A couple of weeks ago, after I found out I’m soon to be laid off, I asked Jesus to take the wheel on my behalf and find me a job. I waited all weekend… nothing. Monday came around and I dusted myself off, vowing to never count on him again. So far I’ve applied to 24 different positions and am working with three different recruiters – they don’t know about each other and I feel deliciously adulterous. One of them has known me for five years; he placed me at two of the three jobs I’ve had. Last week he scored me an interview for a job at a Boston non-profit, for which I felt well-qualified and confident. I was to meet first with a partner organization’s office manager, and if that went well, with the CEO soon after. I was excited; I liked the location, I admired the work the organization does, and I suspected the position would challenge me positively.
Knowing I’d be meeting with women only, I chose to wear a pantsuit. I leave the skirt and heels, with a hint of French perfume for male interviewers, so as to suggest, “see what you’d get to look at all day every day, prancing around the office?” Of course once I’m hired, I go right back to flats and pants, and they can’t do a thing about it.
I was on time, I looked capable and motivated and proactive, like a Jane of All Trades wearing about 17 invisible hats… I also smelled like reduced operating costs. The pretty girl interviewing me seemed cold and disengaged at first, but I charmed her with my big, interested eyes, and anecdotes of super-human multi-tasking abilities. We shared stories of volunteer experiences, and by the time she walked me out, her pretty blue eyes were lit up with love for me.
And then silence. For 48 hours the recruiter heard nothing, not a speck of feedback. On the third day, he emailed me:
She thought you were a really nice person and qualified candidate. She is however going to move forward and bring back two other candidates. She said she felt they would click better with the CEO. Nothing against you… just felt these other two would be a better match. Ugh… I’m sorry!
It felt like high school all over again; the many face piercings and short hair scared away the boys who had no idea of my superior kissing and video-gaming skills. Except in this case, I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. I looked good, I spoke eloquently, and as I mentioned, I smelled like success. I wore pants. My resume was printed on luxurious, textured paper. I made her laugh and smile. I OFFERED HER A PEN because she’d forgotten to bring one into the interview. I remembered the receptionist’s name on my way out.
I’ll never know why I wasn’t chosen, but I’ve come up with a couple of plausible culpable factors for this colossal conundrum:
1. The CEO is a raging, miserable bitch;
2. I came across as a real person.
Truly, I believe this. I smiled quite a bit, and most of it was genuine because I was excited about the interview. But I see now what a huge mistake that was. The recruiter had told me to “just be myself,” when he should’ve really said, “go in there and show them what a well-oiled, recently tuned up, multi-tasking, multi-lingual robot you are!”
I was weak and naive: I showed emotion and a personality. I believe I even suggested I might have interests that I pursue outside of work hours. I feel ashamed, as once did after waking up naked on my dormitory bed, and noticing the vomit inside the unlined trash receptacle – especially as I was hit with the memory of also having thrown up in front of my crush’s bedroom door, having failed to wait till I reached the bathroom. But I learned my lesson: I haven’t touched tequila since. Wednesday morning will have me face-to-face with a male CEO of an internet start-up. My mouth will give him nothing but Gizmodo, while my pencil skirt shall recount other tales…