Interviews totally come in waves. In the beginning, after securing an unpaid writing internship and a part-time job at a bridal salon in San Francisco, I leaned back with my head in my hands and thought, “I’m settled for a while.” Ha – the job hunt, once you start, never stops because unpaid internships are often about as fulfilling as cold, meatless salads for dinner and part-time jobs (Saturdays only), paid or not, are about as mentally stimulating as Justin Beiber songs. About two weeks into both positions, my brain was like, “Geeez…I think you can handle more than this.” And I said, “Gosh Brain, I think you’re right!” After all, I am twenty-four, in relatively good health (aside from this hacking cough that may lead into pneumonia) and in constant conversation with my brain – so I decided to apply to a few more places. A tiny part of my self-esteem with a rather loud voice said, “Aim high! You’re a generalist (with that damned useless English degree!) You never know what you might get!” And the larger, more conservative, mechanical part of my being obliged, selecting famous companies with enormous, shiny headquarters in dreamy, smog-covered cities and harried peoples – click. click. click. sent. sent. sent.
Immediately, you get cold, computer-generated instant gratification – the fruit of a long day’s labor in front of the computer.
“Dear Betty” (the feigned connaissance…)
“Thank you so much for your application! We are presently reviewing your materials and will contact you should we find you suitable/fitting/semi-employable/not a complete waste of our time etc. etc. etc.”
(Please do not respond to this email. It is automatically generated).
But this email signifies a connection sent. I did my part, is what my application states. Now, they do theirs. The thing – the ball, that is – is in their courts.
Well, casting one’s net widely ought to yield a few fish, and as my writing internship spirals towards its timely end (“Would you like to continue to write unpaid, un-thanked, unread, forever?” Why…I thought you would never ask!) and the only “work” that remains is found on the fifth floor at 23 Grant Avenue , I’m now searching for a more fulfilling summer internship to fill my summer Monday through Fridays.
I have applied to several dozen more jobs and internships – mostly in PR and Marketing, perhaps falsely deluding myself that I have enough hamming skills to relate publicly, and get paid to do so. And as the bulk of these applications went out over a month ago, I had given up home when April rolled around and my inbox remained desolately empty save for coupons and groupons that I haven’t the money to employ.
Thankfully, as I said before, interviews come in waves. The wave hit last week. They’re phone interviews, the bulk of them – a preliminary testing of the waters. They’ll see if they like the sound of my voice and the way I arrange my sentences. They’ll test whether I know the distinction between a pregnant pause and a well-timed clearing of the throat to develop a thought.
It’s already Sunday, which means next week is tomorrow. I still have this horrible cough and an entire colony of phlegmy bodies living in my nasal passages. Two days ago my friend said, “My, you sound like a man!” And although it would be one of those stories I’ll tell over and over again, “They though I was a man named Betty! And then declined to offer me the job,” I would much rather prefer to have this boast ready: “I was sick as a dog! I could hardly hear the man! But I got the job!”
We’ll see. Wish me luck!