Thursday, November 6, 2008

An Old Nemesis...

I went for a second job interview on Tuesday. I put on a great suit, did my hair, applied a little lip gloss and *gasp* donned a pair of nylons. Such are the lengths I will go to earn a paycheck.... Anyway, I also prepared in my head a list of questions that I might be asked and then I answered them, just to practice. I recited to myself the answer to my least favorite question: "what would you say your greatest weakness is?". I came up with a list of questions I had about the company: how would I be evaluated? What is their turn over? Is the complimentary coffee in the break room from Farmers Brothers or Starbucks?

But when I got there I was led to a small room and presented with a three-page math test. Yeah. I was not prepared for this. I had gone there thinking I was going to be interviewed. Silly me.

Didn't this company believe in calculators? Didn't they see on my resume that I did in fact graduate from high school and college? Isn't that proof enough that I can do basic math? Why, I wanted to know, was I being faced with three black and white pages of potential humiliation? Screw up just one simple question that an elementary school kid could do and boom--you're done. I made some half-hearted joke that I have an English Lit degree. I smiled and pretended not to panic. I believe I even chimed "No problem!" as the woman interviewing me left the room. She left. I panicked.

I hate math! I have always hated math! Well, not always...I used to like it until I got to 4th grade. That was where I had a teacher who resembled a troll and had one hell of a case of halitosis (she could stink up a room with a single word--I kid you not). When we would grade our tests we had to call out in front of the whole class how many we got wrong. God help the kids who did poorly. With each bad mark the kids would send up a chorus of "Oooooooooo!" just so you knew that you sucked and your existence on this planet was being called into question. Ms. Troll would allow and therefore encourage the chastising. My grades suffered so my parents sent me to a nun at a freaking convent for tutoring, but she was even worse. She didn't carry a ruler, she just ate your soul.

And now here I was: grown up, wearing a suit and flipping through a math test. I had done just fine in life without this sort of thing. I grumbled, sighed, and even got a little flushed in my face. Somewhere in the back of my head I could hear Ms. Troll screaming with sick delight, "you'll never make in life if you can't master math!" That bitch even cackled.

So I completed the test and, with the exception of two questions, did just fine. But I was shaky, rattled and now off my usually confident game. If there was a math test, what else? Would they be calling in character witnesses? Asking to see my high school senior thesis? A cavity search? I mean, really! If they had already digressed me back to my self-conscious 11-year-old self, what was next? Maybe this was all part of their evil plan, I thought. They wanted to see how you did under pressure and then, THEN they would bring out the big questions. You know, the topics that actually pertain to who you are and what you bring to the job you are being considered for. Maybe they wanted to see me squirm...

I gathered myself and straightened my skirt. I would not be intimidated. I've done harder things than this, I thought. I've given presentations to boards, I've landed huge deals. Hell, my first sale on Saturday at the shoe store was over $600.00 and that was before I'd finished my morning coffee. I know I can do sales. I know I can do customer service. I am creative, I am quick, I am driven and I can play well with others, damnit. So no, Ms. Troll, you don't have to "master math" to make it in life. I got my chutzpah back and had the uncanny desire to track down the troll and tell her off.

I'm not sure if I'll be getting that job. This is odd for me because I've never interviewed for a position and not been hired. But not everybody fits in everywhere, as my dad so aptly pointed out. If we did the world would be a very boring, gray place.

So it's back to the drawing board for me. I've been combing through websites and writing cover letters with the best of them. I'm sure something will come along soon and as when I know where the next playground will be, I'll let you know.


Song of the day: Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson

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