My phone rang at my internship one day and it was somebody from the book publishing job asking me to interview. I went out into the hall to resume the conversation and my knees gave out from underneath me as I sank against the wall. Oh thank God.
A week later, I was sitting in a gorgeous boardroom, across from Sharon, the woman who would be my boss if I got hired. In two extraordinary coincidences, she used to work at a company in my small little hometown, the same company my dad used to work at although they hadn’t worked there at the same time. After leaving that company, she ventured to the even smaller town my college was located in. A town that was less than 2,000 people and in the middle of God-knows-where.
I recall sitting there thinking it seemed like fate. What were the odds she’d worked in those two towns?
It wasn’t my best interview. I was so rusty. I went off on a few tangents that were kind of irrelevant. Some of my answers were too long. I left out important skills and important details. But yet, at the end of it she invited me back for a second interview. Thank you God, I was starting to feel hopeful.
I was e-mailing back and forth with the president of my college who, in case you had forgotten, published books with this company. I was also e-mailing his secretary, who also became my friend after I met her at Admissions tour guide training when I was supposed to take her on a tour and pretend she was a prospective parent. At the beginning of my fake tour I told her I was so nervous I was going to throw up on her. Ah, I’m so charming. Something about that statement bonded us.
The president, who gushed about his experience with this company, and the secretary vowed to write me a stellar recommendation letter to be sent off after my interview.
The second interview took place four days later, on a Tuesday. I interviewed with Sharon again, Sharon’s boss who was the director of the department, and Jessica, the HR Director. Feeling way more confident, I sailed through the interview. Jessica told me they had one more second interview on Thursday. If I got the job, I’d get a call on Monday. If I didn’t get the job, I’d get an e-mail by next Friday.
As I got in the elevator after the interview, my eyes welled up. Not only did I need this job desperately, I wanted it so badly.
In the meantime, the president sent off his recommendation letter and I hand-wrote thank you notes.
On Thursday afternoon after returning from a meeting at my internship, I saw I had a missed call and voice-mail from Jessica, the HR Director. She said she wanted to talk to me about the position and to give her a call. Her voicemail was from almost an hour ago.
I immediately called back, got her voicemail, waited 10 minutes and called again.
“Oh I’m headed off to a quick meeting, I’ll call you after it ends in half an hour,” she said.
In agony, I went to fill in the other interns in the corner intern office.
“WHAT COULD THIS MEAN!” I shouted at them as I paced around the room, “She said at earliest I’d hear on MONDAY. Today is THURSDAY. They had another candidate in for a second interview today. Oh God, what if I need to do a third interview? I CAN’T HANDLE THIS. What if the other candidate today was SO good they offered it to them on the spot and they feel so bad for me, they decided to call instead of e-mail? Holy Jesus, what if the other candidate is still there and they want to conference me in on the phone, and have us answer the same questions right then and there in some warped sudden death type tournament? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM? I don’t want to work for a company that pulls such a stunt. SCREW THEM. I am NOT doing that. OH MY GOD WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? WHAT TIME IS IT? IS IT TIME FOR HER TO CALL BACK YET?
The other interns just laughed at me and told me they had a good feeling about this. I went back to my desk at the front of the office, where I was the intern/receptionist. I called my dad. I called my mom. I went on Pinterest. As it was almost the time she had estimated she’d call me back, I began to shake violently even though I wasn’t cold. Why was she calling earlier than she said she would? What did this mean?
When my phone began to ring, I answered on the first ring. So much for not looking desperate.
“Hi Caitlyn, this is Jessica with XX Company. How are you?”
“I’m great, how are you Jessica?” Translation: TELL ME WHY YOU’RE CALLING YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY JESSICA.
“Good, good, glad to hear it. Well I’m calling to offer you the position.”
We talk a few more minutes about salary and such. I tell her I’ll call her back tomorrow with my decision, even though I could have accepted right then and there.
The next day, I decided it would look too eager if I called in the morning. So I called at 1:30 to accept. And in typical Caitlyn fashion, making my acceptance call did not go easily.
The doorbell rings for the first time in days. Of course, that’s just how things work, right? I go to answer it. It’s the Staples guy with five large packages on a pulley-type thing. I fling open the door and gesture for him to come in. He overhears me negotiating my salary up $250. So, wherever he is now, that Staples guy is armed with the precious, all-important knowledge of my salary.
I’m scrawling my name in acceptance of the Staples packages and then turn away, thinking he’ll just drop them somewhere and see himself out.
“Excuse me, Miss?” The Staples guy says.
I ignore him, as now Jessica, the HR Director, is prattling on about benefits and I want to take notes. Seriously, Staples guy?
“Excuse me, Miss?! I need to talk to you.” The Staples guy pesters.
I put the phone on Mute, Jessica still chattering away, and now I’m super annoyed at this poor guy.
“What?” I hiss. Normally I’m super nice to delivery guys since I always assume people are rude and dismissive to them. But I just could not believe he had to come in the middle of this important phone call. And of all the times I have signed for and received packages, now is the time when they need to talk to me?! Sheesh.
“Where do you want me to put these?” The Staples guy says, gesturing to his pulley. In hindsight, I realize that this was a very sweet question. Poor guy was just trying to be helpful. But in that moment, I was exasperated. The normal delivery guys just plopped them wherever the heck they wanted and booked it out.
“Oh my God, I don’t care, wherever,” I whisper, and turn back around, trying to catch what Jessica’s saying.
“How does that sound?” Jessica asks.
How does what sound? Oh shit, oh shit.
“Good!” I chirp, “That sounds great.” God I hope I didn’t just agree to some whacked out benefits plan or a start date of tomorrow.
“Excuse me, Miss?” And it’s the damn Staples guy again.
“Great,” Jessica says at the same time, “Now about your start date…”
Seriously? At this point if I weren’t so flustered, I’d start laughing at my luck.
“Can you hold on?” I say to the Staples guy.
“Caitlyn? Are you talking to me? Is this a bad time? Oh I’ve been talking so much, but you should have said something,” Jessica says, forgetting that I was the one to call her.
“NO!” I practically yell at her. “Now is fine.”
The Staples guy comes inching closer with a clipboard. I scan it quickly. We’re eligible for some exclusive new deal or something. To this day I don’t know what it said. We could have been the beneficiaries of lifetime free Staples supplies and I didn’t take the time to read his clipboard. Oh well.
I wave him away with Jessica still chattering away in my ear about my introductory period.
He asks, “So you don’t want to place an order for this exclusive deal?”
I shake my head, wishing he’ d go away. I am usually a good multi-tasker, I just cannot have two conversations at once.
I give Jessica dates and the poor Staples guy – finally – turns to leave.
Relief & joy abounds.
I started my new job two weeks later. My last weeks at my internship were awesome. I didn’t let anything bother me. I was leaving soon and moving on to an amazing new venture. It was so nice to have the security of a job and to be able to focus on learning everything I could while still there & get the most out of it. Although the internship sucked for the most part, I learned an incredible amount, not just about the field I was in, but about being a full-time team member, a company’s culture and how to work with different personalities. I wouldn’t be in my current job without it, so I am immensely grateful.
I love everything about what I do. I’m having so much fun (I just need to make friends here) and I love that there’s room for promotion and growth. Definitely I foresee myself here for a few years. When I think about the crazy leap I took, moving to new city with no income and stability, and think about how beautifully it all worked out, I realize I am extraordinarily lucky. This venture could not have worked out any more perfectly.
THE END! I’m impressed I somehow drew this out into FIVE parts. I hope my long-winded rambling story helps in your own job search (if you are in the job search, I’m sorry. I know it sucks) or at least made you smile.