Thursday, January 11, 2007

Suit yourself (I was nearly blown off my feet)

Once more the heavy dark clouds of discontent loom above my head. I feel like a prisoner passed up for parole, knowing that his destiny is to spend the remainder of his time in a torrid hell-hole such as this office. No doubt you may gather that I was "unsuccessful" in my job application.

It looked so positive though I thought to myself after receiving the call. Where did I go wrong? Upon reflection and regaling how it went with Lisa, I can perhaps spot a few errors of judgment on my part:

Firstly, putting my suit on yesterday morning it had become clear that I have perhaps put on a couple of extra pounds over the festive period- all that Goulash and Straropramen in Prague no doubt. The jacket was so tight that I could barely do the buttons up. No matter I thought, I just wouldn’t fasten it.

I arrived at work with my suit jacket concealed under my coat so my nosey colleagues wouldn't suspect anything. I craftily removed my coat and jacket simultaneously and hung it up. “He He - the perfect crime!" I muttered like an old style film villain twirling my beard manically.

The whole day I was trying to mentally prepare myself for it i.e. doing bugger all at work. I did sadly have a rather unexpected nose bleed which alarmed me somewhat, especially as I was wearing a white shirt for the first time in an age as opposed to my usual rotation of black and dark grey shirts. This change of clothing was picked up on by one of my more astute colleagues, I explained that all my dark shirts were "in the wash". The wool was indeed over their eyes! Anyway, I rushed to the toilet and discovered that I had several large drops of blood on my shirt on my stomach. Considering the situation I remained fairly calm reassuring myself that as long as I buttoned up my suit jacket I would be fine. Going home to get a new shirt was not an option.

I sat at my desk with tissue up my right nostril for 15 minutes to ensure that the bleeding had ceased. “You’ve spilled some blood on your shirt” was a comment needless to say that I could have done without.

As I'd pre booked the afternoon off, so no one was suspicious when I fled out of the back door at 1pm. I stepped out into the middle of a hurricane- I mean Holy shit the wind was strong, proper strong! I struggled the few hundred meters to the Offices whereupon the interview was being held and did the ole, sit down and wait thing; which I did patiently- chatting to the receptionist on fairly trivial matters-mostly how windy it was “I was nearly blown off my feet I said”.

There was something a miss though. My usual confidence, which I rely upon in these situations, had deserted me and I was actually feeling nervous. Realising this made me more nervous and I could feel my palms getting sweaty- very sweaty!

When I was beckoned, I followed up some bored office clerk with 4 earrings up the stairs making polite chit chat regarding the strong winds “I was nearly blown off my feet” I said. I was asked to wait in a different office which was deserted except for a secretary and repeated the same conversation regarding the weather as I had done previously with the receptionist and the bored office clerk “(sigh)I was nearly blown off my feet”. I could hear laughter from the other side of the door which I took as a good sign until another interviewee came out of the room laughing and giving the thumbs up sign to the secretary who gave him a beaming smile. Fuck.

The secretary asked me if I wanted to take off my coat, I stood up to do so and remembered the blood so I suspiciously turned my back on her to remove my coat and quickly fasten up my suit jacket. Zoot Alores! I'd forgotten that I was a fat(ter) bastard and that my jacket was too small! I sucked in my gut the best I could and fumbled with the buttons the jacket eventually succeeding. I turned around, sweaty and resembling Penfold from Dangermouse and sat down cautiously knowing that any sudden movements would no doubt cause irreparable damage to my beloved suit. “As long as I don’t bed over or breathe I’ll be okay I thought.”

It wasn't took long that before I was invited into the "interview room".

In the office/makeshift interview room there was three managerial types sat behind a desk. Not wishing to lean over and shake hands because of the sweatiness and the jacket situation I sat down slowly and craftily undid my buttons safe in the knowledge that the blood stains would be out of sight under the desk. Flop- my belly popped out. I knew the 'non handshakingness' was an error, as they immediately started scribbling notes down whilst the chap in the centre of the three of them waffled on about what was instore for me for the afternoon (AFTERNOON!??).

