Sunday, January 20, 2008

Victory will (possibly) be mine:

When I last cut out, suddenly, I was talking about having a job interview. I had it. Now, talking about it after the fact seems even more likely to jinx me, but I'll do it anyway.

Despite staying out rather late, listening to some local DJs, I managed to wake up on time, primp and groom, and make it to work on time. My interview had been moved to the afternoon which meant that I had a few more hours to be nervous, but it also meant that I'd have a little more time to prepare. And I did. I made lists. I listed three traits that a supervisor might use to describe me, I came up with one fault and a way to put a positive spin on it - I have a hard time asking for help BUT I guess that has everything to do with my incredibly determined nature - HA! I listed questions I should ask them as well. "How would you describe the office atmosphere?" and such things. I researched the organization thoroughly so if they asked me what I knew about them I wouldn't panic and start hyperventilating. If I had to rate myself on this interview, I'd give myself a 9.4 - I mark myself down for perhaps being a bit too good. I nearly creeped myself out with how sincere and dear a person I could portray. It wasn't that any of it was untruthful, but it is that I'm usually the last to admit that I appreciate my parents teaching me to work hard - that stuff makes me feel a little nauseated mostly.

I made it back to work a little late after the interview, I didn't mention it to my supervisor and I avoided the subject with my nosy co-worker. Eventually that nagging loyalty and guilt that I feel got the better of me and I called the HR Generalist (whom I like and who likes me, luckily) to confess to my "adultery" and plead with her to understand why it had to be that way. She understood, said that she'd keep my secret, and wished me luck on the endeavor.

I apparently take two nights off a week, Tuesdays and Sundays. All other nights I am likely to be found doing something other than sitting or lying around my house reading or blogging. This last Tuesday night was no different, but instead of reading or blogging, I spent the evening trying to prepare for a meeting which should have had my full attention several days before. Oops.

Wednesday was another day at work, but luckily I was still quasi-high from the interview induced adrenaline rush. It only happens with good interviews, so I think it is a good sign. That evening I went to my meeting and was disappointed that only my group was there, instead of attractive and slightly mysterious strangers (now turned acquaintances). We had a rather muddled meeting, my fault entirely, but I kept things light, so I imagine people didn't mind all that much. They have already made up their minds about me anyway, proof in how unimpressed they were with the meeting prior and its glorious organization and leadership skills, so I am hesitant to stretch myself too much. After the meeting ended, I stayed around in the company of Miss B and Mr. P, who were playing pool. Miss L stopped by to ask if I could take the car, as she had enjoyed a glass of wine or two, and I agreed that I would and decided to join her and Mr. W at another location.

Miss L and Mr. W went to run an errand and I headed to my favorite bar planning to meet them there. By the time they arrived, perhaps a half hour later, I was already completely engrossed in conversation with one member of Juneau's "elite" or another. I was bouncing back and forth between deep and meaningful conversations with two "gentlemen" that evening. Mr. J, the morose scenester and Mr. M, the underground artiste. Mr. J had a book of Keats to go with his Pabst Blue Ribbon, the boy is juxtaposition personified. I'd use more literary devices to describe him if I didn't think it would make this account any more unbearable to read. Mr. M, however, is down to earth, sincere and, as I've since discovered, obscenely talented. We talked for hours about the grittiest details of our art and the more we talked the more mesmerized we grew. The crowd thinned, though being the official meeting night of a certain "elite" club, the place had been crowded up to the later hours. When Miss R started shooing people from the bar, we gathered coats and walked outside into the forgotten cold, saying our goodbyes and tying up loose ends as we went. I shared a rather lengthy hug with Mr. J as I walked toward the car, Mr. M following. I had been as enthralled with our chat as he had been, but I was still unsure of its actual weight. When I reached the car's location, I was surprised to find no car - not that surprised, I assumed correctly (as ascertained by reading my previously unnoticed text messages) that Miss L had taken it because I was still so engaged when she had wanted to leave. We had one of those tenderly awkward partings, the type of parting that befalls people who have no idea what the other person is thinking but who hope that the other person is thinking the same saccharine thoughts, I suppose. I got a sweet peck on the lips and a lunch date out of the night.

Thursday I was once again in a brilliant mood, this time because I had a lunch date. I have this nostalgia for a time before mine, a time when dating meant going on dates, a time when men opened doors for women and women didn't change the spelling of the word 'women' out of spite. I would like to point out that I am a feminist and that I don't feel any desire to be paid less, have a harder time getting ahead in life, or to be a housewife by profession, but I don't think that men open doors because we are the "weaker sex" who cannot open them ourselves. I think it is merely a nice gesture. Anyway, I had my lunch date and I think that it started pretty well. I started off giddily showing him my stupid post-it note caricatures at work, then I pulled myself together well enough to have a nice normal lunch and conversation. I think the end is when things got iffy - or perhaps I am simply over-analyzing. I always have this tendency to pull out my wallet when the check comes, mostly it is because I don't want whoever I'm with to feel obligated to pay for my meal (see, I'm a feminist) but not thinking about the significance of doing so. It could mean a few things: First, what it actually means, is that I understand that neither of us is rich, and I don't want to burden him with paying if it is not a financially sound decision. Then, there are possible readings of this well intentioned gesture which are not that great. What if it is read as a symbol of platonic feelings? Not that I've made up my mind either way, but I certainly didn't intend to signal that. Anyway, the lunch date ended with a hug and a 'see you later' or something equally lacking in enthusiasm, convincing me for good that I suck at dating.

