10:50 to 11:20 Sept. 12

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Friday, September 14, 2007
Central Branch
(central branch in winter. right now the trees are all very leafy.)

general info: Interview for library clerk position, 10:50, Sept. 12th, central branch. 10:50?? Is that a crazy time for an interview? It sounds crazy to me! I guess I should be grateful it wasn't in military time or at 10:57, EASTERN TIME or some other "so, you think you're clever, do you?" test time. (thoughts like these are how I constantly overcomplicate my life.)

All I knew ahead of time is that there would be more than one person interviewing me, I would need to get someone to let me on to the staff elevator that goes to the fifth floor and that I would need to check in when I got there. So I did. (personally, I think it was another test since 3 out of 4 people behind the desk acted like asking about how to get to my appointment on the fifth floor was akin to asking about UFO landings in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The 4th person, however, was awesome, on the ball and wearing a bright purple shirt.)

There was one other woman waiting when I arrived on 5, and two others came and went as I waited. There were three rooms conducting interviews, although I don't think all of them were for the same position. Every other interviewee was wearing some variation of navy and white. (pinstriped skirt, white sweater/ navy pants, blue and white flowered shirt/ navy trousers, white sleeveless sweater, etc.) I was NOT and therefore felt a tad conspicuous. The only white thing I had on was the giant bandage on my chin, which brings me to ...

wardrobe, in list form:

bandage: white, about 2" square. This is small compared to what I was wearing the day before. It was chosen because it was the smallest one that would cover completely and not allow any seeping, oozing, draining or other words I cringe to type. I decided to brazen it out and not offer any explanations for the obvious first thing anyone would notice, although if anyone had asked I would have explained. No one said anything until later in the day when an old man who clearly fancied himself as some sort of lady killer comedian asked me 'what does the other guy look like?' I punched him in the face. ... Okay! I just gave him a smile and kept moving, but in my mind I totally bruised my knuckles on his nose.

skirt: the Miracle Traveling Pencil Skirt. My aunt gave me this lovely heavy silk (not shiny) skirt she had made for herself by a tailor in India. The miracle is that it fits me perfectly, and I am about 8" taller than she is. It's a beautiful very dark tealish blue (it almost reads charcoal from far away) but it still has a hot tone to the color, which means it looks great with...

top: pinky-red tone on tone Duro Top, aka Maybe Clown Pajamas, But I Love It Anyway. I just finished making this the night before my interview, which is why I had some ambivalence about it. It's the basic McCall's Duro pattern, but with a skirt that is only 11" long. Voila! perfect to wear with straight skirts and jeans! I wore a dark teal camisole underneath to keep from fidgeting every 20 seconds to make sure I wasn't flashing my boobs inadvertently. (if I'm going to do it, I want to know about it!)

shoes: magic bronze mary-janes. They are neither black nor brown, but they go with anything that either black or brown would go with. They are round toed, neither too clunky nor too delicate, the perfect height and a-dorable. I love them and will cry when they fall apart.

the interview itself:

I was called into a conference room by a very nice woman who introduced herself as the supervisor of one of the branches, there was one other (very nice) woman who worked as a clerk for another branch in the room. They brought me water, which I think was in deference to my bandage infirmity and not standard procedure.

While I was in the waiting area, I had been given a clipboard with a list of the questions I would be asked (very civilized!) with a written notice not to be offended if the interviewers didn't maintain constant eye contact because they would be taking notes. This made me smile because I totally understood where they were coming from! (I am not disinterested just because I am not trying to see into the back of your brain through your eyeballs.) Take that, Relentless Eye Contact/ Staring Contest/ Read Too Many Interviewing Tips people!

They were both very nice and easy to chat with. It was clear that they had actually read my application materials, although they didn't ask me any questions other than the ones that were on the list. I think that kind of careful rigidity is probably standard procedure for any kind of county position, though. Here is my distillation of the 6 interview questions, once the bureau-speak is boiled away:

1. The public is an unpredictable beast. What experience do you have working with unpredictable beasts?

2. Are you an impossible to work with crazy bitch? Do your coworkers hate you? Please give us an example. We will be watching to see if you use this opportunity to shine us on with some crazy story about how your only fault is that you work too hard.

3. Are you a bigot?

4. Can you lift shit and stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time?

5. Intellectual freedom Rules Our School. Will you be offended by freaky stuff patrons check out? What will you say when a patron says "how DARE you!" about materials they find offensive? The second question is not a hypothetical, it will happen.

6. can you handle an angry bear? please describe your best bear distracting techniques.

Here are my (distilled) answers:

1. Yes, I have a strange fondness for the unpredictable beast and have worked with it off and on for most of my working life.

2. No, I'm super mellow and can get along with just about anyone over the course of a work day and my only fault is that I work too hard. Seriously, I don't like passive aggressive office politics and prefer to bring any problems up with the person I have them with directly, the thing I would like to improve is bringing them up sooner. (which is almost as bad as 'my only fault is that I work too hard' but not quite.)

3. no.

4. yes.

5. I will not be offended! (I actually feel like I flubbed this answer which makes me sad since I am ALSO a huge fan of intellectual freedom and feel like libraries are one of the last bastions of freely available information in this society and should be celebrated and protected. I hope I got that across, but the truth of it is, I didn't really have a good reply for how I would deal with the "how DARE you" person beyond "are you fucking KIDDING ME?" I did not share that exact vocabulary at the interview, though. (although I realized that I swear a LOT more now than I did the last time I worked with the public.) I think I gave the kind of answer that indicated I was on the right side of the issue and would work out what I needed to work out, rather than being someone who said "well, I don't mind handling materials as long as there's no naked people or atheists involved.")

