Earlier this week, I had a job interview.
I didn’t write about it before, because I am leery of jinxing myself. I wrote all about Groupon and that fell through, and then dished about my interview with my ex’s company. I prefer to keep these things on the down low now, just on the off chance that it is possible to control the universe through my words. Kind of like a Butterfly Effect, but instead of an insect causing chaos it’s a blog…I guess you’d call it a Bloggingfly Effect? But a couple of days have passed, and whatever is going to happen will happen. I would like to at least mention it because the blog is a reflection of my life, and when I’m old and decrepit I’d like to be able to flip through the pages of this virtual journal and remember what was going on way back when.
The interview took place downtown, and as soon as I walked into the building, I was blown away. It’s a rather nondescript looking two-story white office building on the outside, but inside, it’s all artsy and funky. Lots of glass and wood, framed paintings, and natural light. There are offices along the walls, a reception desk in the middle, and an upstairs loft with a few more offices, including the President and CEO (whom I interviewed with). It’s all very cool and urban and hip. Cubicles? They don’t need no stinkin’ cubicles! So right off the bat, it earned brownie points with me.
As for the interview itself, I think it went very well. The P/CEO told me she’d looked over my online portfolio and was impressed with my work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: those three days spent in November putting together the site were the best use of my time since I’ve been unemployed. Any writer, published or not, should have a portfolio to display his or her clips – it really does open doors. We chatted about my duties at my last job, freelance writing, and this position. While there are one or two qualifications missing from my work history, I’m hoping that they are minor ones. I asked her what skills her ideal candidate possesses, and she said – in order – writing and creativity. Definitely my strengths, and to prove the point, I came up with a marketing idea for her on the fly – a way to promote our local wineries – that she liked a lot. I wanted to show her I was an idea man, and I think that was a good move on my part. As the interview was wrapping up, I thanked her, shook her hand, and told her that I want the job. I read someplace that surprisingly few candidates ever come right out and say that during an interview, and I wanted to emphasize how much I really do want it. (I do…it would be perfect). But, of course, I’m sure the other candidates in the running all have their strengths and talents, as well. I am confident that I gave it my all, and certainly didn’t give her any reason not to hire me, as I have in the past (more on that in a second). She asked me for references as we were parting, and I forwarded those to her promptly, once I got home. That’s always a good sign. Doesn’t mean I’m a shoo-in, but if she wasn’t interested in me as a serious candidate, she wouldn’t ask. So now I’ll just wait with bated breath and see if anything comes of this.
The truth is, I’m in a tight spot. Money (or lack of) has become a real issue. On top of that, my initial unemployment claim is about to run out – next week, I believe. I know there are extensions available but that’ll probably entail more paperwork and who knows what else. I want to be a freelance writer, more than anything else (and the P/CEO asked me why I don’t continue pursuing that since it’s such an ideal lifestyle), but lack of a steady gig and no benefits are making it tough to stay the course. I’m considering some desperate options like withdrawing funds from my 401K that are last resort measures, but what choice do I have? I’ve got bills to pay and not enough $ to pay them. You know things are bad when my daydreams and fantasies all involve currency. Seriously, I’ve been thinking about money a lot lately. Drooling over it when I see it. How novel the idea of a paycheck feels to me now! I could actually pay my bills, on time, and maybe even have a little bit left over. That’s such a foreign concept to me now. It sounds wonderful. Funny, the things we take for granted in life.
Don’t it always seem to go/That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Truer words were never spoken.
Twice upon a time, I completely blew any chance of landing a job before I’d even walked out the door. The first time, MapQuest led me astray. The company was located in a town I was unfamiliar with, and the directions I’d gotten online showed the building on the complete opposite side of the freeway from where it really was. I drove all over town looking for the place, and had to call and tell them I was lost. I finally found the place and got there fifteen minutes late for my scheduled interview. They then made me sit in the lobby another fifteen minutes before seeing me. That was a big group interview, and no amount of profuse apologizing on my part could soothe their bad tempers. There’s no worse feeling than knowing something is a lost cause but being forced to soldier on through it anyway.
The second time, I’d actually done pretty well in the interview. She and I clicked, and things seemed to be moving in a positive direction. She had told me that the company was growing, and they’d soon be transferring a bunch of jobs to their new Connecticut location. As she was walking me to the door, past the employees in her department, she asked if I had any additional questions. “Yes,” I replied. “When are you moving the accounting operation back east?” Her face darkened immediately, and she said in a fierce whisper, “My staff hasn’t been told about that yet!!” as heads swiveled in our direction from cubicleland.
Which I think was very unfair. She never informed me that the information was confidential or that her employees hadn’t been notified yet. Why would she drop such a big secret on an unsuspecting stranger? I’m sorry if I unwittingly informed a bunch of people they were about to get canned! Sheesh. It was an honest mistake. I apologized like mad, but again, knew I’d dug a hole too deep to escape from. My last-minute, completely innocent question cost me another good job.
So, the fact that I walked out of Wednesday’s interview (which I had arrived a few minutes early for) without putting my foot in my mouth was definitely a positive step. I may not end up with the job, but if I don’t, it won’t be because of anything I said.