Interview #1: Right Place
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
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.
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.
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.