Had an interview a couple of weeks ago with a major grocery chain which was opening a new store not too far from home.
Stop rolling your eyes. Sorry, but I do not have the cachet of some of my colleagues, who have a great network, can make a couple of calls, and find themselves a new situation in short order.
I could keep holding out for a pie in the sky job in journalism that is going the way of the dodo, or I could suck it up and just try to get some “meaningful” work. I go back and forth between being embarrassed and needing to fulfill my responsibilities as a family man. Pride goeth before the fall.
I first had a phone interview with this company — deemed one of the best in the country — that went very well. The questions were fairly cliché: “What would you do in X situation?” “Do you consider yourself a team player?” “Give me an example of x.” “If you were a tree…” (made that last one up). I gave what I thought were good (scripted) answers and sure enough, a few hours later I received another call from the company to set up an in-person meeting the following week.
I arrived at the office a bit early. I was so out of step in preparing for an interview, I left my wallet at home. Fortunately, I wasn’t asked to produce ID at the security desk, because there wasn’t one. (Also, driving without a license makes you extremely cautious.)
After a brief wait in the reception area where a video of the wonderfulness of the company was playing on a monitor, I was greeted by two young women wearing company polo shirts with name tags. S and M (not their real initials) escorted me to an office that was totally devoid of character. By that I mean there were three chairs and a table. It reminded me of those interrogation rooms you see on TV crime shows. All that was missing was the two-way mirror (although I couldn’t swear there wasn’t a hidden camera someplace). In fact outside of the large front room, the rest of the facility, from what I could tell, was empty. That seemed a bit odd since the company had been in that location for several years.
S and M — whom I would estimate to be younger than 35 — were equipped with clipboards and questionnaires, from which which they took turns, a few at a time, taking down — literally — everything I said. Perhaps one was making observational notes; after all, what would be the point of the redundancy? Even though they had my resumé, they followed the script precisely, asking me things that had absolutely nothing to do with my former employments. There was no independent thought on their parts, no reaction to anything I said that I believed might warrant a smile or even a chuckle. No curiosity. When I mentioned that I had been busy preparing for the release of my new book… nothing, like they have published authors coming in every day to work in the produce department, which I was informed was the position for which I was being considered. There were long silences as they scribbled on the papers, heads down. Awkward. Like what am I supposed to be doing for two minuts while you’re trying to catch up?
Truth be told, I became a bit bored and got a bit more expansive and dramatic in my answers, hoping to make a good impression and tell them what they wanted to hear. After about 45 minutes later, they escorted me out, saying they’d be letting me know, one way or the other, in one two weeks by phone, email, or written correspondence, again not wavering an iota from their script.
The email came a few days ago. Thanks, but no. No explanation why not, just no. Could it be my age? Could it be they thought I would jump ship after they invested time and trouble training me to stack oranges? Wish I still had the original from which I could cut and paste.
On the one hand, I was kind of relieved. Hate to say it, but I could see some in my circle giving me the cold shoulder once I changed my collar from white to blue. They can’t understand how someone with my background and accomplishments can’t find a job. So this rejection eliminated that possibility. For now.
On the other hand, I still don’t have a job and no immediate prospects, which gets more depressing each passing day. The only thing that brings a tiny grin is that the book is still new so there are author appearances, interviews, and reviews to keep my mind engaged.