Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Interview

I knew something was going to happen, but nothing did. Of course, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart announced their wedding and British Petroleum agreed to give the victims of the oil spill 20 billion dollars, and of both events I am very glad. Plus a Steller's Jay landed on my patio and waved its crown of feathers around for several minutes, which I thought was quite spectacular; the handset I needed to return to the store suddenly changed its erratic tune. The day wasn't totally uneventful.

It started out with the interview. I had stayed up the night before reading about the company on the Internet, a web design and consulting firm with a killer website,  a nice mash-up of solid content and unique design. It was like Goldilocks' porridge bowl: they got it just right.  The company needed a person to come on board as a Web Content Project Manager and although they had listed a certificate in Project Management as a highly desirable, the agent had assured me that this wasn't a "deal breaker." The more I read, the more I liked the company. The fact that it was located near Fisherman's Wharf made it seem like a position that included a view. I found my zip drive and went through my portfolio, downloaded a variety of files to demonstrate my ability to project manage. I arranged the files in folders for quick retrieval and rehearsed my explanation.

The next morning I showered and donned my interview outfit. I wore a pair of slacks with a shirt trimmed in metallic gee-gaws and an upbeat jacket. My daughter, home from college, had gone to the mall to help make the selection.

The only thing that I'd left open-ended was whether I was going to take public transportation or drive. Since the interview was scheduled for mid-morning, I figured I could miss the commute  traffic and arrive less ruffled. The only wild card was in finding a parking spot, but I left myself plenty of time, an hour and a half including a quick stop for gas. All was well until I approached the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. Not having commuted to the city for years, I wasn't familiar with the traffic patterns. Smooth sailing turned out to be  slowly moving grid lock. I took my position in the lava flow of traffic, nervously glancing at my GPS device. It kept reassuring me that I would arrive in time. I did and found street parking without a meter. I was five minutes early.

I entered an office with large windows and lots of light. The receptionist was on the phone so I sat down. In a few moments a man stepped outside his office and invited me inside. This was J.E., the managing director who looked like he couldn't be more than 35 and had already served as a vice-president and a technology director, which is not to say that I was intimidated, but only to appreciate that this current generation has mega smarts. We talked for a half hour.  At the end, he told me I wasn't the one. I lacked experience in financially managing a project. We exchanged business cards, thanked each other, and I drove home.

Although I knew the job was not for me and it had been a case of two people feeling each other out and not liking what they found, still I couldn't help but feeling lousy. Once again I had come up short in the job market. I bemoaned my misspent years as a full-time employee, unable to find a mentor who could appreciate my talent and dedication, someone who would help me make sense of the corporate culture and direct me into greater areas of responsibility. Or maybe I had been fooling myself and I had resisted guidance all along.

The usual ring-tones went off in my head. I hadn't been one thing or another--worked in a marketing agency or on a development team. My specialty was in serving as the link between different user communities and development groups. I wanted to be valued for who I am without the embellishment of PMIs,  or the need to know some one thing or another.  I'm not sure I'm being realistic.

Like I said. I knew something was going to happen, but nothing did.  You've heard about the whole lemon thing. Here's my recipe with lemonade:

Lemonade Chicken Drum Sticks
Package of drum sticks (about six)
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of lemonade
1/2 cup of dry vermouth standing in the corner from New Years
Salsa of some kind (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
Molasses (1/4 cup)
Salt, pepper to your taste

Mix everything together. Turn drum sticks around in the lemonade soup.
Drizzle the molasses over everything.
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until chicken legs are brown and caramelized.

1 comment:

eakins said...

"I knew something was going to happen, but nothing did." This is one of the best sentences I've read in a long time.