Dave Pickle was in a bit of a pickle. Trying his best to act naturally, he slowly pushed the bite of cucumber, spinach and carrot to the side of his mouth with his tongue. “That’s a great question, I’m so glad you asked,” he managed to say, thankfully, without spraying his interviewer with bits of salad. Dave then went on to describe a few of the highlights of his previous position, all while working diligently to keep his half-chewed food safely tucked in the recess behind his left molar.
Man, he hated job interviews. Even worse, job interviews over lunch. Who on earth had come up with that idea, anyway? Here he was, ready to illustrate how professional, hard-working, intelligent and capable he was but all he could think about was the possibility of a spinach leaf the size of a Subaru becoming lodged in his front teeth. Finishing his response, Dave worked to swallow the impacted cud his salad had morphed into before they moved on to the next question. Concentrating hard on not up-chucking, Dave finally got it to go down.
“So Dave, your resume spoke to your experience supervising several other members of your team. Could you go into a little detail about your supervising style and philosophy?” the interviewer asked without looking up from his own plate (that was now almost completely devoid of food despite Dave’s inability to make a dent in his lunch).
“Well this is unfair,” Dave thought to himself as he began to answer the question. “Here this guy gets to chow down while I basically starve to death answering these damn questions! I swear if I don’t get to take another bite soon, I think I might just lose it,” Dave managed to contain these thoughts as he talked about the demoralizing effect of micro-managing. His stomach let out a demonic growl of protest.
“Maybe this was a test? Maybe the lunch was part of the interview?” Dave began to think. “Maybe how I balance the social awkwardness of trying to eat while speaking about leadership or how many accounts I landed is how this place weeds out the candidates who can’t hack it?” That thought sent a shockwave up Dave’s spine causing him to sit up a little straighter. “Well heck if I don’t get this job because of a dumb salad!” he thought defiantly.
For the remainder of the interview, Dave Pickle attacked the interviewer’s questions (and his salad) with renewed vigor, and, if he said so himself, he was knocking it out of the park. “I’d be surprised if he didn’t offer me the job on the spot!” Dave thought excitedly.
“Well Mr. Pickle, it really has been a pleasure meeting you and getting to know you a little better. I thank you for meeting me over lunch and taking time out of your schedule. We have a few candidates left to interview and expect to have a decision by the middle of next week. But between the two of us, I think it’s safe to say you are at the top of the heap,” the interviewer said as he shook Dave’s hand and gave him a little wink.
After such a shaky start, Dave left the restaurant with a swing in his step and started to whistle as he reached his car. “I think I just got a job!” he thought to himself as he began to back his Toyota out of the restaurant’s parking space.
Wincing from the sound more than the actual impact, Dave was afraid to see what the damage looked like, “Where had that guy even come from?” he thought. Climbing out of the driver’s seat, Dave slowly walked around the back of his car to see a very dinged up black Cadillac and… his interviewer looking very unhappy. Letting out an uncomfortable laugh, Dave said, “Hope this doesn’t hurt my chances?” with as much good humor as he could muster.
Looking at the damage to his practically new Cadillac before casting his gaze at Dave the irate man answered, “Mr. Pickle, I believe it’s safe to say the dill is off”.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Today marked the first day of school at my lovely university, bringing bright-eyed freshmen, disillusioned upper-classmen and seen-it-all faculty & staff all together once again after a summer apart. It also marked the first time yours truly was requested by a student for an interview to learn more about my work at the university and to provide guidance as she begins to map out her future. Offering to buy me lunch for my trouble, we met up today at one of the buffet-style eateries on campus. The interview itself went fine, save for one element- I couldn’t really eat anything. First off, I didn’t want to look like an oinker by loading up my tray with a bunch of food, so I opted to make a very ‘adult’ selection- a small salad of spinach, carrots, cucumbers, black olives and vinaigrette. While the bunny food was pretty tasty, I had every intention of getting up for something else once that had been inhaled. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The student had so many questions, (and admittedly I was a bit excited to be at the center of these questions causing my answers to go on way too long) before I knew it, the hour was up and it was time to part ways. I didn’t even get dessert!!! The inability to talk and eat gracefully struck me as pretty comical (especially at one point when food actually flew out of my mouth as I began to talk about my graduate school… real smooth Sam).
TWO: The name Mr. Pickle comes from an email I received today, and no it wasn’t one of those delightful forwards (enough already!) but an actual email from a gentleman named Mr. Pickle (I can’t recall what his first name was). The name was too good to pass up and demanded to be used.
THREE: The phrase, “Spinach the size of a Subaru” refers to Andy’s ongoing quest to find a decent car for not a lot of mullah. We went and looked at a few today, just to see if they were even something he’d like and I guess they passed the ‘sniff test’ cause it looks like that’s what he’s determined to get (praying to the car gods that we can find one that won’t break the bank).
Love & Squirrels.