To The Man In The Business Suit Across The Table

March 2nd 2011

breath.

Deep

People do this all the time.

You’ll nail it.

Well, you better nail it.

Get dressed. Look nice. But not too nice. Not like the “I’m trying too hard” nice. But the “I’m the one you want” nice.

To the closet>>>>>

Mmm…not that one.

Not that one either…

Yes! Stop! That one. Perfect. Okay now put it on.

B

u

t

t

o

n

 u

p

 your new business suit.

straight from the “Get A Job” collection your mom bought you for Christmas.

To the mirror<<<<<<<<

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

Wait.

S

t

r

a

i

g

h

t

e

n

your jacket.

Smile

mmmm…

Smile again. 

Okay that’s better.

You look exactly like you’re supposed to.

1 More sprtiz of perfume

2 More Sticks of gum

3 More steps to the door.

Okay. Now stop talking to yourself.

Job interview time.

Just a few days earlier I attended a career fair on my campus. Met with this IT technical firm.

They liked me.

And I liked them.

And our interview went like this:

I was en route >>> to their meet in greet, ready  to tell them to choose me. To please, choose me. I’m different than all the other unemployed grads. I promise! I’ll take a desk. Any desk. Hell, give me one of those cubicle things. Benefits would be great. Company parties sound fun. Feel free to throw in a bonus here and –

Sorry.

I’m getting ahead of myself…but seriously choose me. 

 I could feel the ground PuLSe  with each s t e p  >> forward .

I was on my way:

to somewhere important

to do something important

to see someone important

“I could get used to this feeling.” I thought myself. This whole “I’m in a business suit doing important shit” thing. I dig it.

It was hot outside. Like, really hot. But I couldn’t tell if it was the damn sun, or me. Or both. Probably both. I don’t know. I felt like I was radiating an unnatural amount of heat. Or fear. Or both. Probably both.

I had arrived.

I ope   ned the entrance to the building that invited a refreshing breath of ice cold air.

Heat gone. Fear…still here.

I took a seat on the carpet-torn chair in the lobby. I waited

1

2

13 minutes.

“Olive?”

I’m right over >>                here

A man in a business suit stood in the doorway.

He walked 20%>> I walked 80.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

We

shook      hands 

Like the classy people do. He guided me to a room. And pointed to >> the seat across the table. I obeyed. Like classy people do.

I was on one side

_____________________

And he was on the other

 

 I handed him my resume. It was still warm, fresh out of the printer in fact. And right on cue he asked me to tell him a little bit about myself. And I did.

Ready? Set? Impress me. 

I recited my group activities. Told him about my writing I had done in the past. But that wasn’t important because, I mean this is a consulting job.

Stay on t-r-a-c-k.

Right. I went on about my group activities. My impeccable leadership skills. The time I studied abroad. The difficulties I came over when Ted didn’t contribute his workload in our group spanish paper. Something about being awesome. Another thing about being awesome. One more thing about being awesome.

I was charming.

I was funny.

I was a wonderful…performer.

Or so I thought.

I finished my long winded speech of awesome things only to be greeted with a blank stare and…silence.

Um. Hello?

Earth to man in a business suit?

………………………

Silence over.

“Olive. Why don’t you tell me what you want out of a job.”

“What I want? Out of a…job?”

“Yes.”

Cue in the bullshit.

“I want stability. I want to contribute to a great company and be a part of this firm’s exponential growth!”

“So you’re telling me that you want to be an IT technical consultant. That’s what you want?”

What the. Man in the business suit, OBVIOUSLY.

“Yes! Yes. Yes…?”

“Olive, can I be honest with you?”

Oh no.

“Your resume is perfect”

Thanks!

“You make really great eye contact.”

HOLLA!

“Your experience? Way ahead of the pack.”

POP THE CHAMPAGNE.

“And you know what? You hit the hammer right on the head. Because guess what. If you were to get this job. You would spend 50% of your time working, most of your conscious time anyway contributing to our exponential growth. But none of it with a boyfriend, friends, family or anything else you want to do. Other than consult, of course. But it’s what you want to do so this works out…right? I just wanted you to know that. So I’m going to ask you one more time. Is. This. What. You.Want?” 

YES MAN IN THE BUSINESS SUIT YES GOD DAMNIT YES WTF.

“Yes.”

He didn’t believe me.

“Can I tell you something?”

I feel like you’ve said…plenty…

“Yes.”

“I feel like you’d be perfect for this job.”

I’M AMAZING.

“But. I don’t think it’s what’s best for you.”

Um…mom…is that…you?

I felt my heart physically

s

i

n

k

to the bottom of my stomach and into the

palm of reality that unforgivingly clenched with the next passing words.

“There are 2 types of people in this world, Olive. The type who want a job and the type who need a job. And you? Well. You need this job. But you most certainly don’t want it. And there is a very BIG difference between the two. The people  who need a job are the people who want the stability and the money and the general feeling of accomplishment. And we need those people. They’re really great people. And the people who want it? Well. The people who want it are the people who live and breathe what they do. Who dream about what they do, who fight for what they do, who know – what they want to do. What they actually, want to do. And they’re great people too.”

WHAT IS HAPPENING.

He continued.

“You told me about your writing earlier. Do you remember that?”

“Yes.”

“I just thought you should know that that was probably the most genuine part of your entire interview.”

How on….EARTH….did I fuck this up so badly? DAMN YOU CAREER CENTER.

“And you’re probably thinking that you messed up this interview.”

What are you?? Dumbledore?! (he can read minds right? … right?)

“But you didn’t. I promise you didn’t. But I just think it’s something you should think about. Just like I’m going to think about you. I’d love for you to work for us, just so you know.”

Oh you were so convincing. Tell me more.

We shook      hands

again.

“It was nice meeting you, Olive.”

………….

Pleasure.

I trekked back to my house replaying the absolute Tsunami disaster of an interview. Ready to feed my dignity with anything deep-fried and dipped in chocolate.

And later that night as I was lounging in my room, casually making a dart board of all of my employed friends and acquaintances,

I had a thought.

I did want to write. I mean I do….and I did want more. I mean…I do…so why am I so upset?

I >>>> leaped for my half dead Dell computer. Waited it for it to reboot for its standard 16 minutes. And began to apply. To not 1, not 2, but 74 different places. And not to IT technical firms, but to magazines, to publishing houses and PR agencies.

2 days later I got an e-mail

It read:

“Thank you for applying to our IT technical consulting firm. Unfortunately there were only a certain amount of spots allotted for this position and we decided to pursue other candidates. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

Best. Email. Ever.

And here’s why:

4 days later I had an interview with Oprah Magazine.

8 days later…I got it.

3 days after that:

I moved to New York City.

7 months after that:

I was sitting at my own desk

77 pages into my novel.

And I never looked back.

Not once.

Well actually, just once.

And only to say this:

To the man in the business suit across the table:

Thanks.

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9 responses

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