Thursday, September 6, 2007

One Bad Interview, and Other Work-Related Faux Pas

Yeah, so I had an interview yesterday; without getting into it, let me simply say: It went fine. I didn’t say anything horrible, I didn’t embarrass myself (I don’t think), AND (of course) I didn’t really want the job. But whatever, good practice and all that shit. However, the interview did get me thinking about other interviews I’ve had in the past. One in particular stands out as a shining moment of incompetence on my part.

Let me set the stage: I had recently graduated from college, and like most 21 year olds, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Somehow I had stumbled into a possible job with a major television network, and after a fine first interview I was called back for a second. Unfortunately, the timing of the second interview was…not good.

What happened was, I was going to a wedding on the Saturday before the interview. And since I’m a spoiled brat, I went for a pedicure that Saturday morning. Half-asleep, I sat there having my foot rubbed when I decided to hit the massage button on the chair (fuck I love those massaging chairs). Things then went awry when the pedicurist (is that a word?) hit a point on my toe that made me jump. And I guess I jumped wrong – right into one of those massaging, sticking out, whatever thingies in the chair, AND TOTALLY THREW OUT MY BACK. I mean, I needed three scotches that night in order to even stand up long enough to get dressed for the damned wedding (which ended up being wild by the way.)

Needless to say, by Monday I was not better. And since muscle relaxants didn’t strike me as a good idea, I instead hopped myself up on Advil (which did NOTHING for me), and headed off for my interview pissed off because I was in a shit-ton of pain. Things didn’t get much better when I arrived to find that I was going to be interviewed by four fucking people! (Seems like overkill even now.) Anyway, around the hour mark of this torturous event, one of the guys (total smartass dickwad) asked, “What is one thing you want to accomplish in your life before you die?” And just as I opened my mouth to answer, he added “And don’t say write a book.”

Well that prompted crankypants (me), to reply with a totally straight face, “Write a book.” I offered no further explanation (I thought my point was pretty well made, don’t you?). Let me reiterate here that I was in a lot of pain, and I had been sitting there answering stupid ‘interviewee’ questions like “Tell us about yourself,” “What are you NOT good at,” and my personal favorite, “You say you’re a writer – pretend you’re a cereal and sell yourself to us,” for over an HOUR. And you know what? I DO want to write a book before I die. So back the fuck off, I figured, and left it at that.

Shockingly they didn’t seem to appreciate my sarcasm (no sense of humor). Between that moment and my comment at the end of the interview – I said something along the lines of “Fuck I’m glad to be out of that chair” when I was finally able to stand up (what? I thought I said it quietly!) – it really wasn’t a surprise that I didn’t end up getting the job. But whatever…learning experience.

Some other horrible things I’ve done on the job: Called my boss fat. Okay, I won’t actually take full responsibility for this. Yes, I said it – but I really didn’t mean it the way it came out. You see what happened was, about a year ago (so it had NOTHING to do with my recent firing), my boss was getting ready to go on vacation in Japan. It was the day before she was leaving, and she mentioned that she hadn’t packed yet. Since I never pack more than a few hours before leaving (what can I say, I’m a good pressure player), the following conversation took place:

Redhead: Don’t worry about it. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s not like you’re going to be in the middle of nowhere; if you forget something you can just go out and buy it when you get there.
Boss: Well, not clothes.
Redhead: What do you mean ‘not clothes’? They don’t have clothes in Japan?
Boss: Not in my size. They don’t really have clothes over a size 4 in most places in Japan.
Redhead: What, they don’t have FAT people in Japan?

Cue horrified, shocked look on my boss’ face. Now, my boss is (was)…a rather large woman. And I’ll admit that it did SOUND like I had called her fat. But that wasn’t what I meant! I wasn’t talking about her personally (I’m not that stupid), it was more of a general comment than anything else. I found the idea of an entire country being universally skinny kind of baffling, and so I…said it. Badly.

Anyway, there were witnesses to my brilliant comment, and half the office teased me about it for months afterward. Apparently it sounded as bad as I thought. Moving on…

Oh, there was the time I almost poisoned the president of my division. You see, on a day of mass layoffs about a year-and-a-half ago (good timing on my part – I’m not above kissing ass), I brought in cookies I’d baked over the weekend. I had chocolate chunk, oatmeal raisin, and linzer cookies. As the president guy walked by my desk, I decided to get a few brownie points and offered him a cookie. Reaching for one, he pulled back and asked if there were nuts in any of them.

