My Dream Book

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My guide to job interviews

I decided to change my job. First, I bought a new suit. The old one was not good for the purpose. And strictly speaking it was not a suit, rather a set of pants and jacket, arbitrary in color and style that has been bought on different occasions.

The first interview was a success. I was taken to a bright room next to the coffee machine with a threatening sign “for candidates only!” To tell the truth, I am not a big coffee drinker. Does not give you much of a boost, save an occasional headache. My prospective colleagues came in one after another to examine me in that room with semi-transparent walls. They were mostly interested in how much I was paid at my present job. To confuse them, I gave everyone a different sum, each time slightly overstating the previous one. By the shine in the eyes of my interviewers, I could feel they were jealous of my job.

One guy asked me a tricky question.

“Have you ever had to go against the rules?”

“Young man,” I began, assuming a significant air, “do you know that there are 3 categories of people? The first type would start with carefully learning all existing rules, and then acts in strict accordance with them. The second type acts in a similar way, except he plays around the rules. The third type does not study rules in advance and acts as he wishes. If he breaks a rule, it does not matter. He will be told about that, and would try not to break it in the future. Besides, most of the rules are not written explicitly. Until you break it, you would not even know.

I noticed that the young man has been taking notes. Having finished writing, he asked:

“And what type are you, may I ask?”

“The third, of course.”

“All right, you may go. We will contact you.”

My interview at the second company was a setback. First, I realized that I forgot to put my jacket on, perhaps out of excitement. Fortunately, I had a tie on me, apparently left from the previous interview. But most importantly, I was not even sure I was in the right place. It seems that they were supposed to pick me up from the lobby at 8 am. I’ve been there since 7:30 and nobody had came along. Now it was 5 min to 8, so I had to do something, you cannot just wait doing nothing.

Presently a good friend of mine had walked by. In fact, he was the one who had arranged the interview. And now he does not even recognize me.

“Can I go with you?” I asked.

“Sure.”

I slipped behind him like a shadow, the guard did not even notice me. We went up to his office. We talked about this and that for some time. Long time no see. Family business, kids. I glanced at my watch nervously. Five past eight. And they have not came for me yet! What a weird company. Then I thought that perhaps I should not have left the lobby, they might be looking for me there. But I am not hiding, am I?

I put my glass on the smooth surface of the desk and reached into my pocket. My cellphone is here, they could have called if needed. After all, I listed this phone in my job application. And here’s my second phone. I pulled it out from my other pocket. Nobody called it either. I reached for the bottle and poured myself a second drink. The wall clock showed 10 minutes past eight...

Two interviewers, a man with a tummy and a woman with a belly, knocked at the door and entered. My friend quietly hid the glasses and slipped out with the bottle. It was a rather treacherous move on his part, leaving me alone against the two. I asked, why there are two of you? In other companies I was interviewed by one person at a time. They said something about the rules. More efficient use of time. And, well, at least some protection against corruption.

“All right, I’m ready.”

“Tell me, how do you handle stressful situations?” The man asked.

“Tell us, what did you do on the most miserable day of your life?” The woman echoed.

“The same as on other days, I had a little scotch. I swear, I do not use more powerful psychotropics than alcohol. And I am wondering what kind of organization is this?” I asked politely.

Interviewers laughed nervously.

“Maybe you have any questions for us?”

I thought that I should somehow take advantage of the fact that there are two of them.

“It’s nice seeing you in such a perfect agreement with each other. And can you remember a time when you showed extreme disagreement on any issue?” I suddenly asked.

“That’s a good question,” said the man. “Well, we did not quite get to fighting, but, to be honest, sometimes she drives me nuts. Although it is not nice to talk about a colleague like that, especially who is expecting. However, when determining resources for a new project, our estimates are usually quite different.”

“This is true, Steve’s estimate is in general lower than mine. ... and his self-esteem, too...

Steve did not let her finish and slapped her in the face. In response, he received a folder on the head. A hammer flew an inch past my head. I ducked under the table, deftly crawled between the colleagues’ legs and off I went. Tomorrow I go to another interview.

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