Good evening and welcome,
It’s been a while because Life (dissertation and a job) and I haven’t had much to say because I haven’t seen anyone, been anywhere, or done anything (much – well there was that 10k obstacle course resulting in my friend breaking her leg, I guess), for weeks.
I don’t have a lot to say in terms of Life and I have no rants prepared, so you are spared those. Instead, I shall do a mighty In Other News. Because a thing happened that just fits so perfectly with a jigsaw of other things…
In Other News, Interviews
Picture – pipe, slippers, a dry tone, and a wink. Ahem.
Those who know me well will know that, while relatively unflappable, interviews do seem to be my downfall. I don’t particularly get nervous – it just seems that a string of events conspires against me every time, but in my cavebrain, which believes in superstition, these might be a sign of opposites to come. We shall revisit a couple of my favourite memories of formal occasions to set the scene.
Ah, in my youth (I was 21, so… three years ago) I went for an interview in a chocolate factory for a job piping icing. Really. Despite my extra-preparedness of scouting the site the day before, I had not realised the barrier would usually be down across the entrance to the car park. I panicked. I pulled the car very close to the barrier, hoping it had a sensor. It did not, and then a lorry pulled up so close behind me I thought he was trying to climb in my boot. I asked him, panicked, for help. He told me to push a button – which my car was so far away from, that when I got buzzed in, panicking, I was outside of my car, and I tried to get back in in a hurry, trapped my foot down the side of the seat, retrieved my shoe, dived in the car, and remained unsliced. Now sweating, on my way to the ‘interview’, I lost a shoe and had to run back down the stairs to fetch it (it had a life of its own, that day). We were led onto the factory floor, after swapping our smart shoes for bowling shoes, and donning lab coats and particularly sexy hairnets. And then we were abandoned with nothing but greaseproof and a bag of icing for nearly two hours. When a woman started fidgeting over her iced paper, wondering when she’d be allowed to pick her kids up from school, they looked at us in surprise and told us “The exit’s that way.” One ‘interviewer’ helpfully remembered that we would need our belongings returned, and led us back to the locker room. Here I finished my interview process by falling backwards over a locker door, and, still stumbling, falling backwards over a chair, and, still stumbling, falling backwards – out of an open door.
I got the job.
A few months later, I was due to meet with a PhD student for whom I would be collecting data. I have a horror of being late. Well, I got forty-five-minutes-lost late. I’d never met him before, so I was already dreading what he’d think of me after that. I spotted his car, and pulled over a few yards ahead of him. I got out of my car, pulled on my walking boots – which have laces into open-ended eyes, for my sins – and as I took one step towards him, promptly caught the laces of one boot in the eyes of the other, sending me sprawling full length, with surprising force, on to a stony road. My first words to him were, “Hi, N! I’d shake your hand, but it’s kinda covered in blood.” My knee also swelled up enormously and was horribly uncomfortable. Noting this apparent predilection for clumsiness, as he showed me around the transect site he said chirpily, “Don’t fall in the ditch, will you?” The second his back was turned, I accidentally disobeyed. He found me later, damp and covered in sticky buds, and sighed, “You fell in, didn’t you?”
One year later, I was working for him directly.
And so, on to today. Today was The Interview Of A Lifetime (so far). Basically my dream job, on twice as much money as I’ve been offered elsewhere, a two-year contract, stability, good reputation, great opportunity, close to family… yada yada. It’s the most interesting, and the most stressful, interview I have ever come across.
I had planned my outfit, as it is horrible weather, and I own one pair of smart trousers and one blouse that matches. I went to iron the blouse last night – and I think I burned a hole in it?! I’m not sure how. I’ve never done that before in my life. The iron wasn’t even hot (but the blouse was very cheap…) But either way, that was now out of the question. I decided I would have to wear a highly unseasonable dress, also knowing this would make me stick out like a sore thumb in an office of career tree-huggers and glorified farmers.
I drove to the interview. Google said it would take me two and a half hours. I left three hours and forty-five minutes, and made it by the skin on my teeth. I prayed so hard and sweated so much on that hideous journey, with all the invisible workmen coning off most of the M42, with rain lashing across my windscreen and splattering up from the car in front, creating the worst driving conditions I’ve ever seen bar a cyclone on a tropical island, no word of a lie. I sat at a standstill for 35 minutes at one point, wondering whether they’d still see me if I missed my slot, given how far I’d come, and whether it would be quicker to walk the remaining 98 miles.
I eventually arrived and had my interview. They asked me hideous questions. I don’t know how I did. The relief when it was over, and I’d asked them an interesting question, and made them all laugh (apart from one older man who looked like he’d had a sense-of-humour bypass in about 1972) made me physically relax. I ran back out to my car in the torrential rain, put on my seatbelt, and thought, ‘What is that itch?’ Thinking it was on the seatbelt, I ran my hands down it. The next thought to occur to a biologist, however smartly she’s dressed, is always ‘Maybe there’s a beetle down my front,’, so I stuck my hand down my dress and – what’s that? Oh.
It was only… A LABEL.
I’d gone into my Interview Of A Lifetime…. With my dress on back to front.
Guess we’ll just have to see how it goes 🙃
Thank you all, and goodnight.
Edit: Yeah, I do think the seam down the front and the bosom fit tucks across the back were noticeable, tbh