Interviewing for jobs is bullshit.
I mean, you’re standing there, nervous as shit, and apologizing to the silk plant to your right for bumping into it because you know the secretary is secretly taking notes on you and OH EM GE is that a camera above you or have you been watching too much reality television?
On my last job interview, well before I’d gotten pregnant with Alex, I was doing the rounds and applying for all sorts of jobs I didn’t really want. I figured the interviews were “good experience,” plus, I got to wear a suit. I like suits.
I’d applied for a job working for a major US health insurance company. I’d be doing some claims processing, going over the necessity for certain treatments, and, I later learned, (ALLEGEDLY) taught to work the system in order to ensure that the members got what they needed when they needed it.
It was the only job I’d been applying for that managed to pique my interest. The rest of the interviews went like this:
Aunt Becky: “Hi, I’m…”
Person Interviewing: (interrupts): “Do you have a pulse?”
Aunt Becky: *blinks*
Person Interviewing: “I mean, OBVIOUSLY you have a pulse, you’re here, right? (nervous laugh)”
Aunt Becky: *blinks*
Person Interviewing: “Can you start on the Ortho floor this afternoon? We’ve got a ratio of 8 patients to one nurse and no nursing techs. You’ll be working an 18. SOUND GOOD?”
Aunt Becky: *blinks*
Person Interviewing: “Here’s your uniform.”
Aunt Becky *backs away slowly*
Person Interviewing: “You can wear jeans! JUST GO TO THE ORTHO FLOOR PLEASE! J-CO* IS COMING!”
That’s the way my interviews had gone. And as much as I’d loved to have worked an 18 on a floor without techs with 8 whole patients who weren’t quite ambulatory, I had enough respect for my back to turn it down.
So my job at the insurance company, well, it was what I’d wanted. Mostly. I didn’t want to work weekends or holidays. Working an 18 would leave me injecting myself with normal saline just to stay awake. I love people. I don’t love sick people. Shitty career path, huh?
First stop on my interview train was to a computer where I had to type shit. I think they wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to type, “I HAVE A BOMB MOTHERFUCKERS” or something. Last I checked, everyone our age types at like 8097 words per minute. Side effect of the computer generation.
Once the computer, which was made in approximately 1902, green words and all, booted me off, I waited for my round of interviews. I checked the room for cameras, but didn’t see any. Delusions of paranoia much?
Eventually a spry looking lady came to get me. She introduced herself as the person I’d be working for, which made me breathe a sigh of relief – she seemed both sane and high energy. Great combo.
She led me to a small meeting room and began chit-chatting with me while we waited for the other person to show. Apparently, at Super Huge Insurance Company, two managers did the interviewing. I immediately suspected a good-cop/bad-cop routine.
The second manager sauntered in, and I immediately read her as a bitch. Between the way she walked, the way she sneered when my manager spoke, and the haughty smile she gave as she tossed her bleached-blond hair back, I could tell that, had she been my table and I her server, she’d have run me around every time I got near her, only to stiff me and complain to my manager in order to get some free coupons.
My heart sunk. I thought about all those ortho people I’d have to lug around and shuddered instinctively.
Before we began, my manager assured me that the questions were unique – there were no “wrong” answers. We went back and forth between the standard interview questions, “how would you handle XYZ?” “Where are your pants?” “How would you describe yourself in three words or less?”
Bitchy blonde lady asked me one, “What happened the last time your boss made a decision for you to carry out – but it was something you didn’t want to do?”
I wracked my brain. Generally when my bosses told me to do something I didn’t want to do, I deliberately disobeyed. No wrong answers. No wrong answers. So I can keep talking and it won’t be WRONG. I love this game!
They stared at me. I began to sweat – I couldn’t tell the about the beers I’d snuck in the back coolers or the times that I didn’t charge my friends for keg beer. I couldn’t tell them about sprinkling a ton of red pepper flakes into the dipping sauce of a particularly rude table. Um. THINK, Becky, THINK. Or BULLSHIT, Becky, BULLSHIT.
“Well, there was this one time (okay, that sounds good, like you know what your saying. Good work, mental high five!), that my manager Peter, he, um, (BECKY, STOP SAYING UM. IT’LL CLUE THEM IN THAT YOU’RE FULL OF BULLSHIT) well, he asked if anyone was stealing blocks of cheese. He kinda looked like a detective, ready to catch the cheese thief, but that’s mostly because he looked like he’d stepped out of the set of a 1920′s movie (STOP ADDING DETAILS, MORON). When he asked me if I knew who’d been stealing cheese, I said ‘I didn’t know’ even though I MAYBE knew. (God, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever said.)”
I looked at the two of them, ashamed, knowing I’d blown that. But NO WRONG ANSWERS! PHEW.
The blond one glared at me, rolled her eyes and spoke, “You’re wrong.”
My mouth dropped open as my face turned electric red. Not being much of a blusher, it made it that. much. worse.
She continued, “I don’t think that’s what you meant.”
Okay, now I was just confused. Rather than respond, I simply stared at her. My manager got all flustered and quickly ushered me out the front door where I realized, once and for all, that I was not being filmed. My reality-show dreams had been dashed.
And there was no way in fuck that I’d gotten that job.
That afternoon I got the offer letter.
I started the following week.
*J-CO isn’t to be confused with J-LO. J-CO is actually the Joint Commission, accredits and certifies health care organizations. They’re also pedantic and annoying as shit when they come for inspections (as, I hate to admit, they should be).