Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My funny job interview
George W. Bush once remarked on how touchingly American it was to have two jobs so I thought I'd stick it to him with five, before reminding him he couldn't even last on an oil rig without quitting for a beer.
This job involves demonstrating plastic windows, faux brickwork, conservatories etc. to the general public. I'm not sure how you demonstrate them per se. They're just there.
As I generally like and am amused by the general public, I thought let's give it a go.
I arrived at an industrial park in the middle of Norfolk; it could have been Kansas, but perhaps not the Amalfi Coast. I was asked by the receptionist, who was wearing rather an unusual pair of diamond studded heels - not that I noticed - to fill in a basic application form.
After screwing up about three because I routinely forget my Social Security number and haven't yet worked up the courage to get it tattooed on my forehead, I was ushered into what can loosely be described as a board room by a rather fierce looking woman of Cuban appearance who appeared to have applied her make-up that morning with the aid of a concrete mixer.
The first question was simple enough: "So tell me about yourself." she didn't add: "And outline the qualities that make you worthy of earning $9 an hour, with commission of $100 for every 27 conservatories you sell worth more than $1 million."
I gave her the short version as opposed to the long one which starts: "I was born at 10.30 a.m. at Great Yawning Hospital in the West Midlands, weight 5 lbs 6, color, mildly purple. My parents had a few problems with the car seat. My mother never again spoke to the organizer of the child beauty pageant after the results came in etc..."
Instead I rambled on about customer service and my love of the great unwashed general public, only to be interrupted by the aforementioned Cuban looking woman.
"You'll come for training tomorrow at 10 a.m.. Please fill in the forms for payment etc."
Now I was slightly taken aback by this because interviewers usually tell me "I'll be in touch." Then a couple of months go by, I summon up the courage to call them and they say: "Nope. You were crap. We gave the job to someone else."
Cuban looking woman went on to explain how the company was going down the tubes because demonstrators were making up false names to get sales.
"And they think I don't check the numbers? I'm here late at night, checking the numbers.
I came away with the distinct impression she checks the numbers.
Cue sympathetic noises from me. It seemed rude to mention the recession in the building industry.
"OK you make six sales in a month or you're out," she said, and picked up the phone for a store rep. to map out the rest of my life for the foreseeable future as I waved my hands around rather unimpressively.
"OK, you're booked in," she said.
"You know I told you I had a full time job. I'm only looking for Sundays," I said.
She shot me a predatory look from under those industrially made up eyes and snapped back. "But you said you'd be flexible."
"I explained this to the lady when I called," I responded.
"Huh - she's just a receptionist."
Still she's back on the phone to the man at the chalk-face. "So you do weekends? You do every weekend of the year. That includes New Year's Day."
"Well, actually I have a party and I don't get out much. Normally."
For some strange reason I still filled in the paperwork. The man at the chalkface is going to call me back next year, giving me a small window to emulate Lord Lucan.