The interview.

9 June, 2008 at 12:25 pm 3 comments

On Thursday, in the midst of my cold war with the flatmate, I had to go for an interview (or, as it is called in my head, The Massive Decider of How I Would Meet My Doom). I had been worrying (or, more accurately, FREAKING OUT) all week about it, because 1) I’d never been to an interview in 3 years or so, 2) I’d never done an interview in Oztraylia, 3) this is a very cool internship that I really really want, and 4) I have a habit of placing my entire self worth on events such as this.

To top it all off, the interview was conducted by a Branch of Government (big deal: business attire + Those Shoes I Never Wear, compulsory), with three other Seniors from various media organizations. Two days before the interview, I got an email telling me where to go: corner of Colins and Sprung* Streets, as well as the names and details of the Interviewing Panel, which I had meant to google, but decided not to. This information will be relevant later on, so it would be good if you pay attention.

Thursday morning, I set my alarm at 9 (really, really early by Nadia’s Standards) and the interview was at 11:15.

Nadia snoozes for half an hour.

Nadia wakes up in full-blown dread at 9:30, switches on computer, makes coffee and takes a shower.

After her shower, she leans over the tub to reach for her towel, as she does every day, after every shower. This time, however, she slips, falls forward, and lands with her knees and elbows tangled together, precisely on the curve of the bathtub where, if you drop a bar of soap, it would slide to the other end of the tub, with the sound effect swiissh. Nadia, being slightly heavier than a bar of soap, slides back and forth in the tub, at least three times, with the sound effect squeeg, squeeg, squeeg. She stays in the tub for a second with the shock of the fall, half expecting more squeegs to come, then she gets up, not noticing the bruise on her leg that’s about to appear, and thinks, “Huh. Isn’t inertia funny?”

At 10, Nadia checks the relevant email again, confirming the address of the interview. Then she decides she really should print out those articles Mom had sent her via email, for the purposes of showing them off to the Interviewing Panel. Nadia is torn between asking the flatmate if she could use her printer in the midst of a cold war, or taking 10 minutes to walk to the nearest printing shop and doing it there. Decides that decision could wait while she dries her hair.

At 10 past 10, Nadia decides to go to the printing shop. Gets stuff printed.

At 10:30 Nadia gets on the tram with 45 minutes to get to the city. Plenty of time!

However.

However!

Just before 11, there was a great conspiracy involving all the trams on Colins Street. They’ve all decided to be simultaneously late, and mysteriously unavailable.

With little more than 5 dollars in her wallet, Nadia decides to hop in a taxi.

Now this is where Nadia makes Colossal Mistake Number One. Pay attention now, you ready?

With full confidence and near perfect enunciation, she tells the taxi driver to go to the corner of Colins and Spence Streets*. Which is the wrong street altogether. Which is, coincidentally, the other side of town.

—–

At the corner of Colins and Spence I asked the taxi driver (Hussein from Egypt, nice guy) where the Relevant Street was. He didn’t know, so we checked the massive Melburn Directory together, and realized it was on the other side of the map. Did you know, it takes a lot of time to get from one side of the city to the other? Well it does, you’ll have to take my word for it. Of course all the traffic lights were red and all the other cars on the road were being stupid, all involved in the Great Conspiracy Against Nadia. But Hussein gave me a pep talk for my interview, and wrote an Arabic word on both my palms, ‘to give me calm and courage’. He drove me to the other side of town, without any charge. Then he wished me luck, and I was relatively calmer, but I was already 8 minutes late.

I walked in the interview room, hair frazzled, panting, trying to smile but more possibly squirming, oh gawd oh gawd four pairs of eyes staring at me.

I apologized for being late, in the most charming way I could muster, while the butterflies in my stomach made babies and multiplied themselves to a million times infinity.

To their credit, the Panel was nice, and smiled, and told me to catch my breath and “Relax, you’re here now.”

Then the questions began.

—–

For the purposes of Not Jinxing It, I won’t detail the questions or my answers here. Suffice to say I answered most sufficiently, with minor stumbles and mental blanks.

An embarrassing moment came when one of them asked what, in my opinion, was the biggest news story of the day. I had to admit that I hadn’t had the chance to read the news that day. (But a few days ago, blah blah blah).

I was also asked if I’d noticed any positive portrayals of Muslims in the media (we had been talking about negative portrayals earlier). And I said I hadn’t noticed any in the news, but there is a breakthrough television show on the Public Channel called Salaam Corner*. There is an approving smile and nod from the Interviewing Panel… I feel assured that it was the right answer.

(Note: Salaam Corner is a panel format talk show which tries to portrays Muslims as intelligent and with a sense of humour, but in my opinion it tries way too hard.)

One guy in the panel remarked, with a smile, “That’s a terrible show!”

And I said something along the lines that I agree, the idea was good, but the execution could’ve been better, but maybe I wasn’t the target audience because I don’t find it funny.

I said all this without realizing that the guy who said it…

is actually a panel member…

on the show.

And his remark was probably meant to be a joke, thinking that I knew who he was.

Soon after I said that, a click went off in my head that I’ve seen him somewhere before. Then my brain just went Owhhh…. SHIT!!

SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT Headdesk, headdesk, headdesk, melt to a puddle and die.

—–

“Minor stumbles”, she says. COLOSSAL DOOMIFYING MISTAKES, she thinks.

When it was over I thanked them for meeting me, they said thanks for coming, and the Representative from Government walked me out, and on the way out I saw the next candidate already waiting outside, in his business suit and business shoes, 15 minutes early, making me look bad, the bastard. In the lift the Government Lady asked what happened, why was I late, and I told her the story and showed her my hands. She laughed and was sympathetic. Then we shook hands, said goodbye, and she said I would get a call within the next two weeks if successful or not.

It wasn’t until I was already at a safe distance awaaaay from the building that I realized: I didn’t even remember to show them my articles that I’d printed earlier.

And it took a Japanese lunch with Chris, Chris and Linda, and another couple of days of junk food, bubbles and muzak, before I could even mention the interview without physically going Headdesk, headdesk.

—–

Oh well.

And now, I guess we wait. Whatever happens, happens, and I tried my best under the circumstances. It would be awesome if I get this internship, but if not, I will try not to be completely devastated. Also, if I do get it, I think I will take out an ad in the local paper thanking Hussein from Egypt, who drove me across town for free, and wrote Arabic words on my hands, to give me calm and courage.

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Entry filed under: work.

Uncharted territory. A visitor!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. aie  |  9 June, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    u know what.. if you write to the editor of whatever local paper thanking Hussein, u will have your own piece in positive potrayal of Muslims. 🙂

    to be honest, i neva watched salaam corner.

    hmm.. now we wait eh.

  • 2. lollies  |  10 June, 2008 at 2:49 am

    I thought these kind of things only happen to me. 😀

    i don’t knowlah..i think with your honesty (i hope they think you are opinionated (macamana nak spell ni?) bot that you are ignorant of that man), they might take you to improve the salam corner. he he

    sakit lagi tak jatuh?

  • 3. elisa  |  12 June, 2008 at 2:07 am

    oh my god this was so funny!

    I think the interviewer would appreciate your frankness. Kalau you cakap best show tu akrang, dia ingat brown-nosing lak.

    All the best!

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