I was reading a blog earlier about embarrassing situations arising while interviewing for a job. I have a full complement of stories that apply. Moving frequently naturally lent itself to changing jobs often as well. Interviewing, after a while, became second nature to me. My repertoire of jobs is substantial, certainly varied, ranging from handing out baby orchids in a grass skirt and two coconut shells for a Hawaiian motif store to manning a moving drive up window for a feed and grain in Alabama.
In my early twenties I went to work for a moving and storage company as an assistant to their dispatcher. Mike was a tightly wound man with a colorful vocabulary who was prone to throwing all the dispatch cards in the air as though enjoying a ticker-tape parade and storming out of the office. During my initial interview process for the position, I began making my first impression early by accidentally entering the building through the “Driver’s Door”, which immediately put me in the center spotlight standing in a room jam-packed with burly movers waiting to be assigned vans. Most were smoking over generously packed ashtrays, while others were eating donuts and laughing amongst themselves. A young girl in a short summer dress, shall we say, did not go unnoticed in such overtly masculine company. Totally embarrassed, I inquired in a low voice as to where I might find the entrance and before I knew it was being escorted by what looked like a marching band composed of men most of them three times my size to the front of the building.
After filling out the required paperwork and taking the expected tests I was ushered into the office of the president of the company. I found him sitting behind a huge desk with the vice-president, also his son, seated in a chair on the opposite side. Nervous, I asked if I could get a cup of water from the cooler. Once again seated they began the interview. Dry as a dog bone, I took several big draws off my water and inhaled the second one. Choking, I blew the mouthful of water across the man’s desk and showered him as well as the paperwork sitting on his desk. Unable to draw a breath, I turned red and my eyes began to water profusely relocating my mascara to my cheeks as the two men beat me nearly to death in an attempt to get me to breathe. Finally regaining a shred of composure, I managed to finish the short interview in a hoarse voice and left totally humiliated. Miraculously, probably more out of pity than my stellar qualifications, I got the job and worked there for the next several years.
At my going away party they made me a chart out of all the silly things I did during my time there which I kept until it disintegrated and yellowed. The above was towards the top but the crowd favorite was when the dispatcher approached me about a situation in the ladies bathroom. I was the only female in the office that day so he was tasked with apprising me of the situation. It seemed they had discovered and infestation of crabs in the facilities and we would have to use the men’s latrine until they exterminated them. Horrified at the news, (I’m telling you I was green as a gourd at that age) I asked first if I could see them (I love crabs), and second if we couldn’t contact a local aquarium or fish store and perhaps find them a home. The dispatcher dissolved into a fit of laughter that completely baffled me until one of the other female employees explained what type of crabs we were dealing with here. Good God, was I ever that young? Apparently.
Several years later I found myself again seeking new employment. This time it was a huge engineering company and the job was executive assistant to the vice-president of the environmental group. Wanting to make an excellent first impression as I needed the job and admired the company I bought myself a lovely dress for the interview. I can see it now. Pale blue with a subtle print and long sleeves that were made of a slightly diaphanous material. Very feminine and tailored. At the allotted time I arrived in the lobby and gave the receptionist my name. While waiting I observed that the lobby contained two desks, one empty and a bank of filing cabinets with the one closest to the door leading to the hall having its top drawer open as the receptionist was filing. Shortly, an older man, seemingly all business arrived and very formally introduced himself.
After a brief discussion he gestured towards the door leading to the hallway and indicated that I should lead the way. Clutching my resume and my bag I walked confidently towards the open door trying to look poised and in control. As I passed the open drawer the sharp edge of it hooked my sleeve and sheered it off at the shoulder as neatly as if I’d cut the fabric with scissors. Suddenly I had one bare arm and my lovely sleeve dangled off the edge of the file cabinet looking like a colorful flag. For a moment nobody spoke, and then the man I was interviewing with started laughing. Retrieving the rest of my dress, we continued with the interview and once again I got the job. Walking out of the building with eyes following me, I looked straight ahead and held my head high. Maybe I should market these strategies, as I’ve certainly never heard them mentioned in any job seminars I’ve been to.
At any rate, there are many more. One day I’ll retell the feed and grain story. I could do it in my sleep. It’s one of the stories that my friends and family ask me to recall at family gatherings over the holidays. You’d think they’d be tired of it by now. I know I am.
These Brussel sprouts are awesome. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before because they so obviously lend themselves to a skewer. It is necessary to parboil them first otherwise nearly impossible to skewer them and I can imagine cooking them would take quite a while. Enjoy.
When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So, what the hell, leap. – Cynthia Heimel
Grilled Sprouts on a Stick with Dipping Sauce
24 Brussel sprouts, as uniform in size as possible
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 wooden skewers, soaked for 1 hour prior to using
1 cup water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup cooking sherry
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup sour cream
Melt butter in saucepan. Blend in flour and seasonings. Slowly add milk and sherry and cook until sauce thickens. Whisk in sour cream. Stir constantly until well heated and smooth. Serve warm with Brussel sprouts.
Trim Brussel sprouts. Place in saucepan and cover with salted water and parboil until just tender. Drain.
Mix all remaining ingredients. Add sprouts to bowl and toss to coat well. Allow to sit for 20 mins. to marinate.
Skewer six on each of the prepared skewers leaving slight space between each sprout. Keep remaining oil mixture for basting.
Place on grill and cover. Cook for 5 mins. Baste with oil, turn, and cook for an additional five minutes. Serve with warm sauce. Serves 4.