Interview Incognito

July 23, 2010

in Tales from the Back of the Unemployment Line

I’m fairly certain that at some point, everyone searching for a life-fulfilling career eventually ends up at a temp. agency.  We all use the same justifications: it’s a foot in the door of the life-fulfilling career, its something to do while waiting for the life-fulfilling career to open up, its something to pay for the interview suit you need to land the life-fulfilling career, its something to keep paying the rent for the closet you store the interview suit in for your life-fulfilling career interview.
At the very least, its someone to help search out the potential positions and screen them pre-interview.  In theory.
Oh, how I love me some theories…
So three months after beginning my second job search in as many years, I turned to the theoretical help of one of the local temp. agencies.  After giving them my resume detailing the 1.2million dollar business I ran, the $50K fundraisers I coordinated, and the years of hiring, training, promoting and firing over a hundred employees, they called to say they’d gotten me an interview!
As a receptionist.  
(Seriously.  At this point?  Anything was better than nothing)

After purchasing a spiffy interview outfit (having outgrown Everything I previously wore without an elastic waistband) and doing the requisite research about the company and practically memorizing their online catalogue, I set out bright and early for my interview.
Let me reiterate: BRIGHT & EARLY.
That is until I got to the end of my street, prepared to turn left…and found that they had CLOSED my road for paving.  CLOSED.  As in I would have to coat my car in tar while mowing down at least 5 under-compensated road crew men to avoid a 40 minute detour.
So.  Twenty minutes after my interview was scheduled to begin, I finally arrived at the location.  I walked in just in time to find my potential employer asking my temp. agency Where the HECK I was.
After telling my temp. agency to call off the search team, my P.E. proceeds to come out from the behind the desk to greet me.  Dragging his left foot.  While looking in two different directions.  At the same time.
While I am by NO MEANS discriminatory towards the disabled, it would have been nice to have a little warning.  So I didn’t, you know, STARE.  Not because I thought he was a freak (I usually reserve that judgement until at least 5 minutes into a conversation), but because I couldn’t tell which eye was the one to look at?  You’re Supposed to look someone in the eye when talking to them, right?  SO WHICH EYE??
After deciding to look him in the “Third Eye,” in the middle of his forehead, the interview proceeds as normal.  It’s a temp-to-hire position that I could do in my sleep.  He is impressed that I’ve found his company’s website and am familiar with their catalogue of merchandise and with my computer skills in general.  (Which are NOT impressive, unless you live in the Middle of Nowhere where most business don’t have an internet Yellow Pages listing, let alone their own website.)
He then proceeds to explain about the position, his expectations, and why the last person left their position.  More specifically, that his last receptionist became pregnant for the second time, at which point he told her he simply couldn’t hold her job for another maternity leave and if she insisted on getting pregnant and taking time off to recover from birth he would have to hire someone to replace her.
Perhaps this is where I should mention that I was 7 MONTHS PREGNANT???  
Seriously.  I’m sitting there, looking this man in his forehead, listening to him rant about how irresponsible it was for a married woman to get pregnant and take 6 weeks off to recover from birth while starting welcoming a new life into the world.  While resting my hands on top of my belly.  My VERY PREGNANT BELLY.
And while I considered not mentioning the tiny fact that in no more than two months time I’d be taking my own time off to give birth and figure out the whole “nurturing a new life” thing; I also thought that it might be a tad awkward if he suddenly realized I wasn’t just REALLY fat when my water broke all over his office floor.  The idea of having to explain that I hadn’t simply peed my pants was more humiliation than my pregnancy hormones could take at that moment in time.
So I let him in on my “secret.”  Told him that I wasn’t Actually a fan of wild prints in an empire waist.  That I didn’t regularly carry a beachball under my top.  And that the slight protrusion he might see above my belly button was not actually my lunch, but rather a TINY ELBOW.
I haven’t heard from him since.  And my temp agency?  Decided they’d wait until After I gave birth to find me a job.
My kid?  Is 7 months old.
The agency?  Has yet to call.


Domesticated Gal July 24, 2010 at 3:14 am

I'm not entirely sure. Seeing as how I was conveniently fired for my (then anonymous) blog a week after a perfect review in which my boss told me she assumed I wouldn't be coming back to work after Maternity leave and I told her I would…legality all seems to be a question of semantics at this point.

but it was pretty funny to see the look of horror on his face as he realized he was interviewing yet Another pregnant woman!

Liz July 23, 2010 at 11:06 pm

isn't it illegal to do that to someone who is pregnant?

jss July 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Aaand this horror story would be part of the reason why I never bothered looking for a job when I was laid off and pregnant.

What a dumbass.

Lyndsay July 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Damn, that sucks girl. Try a different agency, this one doesn't sound too good.

txrosejames July 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Unless you've reminded them of your existence, I'm sure they've either round-filed you or have put you in their archives of past clients. I think you should approach them as if you'd never met before.

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