Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Oh For Dumb

I got the email this Monday, and it thrilled me sick: the company wanted to fly me up for an interview on Wednesday. I'd be interviewing to be a researcher, investigating best practices reports and presenting them. It's a foot in the door at a real job that at least peripherally would use my writing skills. I got rejected for a different job with them before, but to be asked back and flown up: that's huge.

No non-relatives have ever flown me anywhere before.

I spent all day yesterday laboring over my writing test, writing down good questions to ask, picking up my newly dry-cleaned suit. I printed out reams of pages from their website, sifting through business jargon like "leverage," "tasked with the important," and all sorts of words that dumb people use to sound smart.

Got up at six-thirty this morning, pulling my shirt from the dryer and attacking the ironing board--the shirt required cuff links. No cuff links in the house. The next shirt I ironed was made out of a glorified wax paper--cheap, worn transparent and shiny by me and my dad going back to the Carter administration. Finally I reached into the heap of clothing on my parents' bedroom floor and found my lucky shirt, the one I have worn on all prior job interviews. So maybe it's not that lucky after all. I briskly ironed around all the dirty bits on the shirt, giving the pits a wide berth and sprinted around the house looking for my dress shoes.

Clad only in dress shirt and underwear, I managed to sweat right through my lucky shirt in my fruitless search for shoes. I found an old pair of my dad's wingtips (see Carter administration crack, above) and crammed my feet in.

After a coffee and a shoeshine at the airport, I checked myself in the bathroom mirror--once you looked past the gums like raw meat from too vigorous a brush, I looked cool. I looked around the commuter flight at all the other suits, jabbering into their phones about tasking, and thought "Me and him, we're the same. I am in the club of important people now. Golf lessons, here I come."

I strode confidently out of the cab and into my interview fifteen minutes early, at the top of my game...signed in and waited. By 2:30, I could tell something was wrong. The woman that was supposed to interview me came in, asked for someone else, and took her off into another room.

I checked my confirmation email. I was a week early for my job interview.

The sweat came back, reactivating the older sweat in my shirt. The woman at HR was really kind, rescheduling me for tomorrow...but man, do I feel dumb.

I am not like the guys in the suits on the plane. I wore their disguise briefly, but underneath, I'm still me.


At 10:39 AM, Blogger Marc said...

hey, congratulations! the regular job is the best. you really learn to appreciate the holidays and things called "summer hours."


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