Interviewing for a Creative Fit

Interview #1: Right Place

courset in intimates store
courset in intimates store
Please ask for help when testing the vibrators
Please ask for help when testing the vibrators

I walked into the interview wearing a wool suit, paired with fishnet stockings and tall black boots. The store owner asked me politely to take a seat. I was interviewing for a merchandising and buying position for a local woman owned intimates boutique that had recently been featured on Oprah. The store had pink walls and was full of lacey corsets, colorful bras, and every type of body shaping underwear one can imagine. I took a seat in a pink wingback chair as I listened to her explain the plot of a porn movie the store sold to a customer  (Porn movies have plots?). When her call was over, we went to the back room office, cluttered with boxes of open merchandise, dirty dishes, and personal mementos. She tells me this holiday season has been particularly busy, and that keeping organized has been difficult. I’d be taking over her job of handling inventory levels and budgeting, mostly data entry. She’d be concentrating of growing her company.  I’d be in the backroom ordering negligee and neon dildos, day in and day out, crunching numbers and spinning  forecasts.  To say the place would be exciting to work in is an understatement, the job however, sounds pretty lonely. She tells me she thinks I’d fit great but feels an obligation to interview all of the candidates and she’ll get back to me in the new year.

Interview #2: Right Culture

Boeing Building
Boeing Building

I walked into the interview wearing a wool suit, paired with black stocking and tall black boots.  The market manager asked me politely to sit down as she finished discussing with a co-worker the man downstairs who tried to cash a fraudulent $3000.00 check, and the fact that so and so wasn’t invited to the party so please don’t mention it.  The office was in the Boeing building, an ominous black tower jutting out of the city skyline. There were rows of cubicals filled with people whoring out their time for money. I sat in the end seat of an incredibly long conferences table in an austere room overlooking the Chicago River.

The tasks are not as exciting as a job well done.
The tasks are not as exciting as a job well done.

She explained that there were not any open positions but they were always looking for people who would fit their office culture.  She explained the need for agility and curiosity, the need to be unafraid to question and be frank, she tells me that with a 150yr old company these things are necessary for it to stay in the game.  She asks me if there is any task I absolutely hate doing. I tell her, tasks are like wiping butts, it’s not the task you take satisfaction in, it’s a job well done.  We spend much too long sending witty reparte across the table at one another.  I don’t really want to leave.  A job in a cubical sounds like hell on earth although, I’d get to interact with a lot of creative and smart people all day long. She tells me I’m on the short list and I’ll be hearing from them in the new year.

Right Brained

Shopping for a place to make a living is hard work. I tell myself it’s only a job, that I just have to do it, but it’s really not true is it? Finding a stimulating place with a culture that fosters creativity is a tough business in itself.

2 Replies to “Interviewing for a Creative Fit

  1. Andy Renk says:

    Hi Melissa, great article. So glad that you are working so hard to bring in money and fulfill your obligations. Good luck to you, I’m looking forward to you sharing your prosperity and ideas in the coming year.

  2. Whew. Good luck–sometimes I wish I worked with a few other photographers on a daily basis. (But then my buried competitive side is unearthed and I don’t want to share at all.)

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