okay, random story.
I have no idea why I’m telling you this, other than yesterday my co-worker Linda was telling me about some company that may or may not be a sham and while I was pretending to listen (sorry Linda), I had this flashback to the story I’m about to tell you. And really, normally I’m enthralled with everything Linda says. I don’t want to give you the impression that I frequently tune people out.
But anyway. Her story reminded me of one of the first & worst job interviews (and I use that term lightly–you’ll see why) I ever had. I wasn’t even out of college, but I was all set to graduate and I was hot on the trail for a big time advertising job. I mean, at that time I still believed I was going to be the Ally McBeal of advertising (she was a lawyer, right?). I’m sure you can picture it. And if you had to live with me through it, well then I apologize.
I saw an ad in the newspaper, that in hindsight, turned out to be very misleading. It read like an entry-level marketing position and when I called the number a nice woman set up an interview for me. The first clue should have been that they didn’t need to see my resume first. The second was that she set the interview for 7:00 at night.
Now, I wasn’t that stupid. So I took my boyfriend (yes, John. Do you ever get tired of it always being John? Good, because neither do I) with me to the interview, just in case it turned out to be a foreign slave exchange or something equally sinister.
I got really dressed up in my interview suit. I practiced answering interview questions. And when we got to the office? There were at least 5 other people waiting in the lobby, presumably to be interviewed. The kind receptionist implied that John was welcome to interview for the position also. Really? Surely I heard her wrong. “He’s a history major,” I said incredulously, but she just kept smiling at me.
Then they opened the doors to this auditorium and welcomed us all in. Inside were at least 20 more people seated facing a stage. We all took a seat, even John. I don’t even know what was going through our minds; we were like robots. Suddenly this super annoying, very enthusiastic guy is up on the stage asking us, “Do you want to make six figures in your first year on the job?” and half the crowd is chanting “Yes!” and clapping. It was like some sort of religious revival.
We got up and left. We had only been dating 4 years at that point but we could already read each other’s minds and it only took one exchanged glance and John and I both stood up and bolted. I mean bolted.
John was so nice. He didn’t make fun of me for being an idiot or anything. Or for dragging him along. A few months later I got a job at a real advertising agency at a real interview, where they actually read my resume before they called me.
And this is the really good part: Years later, when I was freelancing, I came in contact with the head of that bogus pyramid company that used false advertising (marketing job my ass) to lure unsuspecting people to their sales pitch. It turns out he made millions off his pyramid scheme. He ended up hiring me (through a friend) to edit his autobiography, and I did. It was the most money I made during the six years I was freelancing and I never once mentioned to him that I had been at one of his “interviews.”
So in a way, my worst job interview ever turned into my good fortune.