Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's not's me

I received a call for a healthcare publications manager position with a large healthcare insurance company downtown. After a 15 minute initial interview, they set up a face to face interview. I pick up the suit from the dry cleaners. I go over my presentation. This is stuff I know. I've been doing healthcare publications for nearly ten years. I take the train an hour and a half into town. I walk ten blocks-change shoes in the park. Slip on my jacket and enter the glass skyscraper. I go to the front desk with my printed out e-mail and tell them who I'm supposed to ask for. They photograph me and create a badge. My escort will be right down. I wait. Ten minutes later (Is waiting a power thing? I think so...) my escort shows up. A lovely older woman who is breathless and chats about how she has worked for the company for over forty years. We go up to the 27th floor. She walks me through the glass halls-all secure as only a badge can open the doors-to a conference room where the person before me is running over time.

I chit chat about the construction going on above them-seems the building will go from 30 floors to 60 by the end of the year. she tells me they have to evacuate the building every time the crane hauls up new equipment for safety reasons. Finally the conference door opens. A man is escorted out. I go in. It is a good interview with two people-the manager who will be the boss and an art director. I like them. We get along well and I sail through the "tell us about a time when you X" questions. As I'm leaving for the second part of the interview, the boss tells me that they will call next week for second interviews. I'm happy, smiling, hopeful. Part two takes me to the top floor and a conference room bigger than my living room. As I'm taking it in, I note a six foot television screen with my image on it. I say, "Holy smokes, that's bad." Not seeing the smiling woman on the other side. It's a video interview with a woman in another part of the country-a counterpart to the boss. I sit down and put my game face on. I go through another round of "Tell me about..." questions. I'm not sure how this interview went. There were significant pauses as she typed my answers in. Eye contact is at a minimum but I bravely get through it. After 45 minutes I'm thanked for my time and sent out to the hallway to wait for my escort.

She is about five minutes late and happily takes me to the edge of the floor to ceiling exterior windows to "show me the view" completely unaware that I am afraid of heights. She is so enthusiastic about the city views that I do my best to ooh and aah. I must have been convincing as she takes me to the other side to see the construction and the park some 30 odd floors beneath us. I start to get woozy and step back. It was then that I noticed all the stairwells and stairs are glass. I'm really getting spooked. But wipe off the cold sweat on my forehead and gently guide her back to the elevators where I get to go down. Thankful to hand over my badge and get out of all that glass.

The next week-Friday- the boss guy calls. I'm not sure if I am hoping to see him again or not. But it's a good job. He would be great to work for. I even went out and bought a second suit. But boss man didn't call to schedule a second interview. He called to kindly tell me that-it rarely happens but...they had more than one candidate who actual worked in health insurance-not just publications and they went with those candidates. "Oh-" I say. "All right," thinking about the second suit hanging in my closet with the price tags still on it.

"I wanted to speak to you personally," he kindly tells me. "Because I wanted you to know that you interview very well. You are clear and concise in your examples-something well suited in communications. Unlike other candidates we interviewed."

"Oh, well, thank you..."

"Your welcome. I thought you should know and not have to wonder what happened."

Nice guy. I'm wishing I could work with him-but am glad not to have to worry about spending sixty hours a week up in the air with nothing but a pane of glass between me and 30 stories of air.

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