Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Interview

Pin It I went on a job interview yesterday. Not because I want a job. It was a “just in case” interview. Just in case things don’t turn out well with the business in the next month, I’ll have a job.

I haven’t been on a job interview in years, but I actually like interviewing. I know that’s odd. But hey, how many situations do you find yourself in where a bunch of people basically want you to sit and brag about yourself and your stellar abilities, while they nod and smile appreciatively? Not a lot! (Holding court with my children doesn’t count and besides, my kids aren’t all that impressed when I tell them I can create Flash tutorials in Macromedia Captivate or step tables in Dreamweaver. Losers.)

I had a phone interview last week, and yesterday at 3 in the afternoon was the live-and-in-person version, so I had to get dressed in actual – work clothes - (shudder) before driving into the Salt Lake valley.

I found the massive office complex, found the huge glass building, and the security guard buzzed me through to the lobby after asking a few questions. I signed in and waited for someone with appropriate clearance to come down to get me. The “security guard,” a slacker looking guy who was 19 years old max, handed me a “security badge” which was really just a sticker that said, “Hi, My Name Is” with my name written on it. I looked at him and started laughing, and he smiled at me sheepishly. "We’re out of badges.” I was still laughing when the very nice assistant, Brandi, came to get me.

We went buzzing and beeping through several checkpoints. I have no idea what they are doing in this building, but apparently it is TOP SECRET and EXTREMELY CONFIDENTIAL and for AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. Brandi led me through a series of identical antiseptic corridors until we arrived at the reception area, where they offered me fudge and soda. I wanted to ask if that was an actual employee benefit, or just something they teased the new applicants with, but then they asked me to come on back to the conference room. We turned the corner, and they took me inside, into the department of training and technical writing.

What I saw was hellish. A gigantic gray warehouse of a room with row after row after row of gray cubicles. I wanted to run screaming from the room. It looked almost exactly like
this. But I couldn’t just take off. There was the whole, getting to brag thing, and the not wanting them to think I was a nutcase thing, so I proceeded into the conference room.

The people were friendly. They liked the portfolio of technical writing samples I’d emailed to them. They were happy with my technical skills. They liked my attitude. They liked my references.
They lobbed a few softball questions at me, and I smacked them out of the park. (I should teach a class on BSing your way through an interview, because seriously, I ROCK at interviews.) Then they were done. They wanted to know what questions I had. What were MY concerns? What could they do for me? How much money would I need?

I looked at the cubicles and named a figure I realized would be way too high for the Utah market, thinking that would be the deal breaker and I would not have to worry about turning down the position – I’d be free as a bird. “No problem," smiled the interviewer, "That’s right in our range.” I immediately cursed myself for not naming a much higher number.

I told them the drive from my house had taken almost an hour, and I didn’t think I would be able to justify that kind of commute. “No problem,” the interviewer said, “because we’re moving to a new building on 106th South in a few months.” 106th South is about 15 minutes from my house.

“Well,” I stuttered, “the thing is, I’ve been working from home for the last seven years, and I’m not sure that I could –“

“Oh, you can work from home 4 days a week. If you want. We’re flexible. We don’t have enough cubicles anyway.”

They then assured me that they felt that all of their technical writers were “artists” (and o.k., I almost started laughing, because technical writing is not art – it’s procedure and process and a whole lot of boring stuff, but not ART) and that the job moved quickly and was often stressful but that the year end bonus usually made up for it.

I am trapped. TRAPPED. They are hiring four technical writers - four. And they loved me. I could feel the employer love coming off of them in waves. What are the odds they won’t make an offer? They said they would make offers next week, and then there will be fingerprinting, so I figure I have about a week to commit some type of felony so that I will not have the option to take the job. Because taking the job would break my heart.

I KNOW I shouldn’t be complaining. I know how obnoxious this sounds. Free fudge, working from home, doing something I like doing, getting paid – shut up, right? I know one of my sisters in particular is probably wanting to knock me over the head with a frying pan at this moment, if she’s reading. It sounds like it would be an amazing job - so how much of a spoiled brat could I be?

But, but, but –you see the real problem with this job, right? I mean, besides having to get dressed one day a week? (Apparently, in what I feel is a major flaw in their employee satisfaction program, they do NOT allow pajama pants and slippers in the office. I KNOW!!! Crazy.)

The real problem is that it would mean the death of the business and everything we’ve worked for. And I’m not ready for that yet. I’m not ready to give up yet. If I take this job, it's over.


  1. Awww, I only know snippits of what you've been doing, so Im not 100% informed, but I am sorry this is such a hard desision. It does sound like the BEST way to go in a bad/sad situation.
    FUDGE? Are you kidding me? WHO could turn down a sweet salary with FUDGE! Holla!

    And on a side note- that youtube is the freakin funniest thing EVER! I was roaring with laughter- I have to go watch it again!

    Good Luck! You super over achiever interviewer!

  2. Im laughing, laughing, laughing-then WWWAA, WWWAA!!!!! (that was supposed to be the Debby Downer "wwwaaa, wwwaaa") the end of this post was so sad! I am glad there is a job for you, just in case, but I REALLY hope you don't have to take it. the last few years can't end in you getting a real job, can they? I hope it all works out how you want & need.

    I, too, am dying at the youtube video. Kyle keeps asking for it again, so adios for now...

  3. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Ha ha I wish I had that job. I wish I had any job. My kids are driving me nuts.

  4. I will put the frying pan aside momentarily to say that I have empathy for you. (Unless there is another sister waiting with a frying pan, in which case you might want to duck.) Hard, hard decisions. Working for other people after working for yourself is a tough adjustment.

    Did you at least take some fudge? Internet hugs to you... 'cause you know how we feel about real ones in this family.

  5. Tee hee I was actually thinking of a different sister (the sister who I know READS BUT NEVER COMMENTS) but I'm glad you are not planning to hit me. And thank you for the hugs - you are right, in real life it would be totally awkward. ;>

  6. Anonymous1:06 PM

    OK, since you are DYING for comments, I'll leave one. I usually lurk... I have nothing funny to say but I hope it works out.

  7. Okay, knowing that you are the MASTER interviewer is totally enough to make us all bask in your glory! I have heard stories of your interviews and know that they were just falling at your feet! Just remember how awesome that is that they are wiling to let you do the job pretty much the way YOU want to do it for the salary YOU asked for! Holy crap woman! Da$#, you're good!
    Definitely a rock and a hard place situation though, I understand the dilema completely! Good luck with that!
    PS I agree that everyone that reads blogs frequently, should feel the NEED to comment just as frequently!

  8. Anonymous2:53 PM

    OK,OK, I relent, I will leave a comment. But only because I think I am the sister holding the frying pan. Which I am not, by the way. I think it is incredibly awesome that you have enough talent to impress these people enough to pretty much get whatever you ask for. And fudge. I think the only thing better might have been a soda machine that dispenses Fresca and Diet Dr. Pepper! I think they might have had you with that one.

    You know I want the best for you and your family. Hopefully things will work out for both of us!

    One armed Hutchings internet hug!

  9. Oh my gosh, you COMMENTED ON MY BLOG!!!! Woooohoooooo! Miracles DO still happen!!! It's like Christmas morning!! xoxoxo

  10. We might be the same person, I'm just warning you in case you want to run in the other direction.

    (I'm a product manager.)

  11. Azucar - wow. Liberal, Utah County, slacker mom bloggers who are employed in the technology field? (Insert twilight zone music here) I feel like I've found my long lost hand twin or something.

  12. Anonymous4:01 PM

    you should have taken the job