Her skirt was purple with bright yellow polka dots, and it was short enough that her knees flirted as she walked. It probably wasn’t job interview appropriate, but it had said good morning to her from her closet in such a hopeful way, she’d just had to wear it.
She wanted this job, but she really had no confidence that she would get it. She was not at all in touch with, or assured of, what she could do for others. She didn’t count any of her skills as valuable, in fact, didn’t count them as skills. And so, when the interviewer would ask that ridiculous question, “What can you bring to this job?” All she could think to say was, “My lunch.” But she didn’t say it, of course, and no amount of thought before hand helped her come up with the answer she thought they wanted.
So, she always hesitated, stymied by the shallow lunacy of such a question, and inventoried the responses she had rehearsed for just such a time as this. She decided not to list all the character traits and skills that would prove her to be a sterling candidate for the position because, of course, she thought every applicant before her had said the same things, and so, her saying them would not set her apart but only cause her to blend in. However, when the five second hesitation started feeling like thirty minutes, she usually blurted something like, “I’d really like to work here. I think I could do a really good job for you.” Those words would hang awkwardly in the air between them like children who have messed their lines in the school play, and the interviewer would pause for a second as that invisible curtain was lowered between them, and she knew she had been relegated to the “no potential “ side of the tally sheet. Then, there was the standing, the shaking of hands, the polite good-byes, thank you for coming in, and that they would be choosing someone in the next two weeks. No need to contact us, we’ll let you know if you have been selected. We have your contact information.
It was humiliating to stand there, both of them pretending that rejection hadn’t just taken place. She almost wished one of these human resource people would just say, “Look, you gave stupid answers to all of my questions. We can’t hire someone full of stupid answers.” It might break the cycle she was in. It might let her get angry. She might speak up and say something brilliant in her defense. At the very least, she might say the questions were stupid and deserved stupid answers. She might say, “Quit asking khaki questions and expecting neon answers. Anyone who gives an amazing, star studded answer to a doltish, ho-hum question is lying.” It might give her a chance to be a person, a real person, who exists–who has thoughts and emotions and value. At least, she could then turn on her heel and sweep out of the room instead of silently rolling out like a zero, acting like she didn’t know what had just happened.
This is my entry in the latest Trifecta Writing Challenge. www.trifectawritingchallenge.com
Made with real cheese for that melt-in-your-mouth flavor you can’t resist.