Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Interview with Incompetence

It didn't hit me just how incapable I am until I was sitting in the waiting area, reading a list of dress code materials, and unwrapping my pen  from a plastic shell like a straw.
There were three cheap, black fold-out chairs lined against the wall. Me and another man sat on the ends, ignoring each other entirely, both pretending to be deeply engrossed in the lame, official packet we had been handed; essentially a list of things I wasn't allowed to do.

My heart sank a little.

I had somehow imagined that applying for this job, getting this job, and working at this job would be more fun than this. Ha. The longer I sat in that chair, the harder it was to maintain my delusions.

Dress Code:
No jeans
No shirts exposing mid-riff or deep necklines
"Cleavage? Check. Dammit..."
No frayed or worn out clothing
"Frayed Xenophobes patch chillin' dead center on my right leg. Dammit..." 
No colored or printed undergarments that would show through a white piece of clothing. 
"Oh, if they could only SEE the underwear I chose to wear today. Lime. Green. Lacies. Dammit..." 
No extreme stretching of ear piercings...
"Crap! What do they define "extreme" as?"
...Up to 5/8"
"Rita- 1, QFC- 4"

Sitting cross-legged, cold and nervous, I couldn't help but think things weren't going to go very well. Men in crisp suits were sitting next to me, briefcases perched officially by their chairs, polished shoes laughing at my well-loved Converse.
Of course, my mind didn't have time between irrational thoughts to calm me down and prepare me for the coming interview.
"Should I button up one more button on my shirt? I can't do that...if I do that in plain sight, everyone will know why I'm doing it. Then it will be obvious that I'm completely unprepared. And if they see I'm completely unprepared, there's no way I'll land a job...and my socks! I can't hide these bright green knee-high tube socks I'm wearing under my Converse. Bad choice...bad choice. Why did I choose these socks? I can't hide my Xenophobes path either. Crap! Those people at the table who handed me this paper must think I'm a complete twit..." 
Well done, brain. You've managed to turn a manageable thing into something unsurvivable.

Finally, the woman comes down to get me. We head up a small set of stairs into a room with three other tables, spread out, where various men are interviewing, their ridiculous black business socks the only thing I can focus on. The room feels like its falling over. Even my interviewer can't help but comment on the lopsidedness of the floor. "Awesome. Interviews with permanent vertigo," she jokes. I laugh.

First question.

"So what made you want to apply to QFC?"
Thankfully, We The People has trained me for this. Answer quickly, even if you're talking out your ars. Sound confident, they'll believe you even if you're wrong.

Meanwhile, my brain is backseat driving, "What the hell?! Why weren't you prepared for this question? You should have at least prepared SOME kind of answer while you were sitting at home eating toast. This question was inevitable. You're retarded..."

Round Two.

"Give an example of some time that you gave outstanding customer service."
Of course, the first example I come up with is the coffee example. That example sucks. The words coming out of my mouth sounded okay in all reality, but my ears are hearing them as, "One time, I made coffee for a lady, and the lady was like "this is better than Starbucks!" and she was happy and stuff." Oh, good job. Its your command of the English language that impresses me most, really.
Worst. Example. Ever.
Thankfully, I recovered from this one with a fantastic example of fixing a woman's messed up membership at the athletic club. I think she liked that one.

Curve ball.

"What qualities do you possess that would separate you from the other candidates?"
"Well, ma'am, if you have to know, I'm completely unqualified in any way, shape, or form and would in no way be a benefit to your establishment. In fact, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to take a moment to bash my head into the nearest wall and answer the rest of these questions when I recover from temporary comatose."
"I am incredibly flexible, enjoy working with people (LIE), and am always willing to do whatever my co-workers or customers require of me to ensure the best possible experience and work environment. I am personable, friendly, and really love putting in the extra effort to help others."
Please kill me now.

Somewhere around four more questions that I don't remember, another section to read in some job description booklet, a lecture on the six month learning curve for night crew, and eventually being told they would look to get me into a Starbucks. And that full time as a Checker was really hard to get. 
Stand up.
Shake her hand.
Thanked for my time.


And yet, somehow, I'm still actually hoping they contact me within the next week for a position. Ha.

Regardless. I can finally go check out the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu place down the street and make a fool of myself there, too.


  1. I do enjoy the way you write. As I was looking for blogs on human nature yours seem to be an introspective viewpoint. Very entertaining. By the way my favorite question in an interview is, “What is your worst quality?” What am I supposed to say to that, “People say that my views are Warped?”

  2. Haha, I agree. Why would anyone ask that? It seems like they're trying to set you up for failure.
    And thank you so much for your compliments. They are much appreciated. :)

  3. Love this! Keep doing what scares the hell out of you, what 'they' say you shouldn't do cuzz...

    Loved this! Hope you get the gig.


  4. Oh good luck. Interviews are awful and I agree about the worst quality question!

    Kate x