I may not have 3-5 years of work experience, but one thing’s for sure, I always clinch the interviews. Never have I ever bombed an interview. Even if I don’t get the job, people love me when we’re bantering and they’re testing my interpersonal communication skills. Things have been looking up on the job front, but today I had the most humbling experience in all of my collective life as a job candidate.
I totally sucked.
15 minutes late for my 20-minute time slot, I may as well have turned back. I overestimated my walking speed and didn’t hit all the ideal commute points I had mapped in my head. I’m not gonna lie, though, I didn’t have any legitimate excuses to be late.
When I arrived at the 16th floor penthouse suite, I knocked on the door expecting to meet “Stephanie,” but instead met face-to-chest with my nemesis for the afternoon, New York Asshole. New York Asshole had me sit and listen to the closing of his interview with the woman who was meant to follow me. Great. He asked her questions about her technical design abilities that I could have responded to with “Yes, I am absolutely familiar with InDesign, especially with the bugs that occur with empty text boxes. I actually used InDesign to make my resume.” Sadly, he was asking her, the girl who was early and ready for her interview, and not me, the so far Nothing But Late Girl.
New York Asshole saw her out of the hotel room, apologizing for me interrupting their Q & A session. Fantastic. Really racking up the points here. And his attitude totally screamed sympathetic. (Sarcasm.)
Rushed, abrasive, and obviously unimpressed, New York Asshole asked for my resume. Fuck. I didn’t bring one. Though it is absolutely my fault, in my defense I have never been asked to hand over a resume at the in-person interview. Not for my internship straight outta college. Not for the job I spent nearly two years at. Not for my interviews at Apple. Clearly I made an assumption here that was naive. And again, inexcusable. Judging by the “What? That’s rule number one! Always bring your resume to the interview.” response, I was already completely lost on this one. There was no point in explaining to him that I usually do bring a resume, and that it never gets looked at. It would have just come off as whining.
The rest of the ten minutes or so was an unsalvagable clash of personalities. I should be grateful that he even continued to speak with me after I had established the worst impression in the history of job interviews. Was I even wearing clothes? I should have just gone naked. Thank God I ignored the “casual dress” note in the appointment confirmation and arrived in business casual. At least I had “Able to dress herself” going for me. Supposedly.
New York Asshole asked me if I could wake up tomorrow and do anything, what would I do? I said I would write. Apparently this wasn’t enough for him. Writing was too vague of an answer. I said I’m working on a screenplay right now. Apparently screenwriting was too job and not leisure enough for him. I said that I would travel. He asked where. I said Greece. He asked why. I said to see the architecture and the ocean. He cut me off and asked “So you want to be a travel writer?” I said no. I said if I’m writing, I would want to work in magazine editorial. Still too job-y for him. He said he was trying to get to know me.
I finally said what I find to be the complete and utter truth, but he was still unconvinced that someone could say such a thing and mean it, “I don’t have just one interest. There’s a dancing element to me. There’s a writing element to me. There’s a technology element to me. There’s a music element to me. Asking me what one ‘anything’ I’d like to do is really hard to boil down.” New York Asshole responded with, “That took a long time to get out of you.”
Well, excuse me, but the fact that I’m even trying after having messed up my chances so much should show that I am not the simple-minded creature you expected me to be. Also, you expected a monosyllabic answer. Why’d you even bother asking the question?
Following the “personality and fit” disaster was more interrupted talk and indignant tone.
I said I want to work for a magazine with interviews. New York Asshole said lots of magazines do interviews. I said I wanted to interview creative personalities.
New York Asshole asked why I don’t want to write for a dance magazine. I said there’s only one dance magazine I’d be interested in writing for, and they haven’t grown in the way I wished they could have. He asked where they haven’t grown. I said they do the same articles I see in every other urban music lifestyle magazine I’ve ever read.
New York Asshole asked if I went to the Black and White Ball. I said no, my friend did. He was in total shock about this, said again, “You didn’t go to the Black and White Ball? Isn’t that, like…” I said, “Seal was there.” “But there’s dance.” “Balls are not my kind of dancing. That’s ballroom.” “But isn’t it for the Ballet?” “No, it’s for the SF Symphony.” “Oh, for the Symphony. My mistake. I thought it was for the Ballet.” One point, Mayka.
New York Asshole gave me the hotel Post-It to write down my name and e-mail. I added my LinkedIn URL at the bottom, handed the notepad back, and said, “If you have Internet access, which I think you do, my LinkedIn profile is at the bottom. A much larger scope of my resume is listed there.” “What access?” “Internet?…” God, this was painful.
Then, New York Asshole got to my name. Having met a small army of people over the past couple of weeks, I got ready for the “Your name is weird” reactions. He asked me, “Your name is [Mayka]? Where are you from?” I said “I’m from Fremont. It’s in the -” “I mean, what’s your [ethnicity]?” “I’m Chinese. But that name is made up.” “Your name is made up? You made it up yourself?” “No, my mother made it up.” “Oh, then it’s a real name!” “Of course, but I know people like to associate names with cultures, and that’s just not an ethnic name.” “Well, you know, everybody changes their name. When they come over here.” “Right, but I didn’t.”
…Did anybody pick up on my “real name” and the assumption that I “came over here?” WHO DECIDED TO HURL CHUNKS OF FALLING SKY DIRECTLY AT MY HEAD?
It was like sweating through a session of Bikram Yoga, or even worse, working two consecutive shifts at the Bikram Yoga front desk. I was “dewy” on the outside from rushing to the venue, sweating on the inside from pushing through the interview, and by the end of it my insides had entirely caved in. New York Asshole embodied the no-nonsense personality I’d expect of a New York editor, but he still did a shitty job of listening to the worst interview candidate of his life. I think he fully deserves his moniker of “New York Asshole,” but to him I’m probably just a hungover 21-year old without a clue. Why he even bothered speaking to me I cannot fathom, but it’s not my fault he wasted his time on me.
Whatever. Shit happens, and everything about today was wrong.
Stepping out of the elevator, my feet hurt. I said “Fuck that guy” and went straight to Puma where a pair of perfectly fitted black denim Evisus were waiting for me. And I went down a size. *snap*