In response to this week’s writing challenge: The Difference A Point Of View Makes. I hope you enjoy it!
Part One: Do You See What I See?
I see a tall, gray-haired man shuffling uncomfortably in his seat. He has stacks of paper piled every which way, and he’s glancing through the partially open door, to the paper in his hand, toward another folder in the stack, and back again. He switches papers twice before sighing and standing up, walking towards the door, and saying (in a brusque, somewhat irritated tone) “Unique? Come on in.”
Unique unfolds herself from the waiting room chair, brushes a strand of brown hair out of her carefully made up eye, and slips her phone into the outside pocket of her designer bag. She follows the man past the magazines that she never even glanced at, and settles into the chair in front of his desk.
Over the next ten minutes, they exchange the usual rehearsed lines –
“What made you decide to apply here?” (Don’t say the money, Unique, never say you want money).
“Tell me about yourself.” (Nothing too real, Unique, and nothing that can’t be disproven on Facebook).
“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” (Be humble, Unique, don’t let your ambition flag fly just yet).
A few more benign sentences, and Unique is out the door, her phone jumping out of the bag and into her hand almost unconsciously before the door has fully closed.
Deep sighs on both sides of the door.
Part Two: Do You Hear What I Hear?
This can’t be right. This resume says I’m talking to someone named “Unique”? Uni-got-to-be-kidding me! Maybe I grabbed the wrong one? I can kind of see her, she looks more like a Jenny to me. Is there even a Jenny in here? No? Damn. Guess I better get started.
“Unique? Come on in.”
Oh great, she’s on one of those damn phones all the time. Probably Twitting the Faceblog or whatever it is. Oh well, once I finish our script for social media I can get her to put it on there for me while she’s tapping away anyway. At least that way I’ll know I got a few minutes worth of her paycheck out of her.
Ugh, typical. She wants to know about “flex time” and “career development” and is that an earring on the side of her nose? And that vibrate setting isn’t fooling anyone, I hear that phone going off every ten seconds. And oh sure, you can cite my website, but have you read our features in the trade pubs? For that matter, have you ever even read a newspaper?
Thanks for your time, Unique. I’ll call you if we ever run out of real workers.
Part Three: Do You Know What I Know?
OK, Unique, you can do this. You can walk in there and show him confidence, show him adaptability, and whatever you do don’t show him how desperate you are to land this paycheck that will finally, finally start covering some of those student loan payments.
“Unique? Come on in.”
A few years ago I would have cringed at that tone and maybe even apologized that my parents chose that name for me. Now I just smile and pretend I don’t hear it. I also pretend not to know why I’m being asked what I’ve come to think of as the “Adventures in Babysitting” part of the interview.
I can see you think you’ve got me figured out – I’m lazy and don’t want to work because I ask about flex time and I have an active social media account (or three). But do you also know that I’m just as likely to send and respond to my work emails from home on a Saturday, or while I’m on vacation, as I am to scroll my newsfeed in a staff meeting? Do you realize that I am coming to work every day (once I manage to get hired anyway) with no real expectation of anything other than blurred lines between my working hours and personal ones? And not just day to day either, I am starting my career with no real expectation that I’ll ever be able to stop and retire. I guess I am just lazy like that.
And I saw that sneer when I asked about career development. Do you realize that before I ever set foot on a college campus, I went from listening to my parents’ records, to taping cassettes off the radio, to buying CD’s, to loading an iPod, to streaming my own custom radio station right to my phone? For better or for worse, when it comes to improvement, my world isn’t measured in years. For that matter, my world can be made or broken with a two minute video that travels around the world faster than a speeding bullet.
So thanks for your time, sir. I’m sure I’ll hear from you when you need to know why that “iOS 19.5 available. Update now?” alert won’t go away.