Saturday, April 17, 2010

Descants, Desks, And Derrieres. A Craigslist Ballad.

During a burst of proactivity in February, inspired by a desire for more money and a misguided belief that if I had any kind of Desk Job I'd be closer to A Career, I focused my Craigslist searching on part-time admin jobs I could take while still working at the restaurant.

I found a promising post that advertised a part time client services position (read: lunch fetcher) at a small but successful video post production company. I eagerly sent them my materials and within a day had my interview scheduled. I was one step closer to sitting and internet browsing at work.

Battling through epic amounts of slush, I headed to their office on Broadway, in a neighborhood that is called NoHo by real estate people only. The night before had been one of the torrential snows of the season, and I worried that the office would be closed.

I entered the lobby and introduced myself to the receptionist, noting the front desk area, my potential future workspace. The ergonomic chair was singing to me and my achey self of better times, and I noted the paused Hulu video on the computer with envy and excitement. After sitting in the office's lobby, watching videos of the firm's editing work on the massive flatscreens, I met the woman who would interview me. We sat facing each other in rolling desk chairs in her office, which was equipped with the largest, sexiest Mac screen I've ever seen in real life. She had my resume in front of her.

Boss Lady: Basically the job has two main aspects. Manning the front desk- you know, answering phones, sorting mail. The other part is client services. When we have clients, we might need you to pick up lunch, coffee, stuff like that.
Underemployed: Great. I have reception experience, and I'm pretty comfortable taking food orders.
Boss Lady laughs.
Boss Lady: Well, you went to Ivy League, so I think you can handle this.
Underemployed, to herself: Don't sound arrogant. Talk about work, not school.
Underemployed: Well, my office and reception experiences have given me good training, and I'm a people person. I'm great on the phone and I enjoy this sort of work.
Boss Lady: I mean. Ivy League is a really great school. Creative people there.
Underemployed: I had a great time and learned a lot.
Boss Lady: I bet. You can do the job. I mean, you went to Ivy League. It's just a matter of us figuring out scheduling, you know, since we're hiring to replace CurrentPartTimer. We're interviewing people this week.
Underemployed: Well, I'm not working many shifts at the restaurant these days, and when you let me know what days you need me, I'll move my restaurant schedule around. This would take priority.

The interview was great. Boss Lady was interested in my thoughts about Ivy League; how New York compared to Seattle; how I felt about the restaurant industry; my art career. I even managed to make a few nerdy FinalCut jokes while praising her firm's beautiful editing projects. (I didn't even have to lie about it. They have an impressive portfolio of happy clients) We finished up our conversation on New York City snow navigation and strategies, bonded over our mutual anxiety about the elevated portion of the F train and said our goodbyes. I left feeling that I did my best, which was pretty good.

"It would be sweet to have a second job where I don't have to ask permission to go to the bathroom!" I thought to myself as I shivered down Broadway.

Her insistence on Ivy League and my over-qualification didn't sit well with me as hours and then days passed. I sensed it was a bad sign and the death knell of the interview, replaying her comments in my head over and over again to the the main Psycho theme. About a week later, I got the rejection email, which told me the firm decided to go with a candidate better suited to the work. And you know what? I wasn't surprised or disappointed. I think Boss Lady wanted to talk with me about art and city life because she thought I was interesting and on some subconscious level knew she wasn't going to hire me. Maybe she found a career receptionist, or maybe a young film student who wants to follow in her footsteps. Or maybe she didn't believe I was willing to take orders from her. Now that would be funny.

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