That night was Open Mic night and I went to my favorite bar again, finding Miss B and Mr. P, along with Mr. A and Miss B's sister sitting at a table toward the back. As I didn't really know many others and since I enjoy Miss B's company, I joined their table, waiting for Mr. J and Mr. M to perform. Some really excited people performed, then some more hesitant people, and then the hostess performed and declared that she would continue until some new musicians stepped forward. Mr. J still hadn't shown up. Mr. M was there, but was occupied with other people or other matters. I had discovered that afternoon the extent of his talent (which makes me a bit embarrassed for my meager talents) and wanted to tell him of this amazing discovery, but immediately felt as though I had done that thing that Miss L tells me I'm not to do - you know - show that I'm interested. That meant that I had blown it completely and that I was one step closer to spinster-hood. I tried to be charming in the company I had, but I felt a little out of place. Miss R never showed up either. When my table left from around me, I stayed, stubbornly, and tried to ignore Mr. S, who had shown up with his co-workers. I did converse with him briefly, but I have to stay strong and not pay him much attention, lest he think he still has a chance with me (lest I allow him to have an undeserved chance with me). I probably seemed like a terrible bitch, sitting one table away from people I knew, refusing to be bubbly and personable. I gave up on Mr. J, Mr. M, Miss R and anyone else whose company I may have hoped for, and I left. Walking out, I ran almost right into Mr. S and chatted for the briefest moment, citing the cold as my reason for hurrying off.

Friday I awoke later than I had intended, but made it to work on time, made it out of work on time, and made it home to pack and leave for Haines on the slow ferry. The slow ferry I was on, the Matanuska had the charm of an Oklahoma mobile home. Our group gathered in the dining area which smelled exactly like an elementary school cafeteria did before parents got super pissed about obesity in children. Eventually I stopped noticing the smell, hoping against all odds, that this didn't mean that I had absorbed it. Haines is beautiful. I am still in awe of its beauty. Juneau looked beautiful when I arrived home today too, something about clear days... Here's an attempt at nature writing in my slightly quirky style: One expects snow covered landscapes to be pristine and sharp white, with stark contrasts between the snow and any peeking soil or jutting rock. This is only the case if one looks at black and white photos, because every morning and every evening, the mountains would glow pink. And in the afternoon sun, the mountains would be golden. And at night the mountains were blue. Also, every building in Haines looked like a cupcake - each one frosted with white sugary looking snow. It felt like being in a giant bowl of mountains, any direction I looked, I'd see mountains: big, soft, round mountains or jagged and angular mountains. The water was calm, punctuated here and there by floating gulls or the playful splashes of marine life. The town was quaint, with hand painted signs and wooden siding. There were barely any cars, so we walked in the streets to avoid falling on the ice. Where the snow had been cleared or where snow had fallen away due to its own weight, one could see that it was stratified. As you can tell the age of a tree by its rings, you could see how many separate snow flurries or downpours there had been by the different layers of snow. Powder under crust under powder and an icy crust again. There had to have been feet of precipitate history on every rooftop. Along roads and around the brewery there were miniature mountains of pure snow - enough to stir up the metaphorical child within me and elicit desires to make snow angels or to just jump in, waist deep. I didn't. As the youngest person in the group, I had to maintain some semblance of dignity to be sure that I could be taken seriously.

The best part of the Haines trip was certainly the view, the second best part was the purpose for being there itself, and the third best part was having a fun Saturday night in the local bars. I went out with the others of the "young" faction and we spent some time at the Fogcutter bar, which was packed full of snow-mobilers, as there had been a major race earlier that day. I had just started drinking again (first drinks since New Year's Eve) and I was disappointed to note that my tolerance had not gone down. That said, Mr. E and I stayed out the latest of the group, laughing over our beers and our recollections of University life. Despite having spent very little time together while we attended University, we found that we had many similar memories and that we have more in common than we'd initially expected.

I have no real complaints about life right now - I just hope that I get this job (cross your fingers, please) and that I learn how to function in the dating world in time to avoid being called an old maid. I doubt there is a place in Juneau for 40-something-and-fabulous Sex and the City archetypes, so I'd just have to collect cats and learn to knit.


Myron Davis said...

Very interesting read. I've heard the "what is your worst trait" question, and I think that question really is a bad one because every time the applicant will come up with something that can be spun positively. Such as I am really focused and I lost track of time, which could very well be spun positively.

I could comment on everything else, but this is your blog not mine and I am afraid that my comments may take a lot more pages :P as there is a lot of different stuff going on.

Good luck on the job.

Myron Davis said...

Oh and I'm totally and utterly absent minded.. I was also going to say:

A better question would be:

What is the worst thing/mistake you have ever done on a job and how did you handle it.

That is a much more interesting question as it can tell a lot about the applicant, and how he or she handles things.

Melissa Leeanne said...

They actually didn't ask what my greatest fault was! I thought the interview was a much better format than most I've suffered through, either as interviewee or interviewer. It allowed for dialog rather than awkward monologues.

Thanks for the good luck wish!

Myron Davis said...

I know what you mean... I believe for an interview to be successful a two way discourse which is intelligent and rewarding to both people is the best way for a job. If the interviewer feels that the person they are attempting to hire has the ability to intelligently discuss topics and work well with others they will be more likely to hire that individual.

Based on your blog that there was not long monologues and some intelligent conversation back and forth I would rate your chances of being hired.


Plus if you have a natural charisma about you (which you appear to have) I would then upgrade your hiring chances again to:

Very Favorable.

But what do I know, I'm just some random guy on the internet who clicked on people's blogs in Juneau and wandered across yours :P.