I have been interviewing for new jobs a lot recently. I know I play it up on this here blog like pretty much all I do is lie around reading Harry Potter and painting my fingernails. But to be honest, I only spend about 80% of my time reading Harry Potter and 2% of my time painting my finger nails. The other 18% of my time is spend job hunting and interviewing. What did you take me for, a slacker!?
So, recently, I was invited to interview for a recruiting position at a very formal and fancy law firm in New York. The firm in question has an excellent reputation, full of prestige and grandeur -- very snooty patooty, as they say. Naturally, I was anxious to impress.
On the day in question, I arrived, early, in a reception area full of dark wood paneling and stuffy arm chairs, all facing expansive windows with a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. It was just the littlest bit intimidating.
In true interview form, I was wearing a full suit, a button down shirt, and a jacket (it is winter after all). Just before I sat down in a stuffy arm chair, the receptionist indicated a coat closet off to the side where I could hang my jacket -- which was a very business-y black wool. I did so, because I knew right off the bat that this interview was expected to take hours and hours and I didn't want to be hot. There would be tests -- Excel, Word, grammar. There would be a structured interview with HR. And, after all that, there would be a meeting with the Recruiting Manager. Hanging up my coat was practically necessary.
Then I had the tests, which I had prepared for in advance (over-achieving for the win!), the structured interview, which was pure torture and probably my weakest event ("What are your greatest strengths? What are your greatest weaknesses? How do you overcome a challenge?" Blah blah blah barf), and finally a meeting with the Recruiting Manager, which was a more casual conversation that, I hoped, went well. All in all, I was there for almost 3 hours.
Afterwards, I walked back to reception in a daze, my brain starting to crumble under the strain it had just endured. I walked, practically cross-eyed, to the coat room, grabbed my black-wool coat, paused at reception awkwardly before realizing that I had nothing to say to them, waved good bye, and got in the elevator to head home.
Thankfully, the 2/3, which is my (most favorite in the world) subway line, comes directly into the office building of the law firm. I made my winding way down the stairs, still frazzled, and finally arrived at the platform edge to wait for my train. I absentmindedly put my hand in my coat pocket and it was then I noticed for the first time that --
-- wait. These pockets feel nothing like my pockets.
Hang on, I don't have a hat, what is this hat doing here in this pocket?
Wait. Hang on. Hang on a second.
This isn't my coat.
And now that you mention it, Brain, it feels nothing like my coat. It is way to big and sitting awkwardly on my shoulders. How could I possibly not have noticed before?
I felt panic grip me as the realization struck. What if I had gotten on that train? I don't even like to think about it. What if someone noticed that their coat was missing? I couldn't let that happen. I had to get back upstairs as quickly as possible.
I raced and raced back through the windy subway maze to the lobby of the building, pausing impatiently to re-announce myself at the security desk ("ALL VISITORS MUST BE ANNOUNCED!!!!"). "I TOOK THE WRONG COAT AND I JUST NEED TO GET UPSTAIRS AND EXCHANGE IT!" I practically screamed at the guy standing behind the desk. He just stared at me blankly and, with about as much urgency as a turtle, printed another visitor's pass.
The receptionist was just a little surprised to see me when I practically fell through the glass doors of reception and announced, "THERE'S BEEN A TERRIBLE MISTAKE."
I stumbled towards her, "I took the wrong coat by accident, can you even believe this?!" Thankfully, she started laughing and assured me that no one had come in to claim that particular coat while I was gone. So, phew, it could have been worse! Maybe I would yet manage to survive this with some of my dignity intact.
In the coat closet, I found my coat almost immediately. It was carefully lined up with all the other black-wool coats that apparently everyone in the office had decided to wear that day. But still, I double checked the label at least fifteen times. I needed to be very, very sure. I couldn't make that mistake again.
When I left for the second time the receptionist was still laughing at me.
I'm gonna go ahead and say that I'm pretty sure I didn't get that job.
But I'm OK with it.