6. Yes! it is one of my specialties and involves a whistle and a long stick with honey on the end. If that doesn't work a chair and a whip will do the job.

I wasn't there for the full half hour allotted. I didn't have many questions for them, but it seemed like that was okay since they acknowledged that I already had a grasp of what the job entailed from all of my volunteering. (which came up several times, and not always from me.) I left thinking I was qualified and that it went pretty well, but for all I know it went REALLY well for all those other people who were being interviewed that day (and all the days before and after). I get to wait some more to find out. I should know one way or the other by Sept. 28. I'm hoping that I will at least get placed on their Eligible to Hire list, which is good for a year. One of the women interviewing me said that she waited NINE MONTHS between applying and getting a job, so I guess that should reset my impatience meter!

Anyway, that's the story of my interview. Ooh! except I found really excellent parking before the interview, which if it wasn't a sign for good things to come, at least was a good parking spot.
14 comments on "10:50 to 11:20 Sept. 12"
  1. First, what a beautiful photo! A perfect image of a place that's very dear to my heart.

    Second, it sounds like things went well...although you never know with these sorts of interviews. I have only ever walked out of one knowing that I nailed it and that the job was all mine. The wardrobe sounds great - think of it, you stood out visually (even without the bandage) from the crowd, so that's one thing that keeps you fresh in their minds. Trust me! I've done the interviewing - after a while they all blend together.

    I think when you write your thank you note you should revisit the Intellectual Freedom idea and try to clarify your thoughts for them. Or not.

    Anyway, sounds like it went great, even if you opted not to close with "I RULE!"

  2. If Andy Warhol had your memory he would not have had to carry around a Sony recorder that he referred to as his wife. I think your clothing sounded awesome. I mean come on, though. Even if you were all bland they would not have forgotten that you volunteer already and that you had a bandage on your face. I think your bandage was a bonus. It showed that you were fearless as you felt no need to explain why it was there. I know that we will all be waiting anxiously for the next 2 weeks to go by. Not as much anxiously as you are, but you are not alone with the anticipation and everything. Congratulations.

  3. Much anxiously, not sure what that means...

  4. Dang Anonymous T, why didn't you remind me about the "I RULE!" thing BEFORE?? That would have been a good closer. Thanks for your kind words about the upside of clown pajamas! I honestly hadn't thought about the thank you note issue! OMG! I wonder if I can remember their names. (I was too nervous/stupid to think of writing them down and they didn't give cards or anything -- the impression was that they were there as representatives of the whole system rather than the actual hire-ers.) Anyway -- I changed the post a little bit on the intellectual freedom thing from "hope" to "think" -- I think I DID get across that my problem was not with any materials they might have, but that I just was (at present) unprepared for how to deal with an offended patron. I could figure it out, though! Without cursing, even.

    BBD -- hee hee. Are you telling me I'm my own wife? I'm sure Warhol's poor memory allowed him to have more fun at parties! Thanks for your kind words and support. I really appreciate them! I especially like spinning the bandage as a net positive!

  5. Yes, I suppose I was saying that you are your own wife, but that wasn't what I had in mind. How odd. I hope that you have fun this weekend replaying your special day. I am sure that you rated a 10 all around. Or a 100, depending on the scale you use.

  6. I thing Anonymous T's idea is fantastic! Thank you letters are great for that aside from just the obvious helping you to stand out where clown costumes and bandaids fail. Maybe if they aren't the hirers per se, it would work to send a thank you note to the coordinator lady and it'll just go in your file for the hirer to see with all the notes the representative ladies took. And you can always close the note with "I RULE!".
    I will be waiting to hear just as much anxiously as BBD, I can tell you that, but certainly not as much as you. Only 1.5 weeks now and maybe you'll even hear sooner!

  7. All of my digits are crossed and I am so hoping that things turn out well. Or even swellegant? Sweelagant? The spelling is a bit curious as it isn't so much a word as it is a feeling, right?

  8. Thanks, Leslita! I, too, have concerns that sometimes bandaids and clown pajamas may not be enough. (it sounds like the start of a political ad: Clown pajamas and bandaids letting you down? vote for thank you notes and sensible behavior!)

    Swellegant is s'wonderful, bbd, feeling or word or whatever. Thank you for the continued digit crossing and good thoughts! I know they're helping!!

  9. I am far from being a gushy sort of person but I am so thinking good thoughts for you. You deserve sunshine.

  10. Gimme a break, BBD! You are the biggest Pollyana I've ever met!
    And I mean that in the gushiest way!

  11. I think bbd's comments about your clothing and your memorableness are right on! And he said it so well--you were fearless not to explain about that bandage. Sounds like you kept your cool very well, even though you didn't announce that you rule.

    The thank you note is a great suggestion, but I don't know about clarifying your thoughts. Better to leave them with the impression that you are confident that they recognized how clarified your thoughts were--and always are, forever and ever and ever and ever.

  12. Thanks, Patty! Although I think fearless might be assigning me more bravery than I deserve. It was more a case of "I can't think of a good brief explanation that does not end with me offering to remove the bandage so they can see how gross it is." My clarified thoughts -- hee hee hee. You are funny AND sweet.

    BBD and Leslita, you are muy fantastico and make me laugh and laugh!

  13. Maybe I am a bit of a Pollyanna. Maybe. A. Bit.

  14. Hello:
    I need a big favor:
    Could you please take a look in your book of answers?
    I need the latest 4 names for the beatles before the last name "beatles"
    This is for a trivia at work.



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