“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


It's Like An Out Of Body Experience

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I had an interview today – the first one since I started seriously looking for a job about a month ago. Office work is scarce in this rural area, yet all of my experience is in office work. If I had experience as a nurse or a machine operator or a big rig driver, I would probably have a job by now, but I don’t. This job is as a file clerk, but it’s really a general office position – gathering and replacing charts, answering phones, etc, etc.

The interview went well, as interviews go, but I had to lie. Does everyone lie at interviews? I’m not talking about telling them you worked 10 years at a company where you only worked 10 days, or telling them you’re not a felon when you’ve been convicted of attempted murder. I would never do that (neither the telling nor the murder).

I’m talking about lying in answer to the stupid questions. Questions like, “Do you really want this job? Or do you just want a job?”, to which I answered that I really want this job, when the truth is that the only job I really want is homemaker of my own home. Or how about this one? “What was your favorite thing about your previous job?” To that one I answered that I loved learning about all the equipment the company used and then passing that knowledge along to others. Not true, but I had to come up with something.

I can be quite convincing. Funny thing is, the only question which they probably won’t believe my answer to is one which is absolutely true. When they ask that age-old, despicable question, “What is your worst quality?”, my standard answer is that I tend to be very shy, but of course I have spent my life learning to overcome that tendency. This is absolutely true, but I don’t think interviewers believe me.

See, I have somehow developed this odd sort of act that happens on interviews that is completely out of my control. I can be utterly freaked out to the point of tears before the interview, but the moment the interviewer shakes my hand it’s like I become a different person. I’m friendly, loquacious, unreserved, and while my brain is still up there hiding out in my skull, invisibly freaking out, my manner somehow says I’m cool, I’m calm, I’m completely in control. I swear, the people who know me best would not recognize me when this change comes over me, and I can’t explain how it happens. It just does.

For that reason, they don’t believe me. I’ve had interviewers look at me incredulously, even suspiciously, and tell me that I don’t seem shy. And I can’t prove it to them. I just am.

And the minute I’m out of the interviewer’s sight, I fall apart again. Like I did today. It took about a dozen kleenexes, a big can of Red Bull, and a really sappy movie to pull me together again. And now I feel a bit like I’m in mourning – like a piece of me died and I’m trying to get it back. Don’t bother asking what that means. I can’t even explain it to myself.

So now all that’s left is to wait to hear from them, telling me either that I did or did not get the job that I don’t really want, but feel guilty for not wanting because I really should want it. I should hear either tomorrow or Monday.

Great. One more thing to freak out about.

Labels: ,


At 2/01/2008 7:03 PM, Blogger HolyMama! wrote:

awww! i actually believe you because the same thing happens to me. not in interviews. i don't do those - but in any general social setting. i can fake my way into looking completely at ease and comfortable, even though i've done the hyperventilating thing moments beforehand. i get it.

you scared me though! you said you'd lied at an interview, and i just KNEW it was the convicted of a felony thing. Whew! Good luck!


Post a Comment

I'm having trouble with word verification so all comments will now go through moderation. Don't worry. I check my email often so it won't take long before your comment shows up.

<< Home