I'm sure you're all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about how Interview No. 3 went. And I guess I could drag it out by telling you all about my day - how I got up at 5.30AM this morning to continue preparing for Interview No. 1 with a not-for-profit outfit and Interview No. 3 with a for-lots-of-profits outfit. I didn't know which one to concentrate on more so in the end I just read the online Star, which took all of 5 minutes, and some blogs, and then spent half an hour ironing a shirt. What is with women's shirts anyway? I like the way the tailored ones look but they are a beeyotch to iron, all those fiddly bits and seams and darts and pieces that won't lie flat on the ironing board. After 20 minutes of ironing, my shirt looked like it had been slept in, so I ran the iron over it again and then sprayed the worst parts with water and hoped for the best. You know it's an utter waster of time though, don't you? Because as soon as you put the damn thing on, it creases and pleats and gets damp under the arms and you end up looking more like a sweaty used-car salesman than a well-groomed young urban professional.
But I digress.
I was early for my first interview, which was on Yonge between Davisville and Eglinton, so I took a little stroll up what has got to be the sleepiest stretches of Yonge St. 10 in the morning and not a soul around except a lady sleeping, upright, on a bench outside a seedy pub. There was a disconcerting number of seedy pubs in the neighbourhood, actually, which I found odd for a neighbourhood that's supposed to be an enclave full of hip young thangs - they don't call it Yonge and Eligible for nothing.
Interview No 1 was panel-style - one of my personal faves. There's nothing like trying to maintain eye-contact with three people at once while they're all looking down at the notes they're scribbling on every syllable you utter. I totally rocked the Information Casbah this time around, though - no "can you repeat the questions" or "uh, um, well, it's like, you know?" from me. There was also a test, which was little freaky - I had to write an annotation for a book from their library in 30 minutes, immediately after the talking part of the interview. I always need about 30 minutes to wind down after the talking part, and of course my mind was occupied with thoughts of Interview No. 3 at the Large Financial Institution. So I don't think I blew their cardis off with my stunning summarization skills, but you do the best you can, right?
I hadn't eaten that morning because of nerves so I went to the most desolate and depressing Timothy's coffee shop I have ever seen in my born days and ordered a smoothie. Why? Why did I order a smoothie from a place that specializes in coffee? Because I didn't want to get more jittery than I already was and I thought I could get some quick nutrition from a blend of bananas, mangos and peaches.
Note to self: The next time you want a smoothie, go to a juice bar or similar. Resist the "Timtation", even if half-crazed from interview nerves.
Here's how to make an authentic Timothy's smoothie:
A cup of ice
A cup of tap water
A blob of some gelatinous liquid purporting to be wholesome pureed fruit
Dump the works into a blender. Press "Blend". Blend until the ice is broken into tiny pieces and the gelatinous liquid merges with the water to become a slightly less-gelatinous, more-watery liquid. Pour liquid into plastic cup with bubble lid. Poke straw into the semi-solid liquid. Serve, after
charging customer $3.75.
Needless to say, it did not satisfy. I sat in the sun shivering and giving myself canker sores sipping the insipid smoothie, unable to think of anything except Interview No. 3.
Decided to get lunch at 12 so I went across the street to one of the less-dodgy looking pubs. However, it was still pretty dodgy. That there were only three other people there - a table of three loud middle-aged third-rate journo types, from the sounds of their conversation - at lunch hour, should have tipped me off. But I was too hunched over with anxiety to care much. The waitress was about 17 going on 35, called me "hon", stumbled over the pronunciation of "farfalle", asked me what I did for a living and then informed me that the bartender had two Master's degrees and couldn't find a job in her field. What is her field? I asked. Uh, I don't know, said the waitress.
The food was bland but I didn't really care. I was just eating so I didn't fall into a dead faint in my interview with the General Manager of the Large Financial Institute's Award-Winning Training Facility.
Finally, the hour of truth came. Well, the hour before the hour of truth. I subwayed and bussed out to the Nerdistan. I sat next to a young mother with a sleeping infant on the bus and ohmygawd why do babies smell so good? All soap and milk and vanilla and sweetness. His little feet rested on my hip at one point and it was all I could do not to touch them and say "Oooo, what cute little feet! Aren't you a cute little man! Aren't you? Aren't you? Yes you are! You are a cute little man!" Made a mental note not to share this thought process with Hiring Manager and General Manager until long after offer of employment made and job and government-sactioned one-year maternity leave in the bag.
Then the hour of truth came. It lasted 20 minutes. The General Manager sat down with me in tiny, claustrophobia-inducing training room. Asked some standard interview questions: tell me about yourself, what can you bring to this position, why did you choose Large Financial Institution, what are your strengths and weaknesses? I had all my answers ready - I know the drill. Then he started talking about what I and the Hiring Manger will be working on and how she'll show me this and tell me that later. Lots of smiling and nodding from me.
Then he says, "I guess you want to know where you stand in this whole process. I know I would if I were in your position. Hiring Manager will probably kill me for telling you this but I asked her to pick the best two or three people from the second round of interviews and, well, you are the top candidate. You have a strong client focus and your passion for what you do will be valuable to this organization. So. You'll be hearing from us soon - we won't keep you hanging. So go and enjoy the rest of the afternoon - go have a glass of wine! Take it easy."
Take it easy?!??!? I'm on my second glass of wine - in addition to the two pints of beer I had with dinner - and I'm still hyper-alert. Bring on the Quaaludes.