Thursday, October 13, 2005

What color was your parachute anyways?

*Insert hopelessly apologetic blatherings about being busy, having writer’s block, being stuck under large furniture and riding on magic carpets with aliens instead of blogging*

It’s been awhile since I’ve had to job interview, at least in the real sense. Due to the freelance nature of my work, I’ve had many a “pass the muster” meeting; having been selected to do the work, the employer wishes to confirm my hair color is one attainable by human genetics and I can conjugate a proper sentence without using the word “Dude” as a grammatical device.

Needless to say, long gone are the days when I sat hovering outside various corporate atriums, hands sweating madly, waiting for that first incomprehensible HR question “Well your certainly qualified, but what three things would take with you on a desert island....”

I suck at these questions. If there is an appropriate answer, mine inevitably sound good in my head but instantly fall apart if one were to analyze:

"Well Jane, I think I’d bring a copy of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” a copy of Radiohead’s “The Bends” and a deck of cards”

(Translation: Philosophic naval gazer picks creature comforts over practicalities and is so completely out of touch with reality she wastes a choice on a CD without providing a device to play it on or facilities to provide power....also might have a potential gambling problem.)

"Okay how about a knife, flint and fish hooks....”
(Translation: Applicant shows tendency towards violence, potential pyromania and is obviously unaware that a steady diet of fish would result in unhealthy mercury levels...high risk to our HMO provider)

This sort of asinine questioning is supposed to provide them a window unto my soul; hinting at how I am under pressure and if I can think outside that cliched well-worn box. It is also the kind of BS, that usually has me turning on them and asking:

“Look, if you want to know how I am in a workplace setting, here are my references. I have a whole book of work here representing my creative side and the only way you’re going to know if you like me is to get to know me over time.”

Which is an excellent way of been branded as someone who can’t take direction and obviously has something to hide. Can you smell the paranoia?

Today’s interview was without any of the normal crud one must jump through to prove exemplary hoop-jumping status. In fact, everything went quite well until it occurred to me on the bus ride home....there might have been a test, a chocolate test.

After meeting with Person A, I was about to be shuffled into Person B’s office for my 2nd show of the afternoon. Person A, nonchalantly offered me a chocolate, which I accepted....and, as I’m craving some sugar, open and shove into my mouth as we walk down the hall, having been told there would be a wait until B was out of a meeting. As luck would have it, B turns the corner and begins the introductory yip-yap. I stand there helplessly nodding and “Um-Hmm-inng” while trying to swallow my sweet indiscretion whole.

This perhaps was a test, I now think, with the following outcomes/interpretations:
A: Take the chocolate, and put it away. (Polite, but perhaps not one of us)

B: Take the chocolate, eat it just quickly enough not to be slobbish, but fast enough to start the next meeting on time. (This is your candidate!)

C. Take the chocolate, eat it and still being chewing for the next meeting. (Team player, but not efficient.)

D. Do not take the chocolate, feign a diet or allergy. (Weirdo, definitely not one of us, and is she implying I’m fat?!)

Then again, should this position not work out, I found this hay farm in Canada for the low, low price of $250,000...as self-employment is in my nature, it’s at least a horizontal career move as well.

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