I am finally feeling recovered from my rather unfortunate first experience with subbing, so as promised I am bringing the story of my first and only interview–also a disaster.
As I have mentioned, I graduated from college in April of 2013. I applied for my first job in May, and to date I have had one single interview. To say that my job hunt is going poorly is something of an understatement.
I have been very vocal about my struggles with the job hunt, both here and on Facebook, and so a lot of my friends are well aware of my problems. And since I have great friends, they look to help me out. About a month ago, my friend Amanda, whom I met at college, let me know about a job opening that she thought I should apply for at the place where she worked. It was a clerical position at the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation department.
Wait, wait, a job at the Parks and Rec department? So what you’re saying is I might get this job and start making money again? Because you know what that would mean….
Another great thing about this job is that it was part-time, which meant I would be able to be off by 2 every day– which was perfect because I had accepted a position as a coach for an under six girls soccer team. We had practices early in the afternoon during the week, and so I would be able to get off work in plenty of time to make it to their practices. So I jumped online and applied, feeling like things were finally looking up for me.
I met with the contact parent for the team I was supposed to coach, things went great, and we had everything arranged. A week later, I checked with Amanda to see when they would begin reviewing applications, and she told me that their building had actually flooded and so they would have to deal with that before they started looking into hiring anybody.
I was somewhat disappointed, but not discouraged. Then, shortly after that I got a message from the contact parent on my team– one of the dads had decided he wanted to coach, and so they didn’t need me after all.
I’ll admit, I was pretty crushed.
And then, even more time passed and I never heard anything back on the Parks and Rec job, and I grew slowly more depressed. When my bank account went below $100 for the first time since I opened it, I knew I had to do something. My sister, who recently graduated with her second college degree in Early Childhood Education, suggested that I attend sub training and start subbing. It seemed the only option at that point. And so I went to sub training, requested a replacement social security card , a paid for a sixty dollar background check so I could start subbing (you can read about that in my last post).
Two days later, I got a call from my friend Amanda’s boss asking me if I could do an interview.
But I didn’t want to turn down a job opportunity, so I scheduled an interview.
A little while later, Amanda gave me a heads up that I wouldn’t even be interviewing for the job I had originally applied for. Instead, I would be interviewing for a front desk job dealing with people’s calls and anyone who came into the office. Wait, wait, wait… people? You want me to deal with people?!
I felt my stomach sink. I can’t deal with people, guys. I am shy, and non-confrontational, and easily overwhelmed in unfamiliar social situations, as I am sure you all are well aware if you read my blog regularly. A front desk job was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to be doing.
I started talking it over with my family, and the more we discussed it, the more we realized that it would probably be better for me if I just went ahead with subbing. I was going to be making the same amount, the commute was nonexistent, I wouldn’t have to ask off right after getting the job for when we went on vacation during Spring Break, and I had already agreed to sub for my mom. I realized that I had agreed to an interview for a job I didn’t want to take.
I immediately got in touch with Amanda to talk it over with her. She had gone to a great deal of trouble to get me the interview and to recommend me to her boss, and I felt terrible her hard work was going to waste. But Amanda is very kind, and she was completely understanding. She suggested that I go ahead and come in just to talk things over with them and to get the experience of interviewing.
Ah, if only I had known what kind of experience it was going to be.
My interview was scheduled for nine in the morning in downtown Oklahoma City. According to my GPS, the drive should take 26 minutes, so I woke up at 7:20 to make sure I would have plenty of time to get ready and still make it down there in case traffic was bad. I left at 8:20, a little later than I wanted but still with plenty of time to make it–or I should’ve. But of course the drive was worse than I thought, with lots of traffic, and I didn’t make it to downtown until about 8:50. But ten minutes was surely going to be plenty of time to park and find my way to the Parks and Rec building.
Ah, the naivete of youth.
