It had all the makings of a disaster.
My job interview was scheduled for 4PM today, and as the time drew nearer, this horrible sense of foreboding came over me. I forced myself to get dressed, but by the time Henry came home from work, I was a basketcase.
“I have bad feelings about this!” I yelled. “I’m pretty sure I don’t want this job. AT ALL!”
“You haven’t even gone for the interview yet, you can’t know that,” he said calmly, choosing his words carefully because he knows how quickly and unpredictably his words can morph into the stick poking the bear.
The job is for a large law firm downtown Pittsburgh, the name of which I will obviously never, ever in a million years be able to publish. Since Henry had to stop back at his work later anyway, it was more convenient for him to just drop me off down there. But when we were leaving the house, he didn’t hold the door open for me and it caused me to spill several droplets of coffee on my shirt! (Granted, my shirt was black, BUT STILL, HOW DARE HE.) I took the liberty of throwing a fit and refusing to get in the car. Then I pouted a little in my room until I started to feel somewhat of an adult again, marched back downstairs and yelled, “Fine I’ll go but only because I don’t feel like calling and canceling.”
The lady at the staffing agency told me to get there a few minutes early in order to check in with security. But when I approached the snaggle-toothed guard in the lobby, my inquiries were met with an annoyed stare.
“Use the elevators on the left,” he mumbled.
“That’s it? I don’t have to show you my ID or anything?”
“Nope,” he said, not bothering to meet my eyes.
The elevator spat me out on the 10th floor, and please don’t think I’m lying when I say it was like stepping into Heaven. Everything was white.
The art on the walls.
Everything glowed like sun off a snowbank and screamed, “Don’t we give off a fresh and modern vibe? You’re not good enough to even stand in this foyer, let alone work within our walls. Your insecurity is sullying our pretentious essence, stop that.”
I was intimidated. It felt cold and sterile, and I kept waiting for Otho from Beetlejuice to round the corner with his ascot trailing behind.
Then the fun part happened! I didn’t know how to open the fucking door to the office!
The handle was some stainless steel piece of modern art, fixated low on the floor-to-ceiling glass door. If I leaned all the way to my right, I could see several desks but the people sitting at them were blurred by panes of frosted glass. I didn’t want to knock on the glass door, but there was no other way to get in.
I stood there for several seconds, pressed against the door, hoping to be noticed. Until I saw the button that said “Press to exit.”
It was a very Alice moment. I had a feeling that pressing this button was the wrong avenue to take. But the woman I was supposed to be meeting wasn’t answering her phone and the foyer was quickly going from modern art museum to feeling like a fucking morgue.
I almost left. Almost got my ass right back on that elevator and went the fuck home.
But something in me made me push that goddamn button. Even though it said “exit” instead of “enter.” Why would it say “exit”? There was a plaque above it that said, “Door can be opened after 15 seconds.”
It left out the part where I’d have to stand and suffer through fifteen seconds of AN ALARM BLARING first. Then I expected the floor beneath me to gape and engulf me.
But then the alarm silenced and the door opened. And as soon as I walked inside, I wanted to die. Every person in the office was half-standing at their desk, looking to see who had walked in uninvited.
Oh my god, I’m going to swallow my tongue, I thought. I’m about to have my first ever epileptic seizure, I can goddamn feel it. This was certainly an epilepsy-contracting situation, if ever there was.
I scrounged up enough of my voice to announce I was there for Sue, and then I was left to stew in my idiocy until Sue and another woman, Barb, came to greet me.
The rest of the interview went swimmingly from there. Sue and Barb made me feel instantly at ease, and I was even able to joke about my bumbling entrance.
“That’s the guard’s fault!” Barb assured me. “He was supposed to let us know you were here so we could come down to get you. You poor thing, being sent up here blindly like that!”
YEAH. Fuck you, Guard.
We talked candidly as well, and I assured them that the part-time hours they were offering wouldn’t deter me.
“I prefer part-time evening work, because I take care of my son during the day, and I’m an artist.”
I realized that was the first time I said that out loud without hooking my fingers around the word “artist.”
Sue asked me about the kind of stuff I make. I mentioned the cupcake couples, since those seem to be the most popular things I paint.
“Oh, how clever!” Sue enthused. “You know, there’s a girl in the office who bakes cupcakes. She brings them in for us sometimes and they are so good!”
Please hire me. Please fucking hire me.
This was the first time I can remember not being interrogated in an interview, and not being asked those ridiculous critical thinking trick questions. It was almost like they wanted to know me as a PERSON and not just a breathing extension of my resumè. I noticed that I wasn’t wearing my shoulders as earrings, as I normally do in these begging-for-employment situations.
Barb gave me a tour of the office, which I’m certain was designed by Ikea. There is a round table set up JUST FOR CANDY. A fucking CANDY STATION is what it is. And the good kinds too, not dumb, cheap shit.
I noticed that at one point, Barb pointed to a desk and said, “This is where you’ll be sitting.” MAYBE SHE KNOWS.
I’m not going to get my hopes up, but again: Please hire me. Please fucking hire me.