Fear


I had been giving this one some time to stew and I think it’s about time to go ahead with it.

About 3 weeks ago, we got a flier in the mail that was advertising a new local store which was going to have a hiring event on Memorial Day weekend. I figured I might as well go for it since – and I don’t recommend you do this – if I stood in the street with my driver and a golf ball, I could probably reach the store’s location in about 5 strokes.

Yeah, it’s that close. And since driving 40 miles round-trip daily can be a costly endeavor (despite gas prices continuing to decline), having a job that is close enough to walk or bike to would be most awesome.

The first step was completing the online application which I did a day before the event. That Friday, I drove directly to the store after work and was disappointed to learn that the line had already been stopped for the evening since there were plenty of applicants for those performing the impromptu interviews.

Not a big deal; I’d drive back on Saturday morning when the event opened and grab a good spot in line. So I asked for an application which had to be completed even if you had already done the online version. Fine, I’ll do it.

I went home and, using my finest penmanship, filled out the application error-free and left no blank spaces save for the Military Experience and Criminal Record areas. It was truly as masterpiece if I’d ever seen one.

By 8:30 am there was already a line of people waiting to drop off their applications and get a quick once-over by those sitting at foldable tables placed under rather large canopies. I took my place in line and waited with the rest of the applicants.

It gave me time to sort of scope out the competition. I struck up a conversation with the young woman in front of me – a  local school teacher – who was there seeking either part-time or full-time employment since local budget cuts are forcing the school district to lay off lots of teachers and, for all she knew, the proverbial ax could fall on her very soon. Ironically, she graduated from the same college as Ann.

We continued to chat and kill time while sort of eyeballing the other applicants’ dress, demeanor, etc. It was at this point when we overheard the person behind me make a statement that I most assuredly wouldn’t admit and, more importantly, blurt out at such an event.

The woman, for the lack of a better term, looked like a crackwhore: stringy hair, missing teeth, and dressed in fashion from a few decades ago. Her statement, in a raspy, cigarette-damaged voice:

“I know my attitude sucks. Just give me the job already.”

We looked at each other and chuckled, thinking this woman had no chance at even getting her foot in the door. After all, in her conversation with the person who accompanied her, she couldn’t even decide on which address to list as being her home address. I don’t even want to know how or why that’s possible.

The line continues to move. I notice that some people were leaving the tables with a half-sheet of paper with some kind of printing on it. I couldn’t tell what they were. Then finally, after waiting about 30 minutes, we’re both called up to the tables, resumes and applications in hand, and have our moment with the interviewers.

I smile, introduce myself, and shake a guy named Dan’s hand. He starts asking a salvo of questions that I promptly answered with confidence while not losing eye contact.

Dan asks why I’m there. I tell him that I live down the street, I have retail management experience as well as knowledge reading and implementing planograms, setup of a new retail store, etc. In my mind, I would be an ideal candidate for this position.

He then asked about what I like to do in my free time. I mention family as well as fitness and briefly tell him about my weight loss journey. He seemed impressed with that as he looked over my application and resume.

Then he spoke.

“David, I’ll be honest. I’m on the fence with you…I can’t really see how you would fit in our company.” Dan continued but I didn’t notice what he was saying since what he told me pretty much all I needed to hear to figure out that this wasn’t going any further. But I stood there, smiling, and came back with a cheerful reply.

“Well, what would it take to push you in the right direction, Dan?” He nervously smiled and laughed, then went into how many applications they had to go through, how long it might take, etc. And since I’m writing about it, you can guess that it’s well past the time I was quoted.

That was it. I shook his hand, thanked him while still smiling, and walked away from the table without one of those slips of paper being issued to me.

Now if there was anybody qualified for the jobs they were interested in filling, it would have been me. I’ve got the experience and can work circles around people half my age. I proved that while I briefly worked at Kmart, where the manager was disappointed to see me go.

But what was it about my interview that made Dan second-guess my ability? I narrowed it down to a few things.

Honestly, I completely and utterly scared Dan with my prompt replies and pleasant demeanor. I had that interview in the bag and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have been considered for a position, either part-time or full-time.

With Dan’s fear probably came the realization that I could one day potentially run that store, leaving him out of a job or perhaps one of my minions. In short, I probably intimated the man.

I’m a bit disappointed but not much else. I mean, we are getting busy at work so I think I will be there for a while.

I will, however, visit the store once it opens to see how many homeless, toothless yet subservient crackheads they’ve hired in my place.

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