I was excited because whenever you came in for an interview, you could park in a specific parking garage downtown and the department would pay for it. Now, as you all may recall from when I missed my friend’s wedding because my GPS stopped working, I am very bad with directions and navigating. So when it finally occurred to me that the parking garage they had told me to park at was on the corner of two streets that were not the same as the street the Parks and Rec building was on, I got a little nervous. I just started turning down streets, and luckily for me, it only took me a couple extra minutes to find the parking garage. I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled in.
Not so luckily, however, this was one of the most confusing parking garages I had ever been in, and I could not seem to figure out what way to go. It was also packed, because it was a Monday morning in downtown, and there was no sign of a spot anywhere. I came around a corner, and was almost hit by another car. I shot her a dirty look, confused as to why she was driving right down the middle of the aisle, and kept going. I came around another corner, and was almost hit by another car.
It was at this point that I realized I was going the wrong way down the one way section of the parking garage.
You know what one of the worst things about doing something really stupid is? It’s when you know you’re doing something stupid, but you can’t fix it. Somehow, I had managed to get into an area that was only supposed to be an exit.
I was driving as carefully as I could, ashamed and confused, trying to desperately to find a parking spot I could pull into and turn around in. But, as I mentioned, the parking garage was packed, and there was nothing. I was on the fourth level and had almost been hit by two or three cars when I realized that I was just going to have to try and pull into a corner, as close to a car as I could, and then pull an Austin Powers and try to slowly pull forward and back until I could turn around.
I got as far over in the one way aisle as I could, and tried to wait until no cars were coming, fervently hoping that no one was going to come around the corner and hit me first. Finally, after three cars came around the corner, almost hit me, and honked vociferously, the coast was finally clear. I made my move, and pulled up as close to the car on one side of the aisle as I could.
I got right up close to the car, and then I noticed that their license plate said “HITNRUN” on it. I laughed a little and thought to myself, Haha better not hit them! After I had pulled up as close as I could, I started backing slowly up, hoping no one would come around the corner. I had almost enough room to cut the wheel, when suddenly I felt a bump. I froze, and slowly turned around.
And that was when I realized I had backed into the van behind me.
I managed to turn around and get facing the right way, but I made sure to back up and pull really close to the van I had just hit. Luckily, it was very large, very sturdy, and I had hit it going very, very slowly. There was not even a mark on it that I could see.
Please don’t call the cops on me, but I was the perpetrator of a hit and run.
That’s right. Hit and run. Does that sound familiar? Remember how I told you that the car in front of me said “HITNRUN” on the license plate? Yeah. I pulled up to a car that said hit and run on in, and then I hit the car behind me and ran.
And yet, it was happening. I swear this to you… you can’t make that kind of stuff up. You just can’t.
Finally I managed to get going the right way, expecting at any moment that a policeman was going to show up behind me and arrest me. Again, as I mentioned, the parking lot was full, and I simply kept driving and driving and driving to find a spot. Finally, on the 8th floor out of 9, I found a place and pulled in. It was nine o’ clock by this point, and I was late. I rushed to the elevators, got in, and then realized I had no idea where I was going.
Somehow, it had never occurred to me to ask how I got from the parking garage to the Parks and Rec office. Vaguely in the back of my mind I was apparently just thinking that the two would be connected. But again, they weren’t on the same streets. Confused, terrified, and anxious, I took the elevator to the ground floor and started wandering along the street. I walked a block up to Main Street, but then had no idea which way to go. I picked left and started walking, but after awhile I realized the numbers were going the wrong way. I tried to look as far as I could down the other way, but saw no signs relating to the Parks and Rec department.
At this point I was utterly bewildered. I was freezing cold because I hadn’t brought a heavy jacket or gloves, not having connected that I was going to have to walk. I was late, and had no idea where to go.