“No” I replied, “I don’t like nuts so I don’t put them in my cookies.”

“Good,” he said, “I’m allergic to nuts.” He then proceeded to choose a linzer cookie, take a bite, tell me how good it was (my linzers really are melt-in-your-mouth good), and walk away. Simple, right? Yeah, it was. Until about ten minutes later that is, when my head shot up.

“Oh shit!”

“What?” the woman who sits near me asked. (She had witnessed the entire previous exchange between me and said division president.)

Gulping, “The…um…linzer cookies. They have almond extract in them. I totally forgot!”

Silence, then laughing. Lots and lots of laughing (have I mentioned that it was a mass layoff day?!). One woman who had just been laid off walked by, and we told her what I’d done. After more laughter – and a discussion on whether pure almond extract (yes, I used the pure stuff) has more or less almond…essence (?) than actual almonds – the recently laid off woman went off the find out if we needed to call an ambulance. Unfortunately he wasn’t in his office, and we couldn’t find him for like two days after that (he may have gone out of town though – he traveled A LOT!). Either way, he never said anything when he got back, so I’m assuming nothing happened (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

And then there was the time…

Ah fuck, never mind – that’s enough for now. What about you guys? Any work-related faux pas you want to share? Ever called a boss fat or tried to send one into anaphylactic shock? Anyone? Anyone?

Random note: Raising Arizona was on tv last night – one of the best movies ever. Just awesome. If you guys haven’t seen it in a while, I suggest you watch it again.


glassyarddog said...

I love the interview stories.

I had a nice conversation with a douchebag from Microsoft many years ago when I finished my MBA. This blowhole had been criticizing my answers to some of his moronic questions, and I was becoming pissed. In a lame attempt to get back on track, he made what he thought was a throwaway comment about another school's MBA program and how outstanding their students were. This other school did not even register on anyone's radar, and I couldn't figure out why Microsoft would even interview there. My school was ranked in the top 10, with an outstanding reputation, and he just bitch slapped my academic career. Now being totally hacked, I responded by telling him "If they were that bright, they would be going to school HERE."

"Thank you, Mr. Glassyarddog, we'll be in touch."

End of interview.


Jack Cobra said...

I have a work related Christmas Gift Exchange story that can rarely be topped. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to write about it right now...

Cheese said...

Lets see....there was the one time I hid a walkie-talkie in my old bosses office and played cricket sounds all day in his office while he searched behind the window blinds, under his desk, behind the door all day (while SCREAMING his head off. We think he may have been bi-polar)

Or the time I hid in my office the day after St. Patrick's Day because I was a.) still drunk b.) had overslept and c.) the aforementioned boss was PISSED because he spent 2 hours in gridlocked traffic

Or just reciently when I deleted an ENTIRE huge database on accident. One that had no backup. That was fun.

Garrett Reid said...

I watched Raising Arizona on TV last night too. While watching, I thought to myself - this is one of the best movies ever - why don't I watch it more? Great minds and all that.

Redhead said...

glassyarddog: STILL A VEGETARIAN! Oh, and yeah - you've got to love the asshole HR people who hate you for no reason whatsoever (I've met a few of those along the way).

jack: What a tease.

cheese: Ah, but have you ever called that boss fat. I didn't think so.

garrett: Damn straight. I swear, that movie gets better every time I see it.

Bruce Paine said...

I fucked my boss's wife.

Jack Cobra said...

"And then there was the time…

Ah fuck, never mind – that’s enough for now."

You had me ready for another story and then you pulled that....I had to do the same. It is a great story though

Redhead said...

bruce: WHAT?! Nuh uh - you can't just leave it at that; I want the whole story. Go.

jack: So you say - until I hear it I'm going to just assume you're full of shit.

Jack Cobra said...

You can play your Jedi Mind tricks with me all you want....but you can't get into the vault.

