Monday, April 5, 2010

In which I have a horrible job interview in Fairview

May 2006 I have been trying to find a job. Really. I do need a job. I don't know yet that I am going to marry Primo and become a gold digger of the first order. A money sucking, bon bon eating, soap opera watching* gold digger. Yes, I married Primo just so I wouldn't have to get a job. Sly and Doris were right.

Anyhow. I apply for this job in Fairview because I am thinking I should move to the city where Primo lives so we can date and get to know each other and if I'm going to do that, someone else should pick up the moving tab, sell my house and pay me a good salary.

Much to my surprise, the Acme Company calls me for an interview. I have a phone interview first. The recruiter asks me how I feel about long hours and tight deadlines.

Oh please.

If I tell the truth, which is how everyone feels about long hours and tight deadlines (they are a sign of managerial incompetence and I don't want to work in such an environment), I won't get a second interview. Why bother to ask such a question? Everyone is going to lie and say, "I LOVE long hours and tight deadlines!"

OK, they're not going to say that, but they are going to say something like what I say, which is that sometimes they are necessary.

Only they're not. If you have decent planning and management. Which my former employer did not and apparently Acme does not.

They like me enough that they fly me to Fairview for more interviews. Which go OK until I meet this woman Meg who comes into the room oozing something. Hostility? Anger?

She is wearing denim pants with a wide belt, a jacket with heavy shoulder pads (Honey! 1984 called and it wants its jacket back!), and clunky shoes. On the right (i.e., cute) woman, it could have looked ironic, but on Meg, it is Dykefest 2006.

I look great in a red tailored suit with a just above the knee skirt. Black pumps.

Is she mad that I look better than she does? And if she's a lesbian, why would she care? It's not like we'd be playing in the same market. If she's straight, then I say, Honey, you’re the one who’s dressing ugly on purpose, OK? I didn’t pull those clothes out of your closet, put a gun to your head and make you wear them. If she's lesbian, then so what? The zenn** diagram of our sexual objects does not intersect.

Meg asks me right away if I have any questions for her. I am thinking, Don't you ask me questions? You are supposed to be interviewing me, honey. Do some of the work. Plus I had just had a 45-minute conversation with the first interviewer and we had covered a lot. More than a lot - first interviewer and I were supposed to talk for only 20 minutes, but we really hit it off. Maybe that's why she's hostile: she's getting to me late. Who knows?

So she asks me a question. What is my weakness?

Stupid me, after saying, "I didn't think people really asked that question in interviews," I give her a real weakness instead of a fake, job-appropriate weakness. She smells blood.

She asks why I want the job.

Duh. Because I am unemployed.

Why do I want to live in Fairview?

I hesitate. I don't want to tell them my boyfriend is here or they will lowball me on the salary. Later, I realize that this is a stupid attitude because no Fairview employers can understand why I would want to move here and telling the truth about Primo makes them far more disposed to me. Plus, I can't bear the lying.

I ask what she likes and dislikes about the job. Then I ask her about the employee gym (which she brought up in the first place).

“Why don’t you ask me about the project?” she asks impatiently. Well excuse me! I get sidetracked for one little second! But I think asking her about what she likes and doesn’t like about the job are perfectly legitimate questions. Not to mention FIRST INTERVIEWER COVERED THE PROJECT.

She tells me that she lives in Big City 90 miles away and commutes to Fairview. “Every day?” I gasp.

“No, I have an apartment here for Monday through Friday. I own a place in Big City 90,” she answers. “I’m used to being in a much more diverse, liberal city.”

“So you really live in Fairview and go to Big City 90 on the weekends,” I say snidely.

“No, I live in Big City 90!” she protests.

We don't like each other that much. At all. Primo and I pick the conversation apart later and we figure that either Meg sees me as competition or is threatened by me, which is totally hilarious because I am so not ambitious. Maybe she thinks I would challenge her – she kept talking about “visibility” and “high-profile,” stuff I couldn’t care less about. She can be the queen bee as far as I’m concerned. I just want a fun, challenging, interesting job, but the path to the corner office is clear. I am not standing in her way.

I leave and send email thank you notes to everyone who interviewed me. For some reason, Meg's is kicked back to me. I somehow got the wrong email or something. I re-send, but to no avail. Within two days, I have the traditional go to hell email from them, which does not break my heart too much because they had misrepresented the job on and the actual job was something I did not want to do. If you are doing an SAP conversion, you need to say that in your ad is all I am saying because that way the people who want nothing to do with an SAP conversion ever again as long as they live will know not to apply for the job and waste your time.

They also all talked about getting like 120 factories all over the world converted in a year or two which meant spending lots of weekends up all night long while the conversion happened. No thank you.

And everyone was in tiny cubicles. Smaller than the cubicle I had in my old job. Smaller than the office I had before my spineless boss let another department take our offices and put us into cubicles 13 miles away in the neighborhood where people were routinely carjacked.

However. I am still unemployed and it's because they didn't want to date me. Which stinks.

* If we hadn't cancelled our cable because Time Warner was charging $70 a month for us not to watch TV, I would be watching soap operas. Well, I'd be watching them now. Primo still has TV in 2006. But he still doesn't watch it. I don't even like to do the math on that. It makes me a little bit sick to my stomach.

** K pointed out that I mean a Venn diagram, not a zenn one. Yes. I do. Thank you. What would a zenn diagram look like? The sound of one hand clapping?


  1. I start my workdays reading your blog. Your entries guarantee I will start my day with a chuckle. On a lighter note, I think you mean Venn diagram, not Zenn ;)

  2. I actually like zen diagram better.
    She sounds like a winner; thank God you didn't get that job!

  3. Love your blog, but this post speaks to me even more because at the moment I'm unemployed and going on bad interview dates with the Megs of the world...

  4. Here's a shout out to Primo...and to you, too for sticking with it.

    The weakness question? So lame, but yes, lazy interviewers use it. My answer? I faint at the site of blood. 'a

    People like Meg aren't people you want to be working for...

  5. Yeah, I would have been miserable working there, but I would have been miserable for a really good salary. Dec 3rd, best of luck. It's so awful to be looking. I hated it. I need to start again but can't bear the idea.

    MK, I learned to say better things like, "I have a hard time working with incompetent people," but considering that a friend of mine at my old job was told he needed to get better at working with incompetent management [because the company continued to employ incompetent managers], maybe that wasn't the best answer, either. I like yours. I'll remember it in the future. I do faint at the sight of blood as well, so I wouldn't be lying.

  6. I think she was intimidated by the gorgeous, tailored red suit....their loss!!!

  7. Well, I must say I am grateful that you aren't blaming Meg's bad outfit on Fairview. (When I visit my parent in Boston and my mother criticizes my clothes I tell her, "I don't live in Paris, I live in Fairview. People there think I'm fashionable.")

    I think sucking up to people isn't in your nature (e.g., interviewers, in-laws.) LOL

  8. Suzanne, it was the suit!

    Lindy, I have to admit I am a little taken aback when I see people in church in PJ pants and Crocs, or at the theatre in jeans, but whatever. None of my business and like you, I look good in comparison. I do, however, want to do a hair intervention any time I see a mullet.

    I guess I'd better learn to suck up or fake sucking up, because I really should get a job.

  9. SAP! We have SAP. Our lives were all so much easier before we got SAP.

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  11. (Sorry for the double post on SAP)
    My mother always says if you dress your best for every occasion, *you* will never be wrong. Can't argue with the wisdom of a fine Southern lady.