Monday, December 11, 2006

The Princess Goes on an Interview

I told a well-meaning friend about my current job status. (or rather, lack thereof) this Saturday, over lunch. People have been very understanding and supportive when I tell them about my being laid-off, which is nice, but almost everyone I’ve told immediately has an idea of where I can work, which is not always so nice, as well-intentioned as it might be. So on Saturday, I explained to this friend that I’d love to try my hand at copyediting, somewhere, and immediately he exclaims, “Oh! I have an idea!” and busts out his cell phone to call his daughter, who’s an office manager for a doctor. With lots of smiling and nodding in my direction, he jots down some notes on his napkin, and hangs up, triumphantly.

“There’s an opening for an office person at another doctor’s office, down south of Denver! You’d be great.”

Um. O.k., thanks. I’m not sure what a doctor’s front desk has to do with copyediting, but I smile and take the napkin.

His phone rings again five minutes later, and there is much more exclaiming and nodding. When he hangs up he tells me, “This woman, Cindy, wants you to call her right away, she said not to wait until Monday.”

Uh, may I finish my sandwich, first?

“Please call me after lunch, and tell me how it goes!” my friend adds.

I take this as a cue that I do not need to drop everything and call, so I finish my French dip, and we say goodbye.

I call Cindy when I get home. She tells me to come in right away. Um. It’s Saturday. I’m in my sweats. I tell her I need a couple minutes, and change into nice pants and a sweater, and pull my crusty hair back into what I hope looks like a not-too-greasy-ponytail. I am not under the impression that there is enough time for a shower. Perfume plus some sympathetic looks from The Funasaurus later, and I am out the door.

I drive for 25 minutes to a random office building, out in the middle of nowhere. There is no name on the building, just an address, and a couple large, “For Lease” signs. I go into the empty, run-down lobby, and there is an elevator with a generic sign next to it, saying what suite numbers are on what floor. But no business names. I head up to the fifth floor, and find suite number 540, though there is still no name posted next to the number. I go in, and find myself in a square, white room, with a very small window (but no counter) and two chairs (but no magazines.) There’s a guy sitting in one of the chairs, reading a book.

I have no idea where I am, or what I’m supposed to do. I peer into the window, and I see an office. I can hear voices, but there’s no one standing nearby to ask if I’m at the right place. I feel like I’m involuntarily taking part in a weird psychological experiment. The lights in the plain, white room suddenly seem very bright.

“So, is someone usually here?” I ask the guy in the chair, pointing to the desk on the other side of the window.

“Dunno. I’ve just been sitting here.”


You just walk into an empty room in a random building, and sit waiting for… something? Buddy, I’ve got some suggestions on better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon, I’m thinking to myself.

I call loudly into the office, “Hello? I’m looking for Cindy!” And eventually a woman comes by and tells me she’ll get her.

Cindy appears moments later, and ushers me in to her office, which, while a clusterfuck of piles of paper, bad artwork by either children who are under the age of 7, or someone who is totally inept with scissors, and remains of a Wendy’s drive-thru lunch; is at least not four oddly empty white walls. There’s even a (dirty) window to the outside world.

Cindy immediately begins to prattle on about patient confidentiality, and within the first five minutes manages to use the words “hate” and “despise” several times, and mentions that she “will kill” me if I were ever to breach patient confidentiality.

I am utterly lost, and finally say, “So. Ah. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not even sure what your connection is to this doctor.” (as this is obviously not a doctor’s office.) “Are you a staffing agency?”

She is very defensive, no she’s absolutely not a staffing agency. She’s been in this profession for years. (Yes, but what profession IS that?) And goes on to tell me how this doctor is rather ADD, and needs a firm hand, but not too firm, and they’re looking for just the right candidate.

I continue to be confused, and just sit there. And look around surreptitiously for the Candid Cameras.

She says this doctor has a lot of trouble with money, he makes plenty, but he has no idea how much he has, exactly, or where it all needs to go. And then she stares at me and goes, “What would you suggest?”

I suggest I get the fuck out of there as fast as possible.

But I say, “A financial planner?”

:No! Quicken. He needs QUICKEN. He’s still working out of hand-written books!”

Oh. Right. Silly me, for not guessing “Quicken” was the right answer.

Cindy goes on to explain that this guy is living in the dark ages, and it frustrates her no-end, because he won’t even use Outlook for his scheduling, he insists on an old-fashioned scheduling book that you use PENCIL in, how horrifying. Cindy herself if very proficient with computers, and finds most of these programs painfully simple, and she’s always using very complex features that sometimes confuses the computers, ha ha, but she likes it because sometimes the patients DRIVE her NUTS, and she gets ANNOYED, but she does love her job, don’t get her wrong, it’s just these 100 hour work weeks are killing her and also she’s depressed and on medication and while she’s o.k. sharing that with me, most patients ARE NOT o.k. with that kind of openness, and we’re back to her killing me if I breach patient confidentiality. (I will assume, for the time being, that doesn’t include me announcing her depression and medication to the internet. Hi, Cindy, you crazy, crazy nut bag! Hope that’s o.k.!)

I nod, and begin plotting my exit, not having found the Candid Cameras.

I finally deduce that Cindy is kind of a doctor office management consultant-of sorts (although she does not use any of those words) and remotely manages a couple of offices for doctors, however this one doctor (the ADD guy) in particular really wants someone to be physically present in his office, and his last couple of candidates have not worked out, and so he has enlisted Cindy’s help in finding just the right match.

Cindy is telling me how she’s sure there will be some long days, (maybe 12+ hours) and that I should be prepared to go in on weekends, if need be, especially over the holidays, to make sure no emergencies crop up, and for the pittance she thinks this job would earn, I’m thinking “Hell to the N-O-O-O-O-O.”

I start to craft an exit, getting up and shaking her hand as she pauses for a breath after telling me she’ll strangle me if I don’t take notes while I’m in training (to be an office assistant?) and start to say goodbye.

She says something about my resume, and I ask her if I can just e-mail it to her. She says, “Oh no, I hate e-mail, I never use it, you need to fax it to me.” And I am thinking a) aren’t you the super duper computer wiz, yet you don’t LIKE e-mail? And b) I don’t actually happen to have a fax in my home.

But I say fine, and run out of there before Miss Psycho can think of any more ways to hate on me and the world in general.

So far, the job search is not going so well. I’m debating the awesome, make-your-own-hours, every-day-is-casual-Friday, I am my own crazy, crazy boss career choice of Housewife. How do you feel about that, Funasaurus, baby?


MommyHAM said...

LOLOLOL....sorry, not laughing at you!! just with, right? Sounds like you got out of that maniacal madhouse unscathed, and thankfully in that instance still unemployed - Better luck next time. In the meantime - you could find copyediting in a vocational dictionary, and put the definition on laminate for those other well meaning friends....

Meno said...

Man, that woman really knows how to sell a job.

Run, run away.