Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"There's vomit on his sweater already, Mom's spaghetti."

A few years ago, Today show history was made when a young woman flashed her breasts on the courtyard at Rockerfeller Plaza. Today, I almost made Today show history of a different kind when I very nearly yammied in a trashcan outside the Dean & Deluca that you can see behind the "Hi Mom!" signs and Roker.

Yes, the interview that shall not be named happened today. (Google "Nadine Haobsh" if you need to know why I won't say). Convinced that the train would break down and leave me stranded in Harlem, I got there an hour and 12 minutes early. HR people frown on that, so I went to Dean & Deluca to contemplate how 15 years of desire to work at a magazine can come down to a half hour interview and hitting it off with a stranger. Also - reading the Today show posters - contemplating how people can live in Omaha.

The three weeks' lead time gave me ample days, hours, minutes and seconds to bring a new level of obsession to my job quest. Among the steps I took: I re-read the entire AP style book, went to eight stores to find black pants, visited message boards to ask about white vs. cream resume paper, Googled compulsively and called old teachers and employers.

I focus-grouped things to the point I couldn't make my own choices about wearing nylons under my pants. I spent a disconcerting percentage of an afternoon debating eyeshadow choices. I can't wear suits, they make me look like an East German swimmer, so I went with a black-and-white striped shirt, the aforementioned black pants, a formerly $350 purse that I got for an amazing deal, and the green shoes that you know from such hits as every other job interview I've been on.

So how did it go? I have no freakin idea. The HR lady seemed like someone I'd be friends with. She was extremely sweet and pretty much just asked about my experience. I didn't make her laugh as much as I'd hoped, but I didn't accidentally call her fat or anything horrible like that. (Not that she was of course, but things can spiral out of control fast in an interview.)

She said she'd call when something opened up, and it didn't sound like an empty "I'll call you" line at the end of a date. We'll see.

I expected to walk out feeling elated, but I felt deflated. I didn't give her my story ideas, didn't get to point out the specific things I loved about the magazine. And the biggest no-no of all, when she asked if I had questions I drew a blank. I had an Empire State Building worth of questions, but they were about specifics in editing and at particular magazines, not companywide issues.

Some other questions in general:

1. Can I sleep in the lobby until someone hires me?
2. a.) If I kill someone, can I legally have their job?
b.) What if it looks like an accident?
3. Can I pay someone off to work here?
4. Seriously, what about if I just don't tell them they're about to step in an open manhole?