Monday, November 18, 2013
Street and Fleet
Of course I could, I said.
The interview was to be at the complex where all my organization's physical plant maintenance work was carried out. I left the house early, wearing my black Eileen Fisher pantsuit that I wear for job interviews. I had only visited there a few times in the past - it's a rambling complex with workshops, warehouses, garages, equipment compounds, and mechanical shops. I pulled in and parked in a "visitors" parking space, and tried to figure out where to go.
The email directed me to a central office, and instructed me to check in with someone named Tyra. I thought I found the right office, but they directed to me go back outside and walk down a few yards. "There's an umbrella table outside the door - go in there and ask for Tyra."
I saw the umbrella table, and I also saw a group of people standing around it, coffee cups in hand, talking and laughing. One man stood in the walkway, one foot on the concrete bench of the umbrella table, his body blocked my passage. But as I approached, my heeled shoes clicking on the pavement, someone murmured, "hey, get out the way," and he turned and stepped back when he saw me.
I smiled and said good morning. "I'm here for an appointment with [Person], and I'm supposed to check in with Tyra. Can you tell me where to go?"
Tyra was a tall, pretty black woman with dreadlocks, standing in the group. "Of course, you're the eight o'clock, come on in," and she led me to a chair to wait. I was ten minutes early, so I checked my email on my phone and waited. The radio on Tyra's desk played at low volume, Santana's "Oye Como Va."
When the eight o'clock hour came, a man greeted me and led me back outside. "We've grown in the last years, and we've had to make some office space out of the shops," he said. But even so, I was a little surprised when he led me across the grounds into the bay of a vehicle garage where cars and trucks were hoisted up on lifts. We eased past a work bench, and my escort nodded and said hello to the mechanics whose buzzing air tools ministered to them.
A group of jumpsuited workers were performing stretching exercises in unison. We threaded our way through them, saying hello and I caught one worker's laughing eye. Then, we went into a conference room where the interview panel sat.
It was a half hour. I think I did OK. I was nervous and my mouth was stone dry, but I felt comfortable answering the questions, and I think my answers were good. There were some silly questions, like "describe your biggest weakeness," and "tell us how your friends would describe you." But, on the whole, I felt good.
The job's duties include one area that is a great strength of mine. I would also learn one computerized process that I've always been interested in learning. It pays about $5000 a year more, to start, than my current job pays.
The atmosphere is casual and blue-collar.
The field is totally without connection to the career in arts and entertainment that I've spent my life in.
Except - I am used to working with guys like this.
There are two other candidates. They want to make a decision soon. Whatever happens will happen.