I'll leave you with this tidbit of information. Part of the incident involved a 'Feliz Navidad - 2003 Spanish All-Stars' CD and a 4 lb golden reindeer candle holder....that's all for now.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

While writing for the college paper, I once asked Syracuse's football coach about his quarterback, except I substituted the last name "Henderson" for "Anderson." He ran with it, saying great stuff about "Henderson's" contributions to UNC. The quote was then included by the PR staff as one of the post-game quotes, which was comedy, because at the time, there was not ONE player on UNC's roster with the surname "Henderson."

Redhead said...

jack: If you're not going to tell us everything, then you shouldn't have said anything at all - that's just mean.

brooklyn: That really makes the Syracuse coach look bad, not you. (Good story though - great coach.)

onthevirg said...

So what was the job? Why even bother going if you didn't want it?

I have one of the infamous "email sent to wrong person" stories. I'll have to post that up.

Bruce Paine said...

It isn't much of a story. About six years ago (before I met my current gal), my employer's wife would not stop coming on to me. She was practically throwing herself at me at every chance. I had to see her often because she does the interior design on the homes I remodel. I have no doubt that my employer does no satisfy her, and I don't care if he does, he is a cartoony villain and she married him for money, so neither deserves much respect. She came onto me, I said okay, and it was fairly disappointing. She came (I guess that is the word) a few times but after 15 or 20 minutes she asked me to stop. I have often been complimented on my stamina but it was fairly abrupt. She said it had been a long time and she couldn't go anymore. I said, "Okay, whatever" and she apologized for leaving me hanging. She saidn thank you and was shivering so I put a blanket on her and left. I took off early, showered, and ate a sandwich. It isn't something I am very proud of and I don't talk about it in gossip. The internet possesses such wonderful anonymity, though, so if Jack keeps his mouth shut I don't have to worry about it. She asked me a month later if I was disappointed at her performance. I didn't say anything. I didn't do it to get back at my boss or anything, I already intimidate him, so there is no need. She just wouldn't leave me alone and I was 23 and unattached. I don't think it makes me a bad person, as I have almost always treated women with respect, but I have debated whether or not I wronged my personal honor.

Bruce Paine said...

I just read that back to myself and cannot get over the Kubrikian sense of regret I am feeling. I am going to go watch football.

Bruce Paine said...

I have other embarrassing sexual experiences I can share, getting arrested for masturbating, turning down a threesome, shaving in the bathroom of my dorm freshman year and having some girl borrow my shaving cream so she could shave her legs in the men's bathroom. That sort of thing.

Redhead said...

onthevirg: I always go to interviews - unless it's going to be a huge hassle to get there. I figure a) it's good practice, b) you never know if this person could be a contact of the future, c) the interviewer, company, job may surprise me.

bruce: OK first of all, we have all wronged our personal honor at the age of 23 - it's called growing up. Second of all, you stud you! You should have made her give you a blow job to finish you off (I can't believe I just wrote that). Third, I hope your Colts do great tonight. And fourth, I want to hear ALL of those stories. If you don't want to post them in the comments, feel free to email them to me; either way, I want to hear them. Oh, and try to teach your buddy Jack to tell a story - he's left me hanging all day.

Diarrhea of the Mouth said...

i hate doing interviews

Jez said...

I had an interview at Trojan Condoms. Thanks for inspiring this blog:

People interview for different reasons. Usually, I won't go to an interview unless I'm interested in the job. But sometimes I find out that the place is a nightmare. Could work the other way around, I guess. You may not want the job, but you find out during the interview that it's a cool place.

MCBias said...

I went to an interview where, 5 minutes into the interview, the guy told me point-blank "You're not the type of guy we want for the job." And that was about it.

Also, never fill out a survey about how the place where you interned could be improved unless it's your very last DAY. Last WEEK is still a bad idea.

Redhead said...

dotm: NO ONE likes interviewing, but (assuming it's not my dream job or something) I really don't think it's that painful - if it goes really badly I figure I'll at least get a good story out of it.

jez: Working for a condom company? Sounds awesome - I'll go and check out your post.

mcbias: My company actually gave me a survey to fill out as they were giving me my severance agreement - I actually looked at the HR chick and asked, "Do you seriously expect me to fill this out? NOW?"

Winter said...

I need a job.