Sadly my nerves got the better of me, and was unable to string a succinct sentence together. I ummed and erred and digressed majorly but I think I'd managed to answer the questions to their liking, so I still felt I was in with a chance. Alas, the next question about Equality Impact Assessment (a buzz word in the Council at the moment) caused me some discomfort. Having already brought the matter up myself in a previous question- the interviewer asked me why it was important and to give an example. Now having listened to an esteemed colleague moan non stop about having to go on a days' training about learning Muslim customs (in case he ever inspects their property- which he wouldn't and of course there are no Muslim households/families in our area- hence his "this is madness" bemoaning). I went on to answer this question the following way:

"Well...ummmm, it's naturally important to not exclude any members of the community as we want a erm... unified borough and community...and harmony - I'm mean I know everyone moans about Equality Impact Assessment, saying "why do we need to know about the Muslims blah blah blah" ....not me though of course, you know? As I think it's very important, but's important to know their customs and respect them for urm...their beliefs and like taking your shoes off before you enter their property apparently and this will go a long way in building bridges and not exclude anyone from our community....creating harmony etc."

Bugger, I knew I'd blown it! I was on the ropes big time but that was thankfully the last question. He then went on to go over Council policy- all of which I knew already; that took twenty minutes. Then the time came for me to ask any questions I may have in regards to the position. Now, as I didn't know what exactly the job I was applying for was I tried to get around this by asking what the day to day tasks would be. The proceeded to waffle and go on about how good their team was, what I'd be doing and essentially I would be processing Licensing Applications. Oh joys. But was the money was far better and it was only for a year, it sounded pretty darned sweet to me.

They then went on about the new gambling regulations, which will be coming into effect soon. The chap said "We are all having to under take training on gambling which should be fun".

As soon as he said it, I could feel an obvious joke shooting it's way from my crap gag file in my brain to my dry mouth. There was little I could do to stop myself from saying it....."I bet you'll be no good at that". There it was, I said it. As at the last second I tried to stop myself I managed to keep the volume of this "joke" down- but all it did was make it sound like I was making a snide comment about him. There was a pause and a confused look on all their faces...without thinking (again) I said "Apologies I lied about having a sense of humour on my application" which was met by an even awkward silence. I could feel myself blushing and sweating. I'm pretty sure I saw the woman interviewer mouth "cock head" to me.

The interview was over, and I was informed that I would be required to partake in a typing test. "Great" or should I say "fiddle dee dee" (see previous post I stood up and just tried to pull me jacket (which I was sure was shrinking by the minute) over the blood stain with my right hand. They stood up too and offered me their hands. I had to switch hands so that my left hand was pulling the jacket over the blood so I could shake their hands. It must have looked weird. The first guy's handshake I missed and ended up with him shaking my fingers (wet hand shake that I loathe- will write about this at some point) the second guy was a wet hand shaker anyway and I ended up crushing the woman's hand- and she did 'ouch' hand movement after I let go. Fan-fucking-tastic.

Anyhow I walked out of the office with my chin up and proceeded to take the typing test in another room. This was a piece of piss and I breezed them both exceeding the required 30 WPM and attaining my P.B of 42 WPM (small victory), however farting in this small room didn't exactly help, especially as it hadn't cleared by the time the secretary had come back to the office. –she said she’d check back on me in 15 minutes- but came back after 5!
I think it must have been the typing test success that gave me that glimmer of false hope. I honestly punched the air when I saw my score. After I’d said goodbye and collected my coat I went straight to the toilet as I was effing bursting. At the point I noticed that the bleedin’ winds had done something quite unusual to my hair! I let out a sorrowful whimper and my truly awful and bizarre hair.

Four hours later when I received the confirmation phone call I’d actually convinced myself that I was definitely going to get the job- and was a bit shocked with the "bad luck" phone call. Hilariously he said "we all enjoyed your interview but there was- on the day- a better suited applicant". Blown off my feet I was.

I am Kloot -Storm Warning
The Pernice Brothers- Crestfallen
Billy Bragg -Sulk

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