Be Careful What You Wish For

Recovered from the dusty archives of one of my old blogs. First published February 20, 2003.

I spoke too soon about the job thing. Things can be worse than they seem.

You send your resume around, hoping someone will call, and when they do you screw up the interview. Happened to me so many times I’m writing something about it.

A leading magazine chain called me the other morning to force me into their office that afternoon for an interview. If I didn’t show up, I might as well have said that I wasn’t interested in their magazine (or their money, for that matter). Do these people even have to ask? I had given them my résumé a month ago, asking for whatever position they thought would be most appropriate for my writing.Two weeks later they give a call for a preliminary interview. Two interviews later, I’m freezing my ass off for the better part of a half hour AFTER they scheduled this interview.

As it turns out, the people there were interested in having me as a gofer for their society magazine.

Work of this nature involves going around at parties asking society matrons for their favorite perfume while posing for a nameless photographer (read: me); prepping clothes for fashion shoots (like scrubbing down jeans and other faux aged items); and editing articles by people who can hardly spell, let alone put together two words to form a coherent idea.

“The editors are at a party, but should be here soon,” the receptionist says to thin air while brushing her nails for the fifteenth time. I assume she’s talking to me.

“I’m fine,” I reply. I’m such a bad liar.

I must have seen the entire staff of at least three magazines before I hear anything that resembles my name.

A classmate of mine from college has spotted me. A rare occasion these days. She herself was in this spot the last time I was here (more or less around two weeks ago). As her elevator opens, I note a cheerful wave from her. It’s the only smile I get all day.

They’ve turned off the air conditioning in the company lobby by the time they call my name. They haven’t turned off the air conditioning in the big boss’s office, which is where I’ve been ushered.

The big boss is shocked that I’m a man who happens to be very not gay. She then launches into a series of questions that in not so many words asks me what the hell was I doing there when I should be out somewhere making someone else richer.

“I don’t like sales.”
“You’re not going to be writing, that’s for sure.”
“I know. It’s grunt work.”
“Not really.”

Tense looks all around. My palms are sweating for the first time in an interview, despite this being the coldest interview I’d been in.

“So, why aren’t you in straight news,” the big boss asks me while perusing through my attached writing samples.

“I thought that all magazines could use a straight news approach,” I say with a smile.

The magazine that they wanted me to work for had zero straight news content. Half the pages were filled with society photos (who went to what party and so on) while the other half focused on weddings.

“We’ll call you,” they say after 30 minutes. Coldest and shortest interview.

I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.

I never did get that job. Good for me.


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