• I Had An Interview

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in WBN News & Events     Comments 4 comments
    Mar
    28

    (Editor’s Note: Last week we ran Part I of Mike Britt’s three-post series on trying to land work after earning a creative writing M.F.A. Look for Part III next Wednesday. Unless Britt lands this job … DD)

     

    I had an interview. It was not easy. I found a job for an advertising/marketing copywriter at a local, high-end home décor company that is literally seven minutes down the road. The copywriter job is ideal for my skill set, a half-step up from my last job as a copywriter, and most importantly it includes the word “writer” in the job title itself. After all, isn’t that why I got my M.F.A. in writing?

    Advertising/marketing copy sounds so much more Mad Men than it actually is. The better part of the job would actually involve updating and editing the content on the company’s website and the lesser portion would involve writing social media posts, scriptwriting for salespeople, and the most creative of all, the product descriptions. Every website you go to and every catalog you browse has a copywriter somewhere in the background scraping the recesses of his/her brain for another adjective to describe black. “These elegant ebony sunglasses feature polarized, fog resistant lenses set in durable, molded polyethylene frames. They are the ideal accessory for the public figure sneaking out of an adult theater or burned-out meth addict attending Thanksgiving dinner. One size fits most.” And it’s just that simple.

    So when I saw the job posting I applied online, then I drove down to the company and physically handed my resume, cover letter and writing samples to the head of Human Resources then I waited a week. Then I emailed a woman I knew at the company and got the email addresses for the head of HR and the head of marketing. I emailed them both. I pushed and cajoled people I had a passing association with to put in a good word for me. I emailed again, I called, drove past the company headquarters slowly and with a menacing look set upon my face, attempted to will someone, anyone, to call me for an interview.

    And then it happened. I called the head of Marketing’s office; I was told she was working from home. I practiced over and over again the voicemail I would leave, while pacing the concrete floor in my basement, always walking the lightning strike pattern of the crack in the floor that tiny pill-bugs crawl out of every spring. “Hello Ms. V—, This is Mike Britt, I’ve recently applied for the position of web content writer/editor and I was looking for an update on your candidate pool and wanted to know if there was anything you needed from me to better inform your decision, blah, blah, blah.” Good, right? But when I called the unexpected happened: the woman actually answered the phone, and all my preparation went out the window. I panic-said, “He Sarah, I’m Mike.” She said the HR person was supposed to call me and schedule an interview and she sent me a series of products that she wanted writing samples for. I had my foot in the door.

    I shaved my beard, which had taken a very long time to grow, put on my best/only suit and arrived 20 minutes early. After filling out forms with my previous job experience, education and vital statistics (all things I thought my resume was supposed to communicate), the head of marketing was 20 minutes late for my interview. This was not a positive augury in my mind.

    When I finally met the woman in charge of the position everything becomes a blur. She said my writing samples were not exactly what she was looking for, and she asked me to describe what kind of person I was, and the only thing that came to me was, “I’m like Woody Allen, very … (large churning hand movements).” The word I was looking for was “neurotic”; however, I think I implied “Jewish,” which could be construed as a problem because the two men who own and operate the company are in fact Jewish.

    It became the single moment I have fixated on ever since, that somehow with the mention of Woody Allen I had sealed my fate. The whole tone of the interview changed from that point on: the woman was short, standoffish, and I’m pretty sure she rolled her eyes. It was over with her even before it began.

    After the marketing woman I met the head of HR. She was a large woman, not fat exactly but just big: big hair, big bones, big eyes and big personality. She seemed to really like me. “You’re the perfect candidate for this position,” she said. “At the beginning of your career, personable. I think you have a good shot.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I had already shown myself to be a rabid anti-Semite.

    As I walked out of the building the sky looked down on me, opaque as a fogged mirror. Freezing rain started falling and stung my freshly shaved cheeks. I started my car, lit the remainder of a cigarette and drove home as sheets of freezing rain obscured the road. Something inside me wanted the road to collect a slippery coat of ice, wanted my tire to catch a patch of slush and slide slow-motion into the cold lake just outside my passenger side window.

    Because then I wouldn’t have to wait. Wouldn’t have to wonder if I should have worn the green shirt instead of the blue one. And I wouldn’t have to worry about how to cover next month’s student loan payment.

     

    Mike Britt is a writer and aspiring villain. He is a master of Krav Maga, diabolical plots and loves turtlenecks. Follow his twitter feed @TheNathanFiles for updates on his plans for world domination.

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    Amber Wilson

    I would give you a job based entirely on the description you wrote for the sunglasses. And I love Woody Allen, so that would only help. Sounds like you just caught someone on a bad day. Or you caught a bad person on a normal day.

    Did the head of HR remind you of the receptionist in Office Space? “Corporate Accounts Payable Nina speaking, justamoment, Corporate Accounts Payable Nina speaking, justamoment.”

    Luke McCabe

    If next week’s post doesn’t involve you getting some kind of form letter job rejection, I’ll be unhappy. Not that I’m not rooting for you, but … you know. It would seem appropriate.

    Though if you get a rejection call from this company that tells you you would’ve gotten the job if you’d worn the green shirt instead of the blue one, I’ll be giddy as hell.

    […] three-part series on trying to find a job with an M.F.A. in Writing. Read Parts One and Two. And check back next week, because he might just keep writing this shit for us. […]

    […] to do after you get that seemingly-useless MFA in writing; Mike Britt offers his own amusing three-part […]




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