Finally I messaged Amanda, who THANKFULLY responded very quickly, asking me to call her. I did so, and followed her directions, crossing a street and walking down the other way until I finally stumbled upon the entrance. I made my way to the elevator, arrived at the second floor, and went into the first office I saw. I had thought my friend Amanda would be at the front desk, but there was no sign of her. I was ten minutes late by this point.
The lady at the desk was on the phone, and I had to wait almost five minutes before she was done. She was very apologetic, and I told her I was there for an interview. Then she asked me who I was there to see.
My mind went completely blank.
“Karen?” I asked hesitantly.
“Great, I will let her know!” the friendly receptionist said.
Oh thank God, I guessed right.
At that moment, however, Karen came walking by, and the receptionist told her I was there for an interview. She looked slightly panicked, and told me to just have a seat for a few minutes because she had to meet with her boss. I collapsed onto a nearby bench, drained.
After a few minutes, I was relieved when Amanda finally appeared. She told me that she was afraid Karen had forgotten she had the interview with me. At that point, I had no desire to go near the parking garage anytime soon, so I wasn’t too worried that I was going to have to wait. After ten or fifteen minutes, Karen finally came for me and called me back. I had thought that Amanda might have mentioned that I wasn’t going to take the job, so I went in thinking that they might just talk to me in case I ever did apply for a job with them again.
I was slightly startled when Karen brought another lady in to help with the interview process, and when we sat down and she started to ask me questions, I realized that she was really going to interview me.
“So what do you want to tell us about yourself?” she asked me.
I then haltingly began to explain how I hadn’t heard from them in such a long time after applying that I had gone through process of sub training and getting my background, and how I really felt that it would be a better fit since I wouldn’t have to drive thirty minutes every day, etc. etc. As I spoke, I could see their faces getting more and more confused. Finally I wrapped up my stumbling explanation, and told them that I felt terrible and I was so sorry and I just wanted to come and explain everything to them in person.They were incredibly kind and understanding, just like Amanda had been, but I felt like they were just wondering what on earth I was doing there. I felt like the biggest idiot alive. I thanked them, said goodbye to Amanda, and got out of there as fast as I could. I had still been considering the idea of maybe, possibly taking the job when I left my house that morning, but after everything that I had experienced I don’t think anything could have induced me to do so.
I made my way back into the infamous parking garage, and naturally got off the elevator on the wrong floor, wandering about for a few minutes before realizing my mistake. In a daze I got back on the elevator, went up to the right floor, and got in my car. I think I drove the carefullest I ever have in my life going out of that parking garage. The whole incident seemed so absurd at this point that I slowed to a crawl as I went by the spot of my ill-fated attempt to turn around. I looked over the van I had bumped into as carefully as possible, still seeing no evidence of my car’s assault upon it. Then, because I was doubting my own eyes, I looked on the other side of the aisle just to confirm that there really had been a car with the license plate “HITNRUN” that also just happened to be the one car out of the hundreds in the nine floor parking garage that I chose to turn around by before fulfilling its unknowing prophecy. I started to take a picture of it, because it seemed impossible anyone could credit the story I was telling without proof, but naturally at this point a car came up behind me, and I had to drive on.
It was a one way garage, after all.
I pulled up to the exit area, thinking there would be a person there to take the ticket I had been given to pay for my parking. But after pulling up, I realized there was no person, and that I had stopped too far away from the ticket machine to put my ticket in. I rolled down the window, hoping against hope that I would be able to reach it but knowing it was impossible. I was going to have to get out of the car and put in two different tickets with three cars waiting behind me.
Out of nowhere, a man appeared, offering to take my tickets and put them in the machine for me. “You’re lucky I was here to do that for you,” he told me scoldingly. I only nodded and thanked him, because of course some random man would happen by just at that moment to put my tickets in for me. Clearly my life was a bad play, and he was just playing his part.
I pulled into the street, and all I could see in my mind was that license plate, emblazoned in big letters “HITNRUN.”
I started laughing, and didn’t stop until I was almost home.