteen months I spent at my first job and how old a pro at this I really was. I still moistened carpets in abject pleading but this was usually on the first or second follow up.

A friend thought I was good enough to get the third job and suggested (emphatically) that I send my resume in. In fact, he knew the guy hiring and was ready and willing to trot my CV in personally with a recommendation. I dallied and he got insistent and I finally typed (these were the early eighties) up and sent it in with him.

Then I forgot about the whole thing for a few weeks.

We kept Fridays as a casual day at the company I was working at. That meant jeans, a flannel shirt and a natty leather jacket that particular late September end of the week. Go in, get some things done, take a quick lunch and try and be out on an early train out of the city.

The phone rang.

It was the hirer.

He wanted to see me.


"Uh, er, um." I was becoming erudite, but in fits and starts. Like your voice cracking at puberty, you could sound like an adult for hours on end, but ask Mary Jane out to the prom and the excitable boy in you sends the voice into an octave-variance universe. So it was that day as, in betweens "ums and ers" the hirer, let's call him Gene, figured out I was not ready for an interview.

"Not wearing your blue suit and red tie today?"

"Um, no, not really. It's casual Friday here and I'm just not dressed for an interview."

"That's ok. Come on down for an hour, let's talk. I won't hold it against you." He sounded like a pretty good guy so I figured I'd chance it. He was offering good money.

Took the train downtown, waited in the lobby in my natty leather jacket, then got shown in.

Gene sidestepped his office and took me into the corner sales office. It was more casual. He could sit in a comfortable chair and put examples of the company's product on a coffee table while I sat on a comfortable couch. A leather couch.

He didn't ask me to take my natty leather jacket off and I didn't volunteer to get comfortable. So I sat down and...

Leather touched leather. Treated. Not suede, but tanned leather that reaches out and hangs on to it's compatriot material with a ferocity that can only be overcome by a pronounced movement. Then leather gives up its cling to leather with a audible sound that is the closest facsimile to a human...


"Sit down."

"Thanks (fart)"

"Good to meet you." Extends hand. Hand is accepted and shook.

(fart) (fart) (fart)

"Tell me about yourself."

"Well," I lean forward (fart) I relax a bit (fart) I gesture (fart) I smile in a friendly manner (fart).

"Here are some of our books. Take a look." (fart) "Very nice, where do you print them?" (fart) "I like the design" (fart) "How much do you contract out versus single source (faaaaaaarttttt).

Apparently, questions with serious intent cause some involuntary body posturing.

At this point, I gave up. I sat back a bit and happily chatted and (farted) for the rest of the hour.

We talked money (fart). He offered me the job and more than I was asking for (fart!). He asked me to come and talk to the VP of sales the next week, just as a formality.

I would (fart).

"Don't worry, you got the job. This is just so he feels comfortable."

"Ok, thanks (fart)."

"Wear a suit though. And make sure your overcoat is cloth."



Anonymous Your old pal Ovaltine said...

Bun --

Ok, I'm laughing so hard I now have a hernia. Oh wait, I had that before. Anyway, something bad happened. The two new stories are your best yet. And keep swiping the news!!

7:35 AM  
Blogger Bunny's Cousin said...

I remember this story all too well!

3:20 PM  

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