Friday I had a job interview.
It’s been about 3 years since I’ve been on one, so I was a little rusty.
I used to like my job. Sort of. But recently, the place where I work has gotten so out of control, it’s time to look for somewhere new to hang out all day. Between the ridiculous workload, long hours, and people mysteriously cleaning out their offices, I just don’t feel comfortable anymore. Plus, there’s a really weird vibe going on. The President is always behind closed doors, has perpetual bags under his eyes and isn’t laughing as hard at my jokes.
I had heard about an opportunity that came up in NYC. As my friend gushed about the details, it sounded great: getting back into retail advertising, managing a group of people, working for my Old Boss again.
SIDE NOTE: Old Boss is awesome. Sure, he could have a bit of a temper, and throw newspapers across the room, but I could overlook that because Old Boss is a truly handsome man. He’s like a real-life George Clooney: salt and pepper hair, impeccably dressed, great teeth. (okay, he’s not as good-looking as George, but he’s well-manicured and super nice to me. And I’m allowed to have a school-girl crush on him, because he’s gay.)
My resume gets passed on, I get a phone call, and the next thing I know I’m skipping work and boarding Metro North for the city.
As I said, it’s been a while since I’ve been on the job hunt. And I’m getting pretty desperate. Which is why I’m on a train to an interview for a job that would be almost a 2 hour commute door to door, each way. But I miss working in retail advertising, I’m scared about being the next person randomly fired, and I could use a day off.
So there I am on the train. Dressed professional but cool in a black mini sweater dress, black tights and tall boots. I’m rocking a denim jacket and oversized pink bag, too. If nothing else, I look the part.
As I sit on the train I wonder if I could commute almost two hours each way every day. Probably not, but I wanted to check out the opportunity anyway. Maybe I could work different hours or maybe they would make it worth my while (wink, wink, cha-ching).
I would be there for about 3 hours; I was scheduled to meet with HR and 5 other people.
I arrived on time, with static cling causing my dress to stick up in my hoo-ha, headrest hair and breath bad enough to power the train home. If my mood after one train ride was any example of what I would be like everyday, my future in the big city wasn’t looking so hot.
Of course, HR was running behind. After filling out a computerized job application (high tech!) and having 2 different HR peeps check on me 5 different times, I was finally moved to the HR holding area which consisted of two upholstered chairs and a bookcase.
HR 1: “Feel free to read one of the books while you wait.”
The shelves were filled with three-hundred page novels. How long was I going to be there?
Just then the door with the secret code opened and a girl about my age came out. She was dressed for an interview, too, just like me. Except she was super chipper.
Normally, I’m a very friendly person. But I just wasn’t in the mood.
GIRL: “Are you here to meet with HR Lady?”
I’m reading a book (one I brought with me; if nothing else I will be well-read from long train rides with this job), and get sort of annoyed that she keeps interrupting me.
GIRL: “Weird weather out, huh?”
GIRL: “Are they running late today? Were you scheduled at 9:30, too?”
It’s obvious that she’s going to talk to me until I start answering her back.
GIRL: “Job interview?”
ME: “Yep.” Then I remember that I’m going to be nice. “You?”
GIRL: “Yes. I just met with HR Lady. She’s a real hoot.”
ME (trying to make nice-nice): “You a designer?”
My new friend laughs like I'm doing a stand-up show.
GIRL: “Nah. I’m a numbers girl. I work for West Elm.”
I perk up. LOVE West Elm.
ME (somewhere finding my inner friendliness: “There’s a mirror there that I’ve loved for almost a year. I haven’t bought it yet.” I tell her about the mirror I want for the downstairs bathroom, which I’m too cheap to buy so I’m waiting for it to go on sale.
GIRL: “I totally know that one. You better hurry up and buy it if you want it, it’s going away for the spring.”
Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. How about that? I’m nice to the girl and I found out a very useful piece of information.
Just then HR Lady appears and beckons me inside.
Inside HR looks just like outside: tired. Drab walls, dull carpet and cube farm. So far? Not impressed with the atmosphere.
HR Lady, who sort of resembles John Goodman, gives me the lowdown and asks me all sorts of HR-like questions.
"What’s your management style?"
(Fun, but firm.)
"How do you motivate people?"
(Scream at them. Kidding! I bribe them with money.)
"How do you handle stress?"
(Um, isn’t it obvious? I look for a new job. Duh.)
After HR Lady balks at my asking salary, the assistant HR Dude escorts me up to the sales promotion floor.
HR Dude tops out at about 5’2”, uses too much bronzer and walks like his sweater is still on a hanger.
HR DUDE: “You look so familiar.”
I resist blurting every snarky comment I’ve ever used in the past at bars where strange men were hitting on me.
HR DUDE: “Are you from Boston?”
I perk up. Maybe HR Dude DOES know me.
HR DUDE: “You know who you look like?”
ME: “Um, I get Elaine from Seinfeld a lot.”
I also look like Jenni, Jeff Lewis’s assistant on Flipping Out (mainly because SHE looks like Julia Louis Dreyfuss), but I think I’m the only one who watches that show.
HR Dude is pensive, then snaps his fingers.
HR DUDE: “Jodie Foster!”
Yes, my dark brown curls and espresso eyes are a mirror image of her dirty blond straight bob and light blue peepers.
HR DUDE: “I saw her on Perez Hilton the other day and she was wearing a hearing aid. They were totally making fun of her.”
I look like someone who needs a hearing aid? WTF?
ME: “Really? Wow. I’ve never gotten Jodie Foster before.”
HR DUDE: “It’s your bone structure. Oh, I think Jodie is stunning.”
Stunning? Well, that’s better. A little.
(Interview went well; I was there for 4 hours. I think they liked me. Bottom line: if the job was in Connecticut, I'd start tomorrow. But it's all the way in the city...)