I just had the loveliest job interview today! It was for a company at which I have frequently shopped, whose products have always impressed me. The interviewers were all knowledgeable, charming young people, with whom I would be very pleased to work. The commute wasn’t bad, and the salary was reasonable. The work seems plentiful and not difficult, and I have no doubt I could do it.
So what am I going to bitch about in this blog entry?
Let’s start with this: going on a job interview at my stage of life is really awkward. It’s like starting to date again after a very long marriage, and finding out that all your prospective suitors are the same age as your children.
I’m a little bit jaded when I hear those eager young HR people make the usual queries, and as I give them the replies they’re expecting to hear, a naughty little voice in my head answers all their questions most inappropriately.
“Thank you for coming in! Did you have any trouble finding the building?”
“No, not after that nice Boy Scout helped me cross the street…which is, incidentally, named for your company.”
“Have a seat. May I get you some water?”
“Yes, please, and a tank of oxygen. Why didn’t you warn me about all the stairs?”
“Why are you interested in joining us here at XYZ.com?”
“Because my benefits ran out two weeks ago, and if I don’t get a job with health insurance so I can buy my pills, I’m going to pee uncontrollably pretty damned quickly.”
“I’ve looked at your resume, and it’s very impressive. You’ve been writing a long time, haven’t you?”
“I probably started when your bosses were still wearing diapers and peeing uncontrollably .”
“And you’ve even had digital experience!”
“Yes, yes, yes, YES, by golly, I’ve used them damned there computers, and sent out emails and blogs, and HTMLs, and all sorts of demonic communications that don’t call for pencil and paper.”
“Tell me a little about what you’ve done to enhance your SEO.”
Oh shit. SEO. I remember that from their ad. I looked it up, and I’ve done it. What the hell is it? Time to answer the question with a question.
“My SEO? Where do I begin?”
I am pierced by a very young eye.
“Tell me how you’ve enhanced your SEO across the websites you’ve created.”
“Oh. Okay. Let’s see. Hmm. Do you want to know about the websites that support the magazines I’ve worked on, or the social media pages I created that link to articles in the online version of the magazine…”
“Oh!,” says the youngster. “You’ve used links to social media to enhance your SEO!”
“Bingo! What else would you like to know?”
I will spare you the rest of the back-and-forth, during which — thankfully — I suffered from no further brain farts. Our conversation was followed by a writing test. Did I use too many adjectives? Probably. Enough commas and periods? I don’t know. Inappropriate incomplete sentences? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!
By the time I met with the young women who would be grading the test, I was a babbling, although charming idiot. I suddenly wanted this job more desperately than a sixteen year old wants a prom date… not because I needed the money, and not because I needed the insurance, and not because I needed some structure in my life, but because I needed approval! Yes, YOU CAN WRITE! Yes, YOU CAN SPEAK INTELLIGENGTLY! Yes, YOU CAN PLAY WITH THE YOUNGER KIDS!
The appointment ended with hearty handshakes, and a promise to wrap things up sometime next week.
I walked to my car with my head held high and my heart filled with confusion, opened the door, sat down on the hot leather seats, and heard a nasty, nasty voice from the back of my head yell out, “SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION!”
Yeah, damn it. SEO. I’ve done that.