it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

let me set the scene, if i may, on a rather amusing episode of my mundane life. now this isn't the sort of event that would win awards or move mountains, more just the kind of anecdote that slips nicely into a blog and amuses but for a moment.

monday morning sometimes before noon: "umm excuse me, excuse me, yes i am looking for a *****, do you know *****"."ummm well that girl over there is named tara but i don't know her last name, maybe that's her". my ears cocked, do i run or wait this out. i only have a second to react and i am not fast enough, the woman is looking me smack in the eye. "yes i am tara, what can i do for you?" "well you see", she says, "the university is holding interviews in an attempt to better understand how new hires experience the university in the beginning"."oh", i mutter flatly. "yes, we randomly chose new employees and your name came out, we will need you to meet with two of our task force members on tuesday at 3, can you make it?" well i want to say no, so badly, i mean this is gonna suck huge isn't it? but i can't cause i open mail for a living, it can wait, and i have no alternate excuse, no doctors appointment nor vet emergency. just me and an hour with two strangers that are going to talk to me about something, but who knows what. gulp.

tuesday sometime in the vicinity of 3. "come in come in", two older women, grey hair, some sort of flannel jumpsuit and cardigan, a green corduroy bibbed dress. the room small, cramped even with a round table and three completely unadorned chairs, the walls white, stark and empty. "please have a seat", she gently reaches over and pulls the chair away from the table. "thank you for coming in today"....looks down at sheet slowly, pauses..."tara". "ummmm yeah no problem, thanks for umm having me". "so i guess you know why we have brought you in here today?" "well no not really...should i?" "oh maybe not!" (both of then chuckle silently). "we just want to find out, you know, what you "think" about ubc so far". mental note, do i start calling these women bob and bob? do i break out the 15 solid minutes speech? i looked around to make sure there are no hidden cameras, no mirrored wall making a mockery of my intelligence. there were none to be found and so i carried on. first question down the pipe is "descibe to us your "orientation" at ubc?" i pause for what seems like eternity, i am grasping for the answer, a clue...it ain't happening. "huh?" "you know training, how was your training". once again, i open mail for a living, it was pretty much here is your desk, here is the mail, good luck, but i don't think this answer will do. "ummm well i didn't really have any formal training", i stutter. silence. her head tilts ever so slightly to the side now and the other interrogater does the same, their gaze empty and meaningless. i can tell they need something from me and i start to feel bad i don't have it. "well ummmm did anyone show you around the office, you know introduce you to people?" my head perks up, "yes! yes! indeed someone did do that....why? is that training?" "well you could say that's a form of training" she exclaims. the other one sits back all proud and says, "it's something, we need something and that's it". come on..i look again for the cameras. did you guys say you are assistant registrars? that means you are getting what? 30-40 bucks an hour to sit here with me? nice.

"what didn't you like about your orientation?" by now i am anticipating just such a question and so i know i can't lose. "i wish that someone had explained just what it is our office does, i have been here 6 months and i am still not 100% sure". "i think i would have liked it better if i understood how my piece fit in with the puzzle". "indeed!" they almost shout in unison, "that is a very valid point". i am feeling pretty good now, maybe even on a roll. next question throws me though. "is there anything else you would like to add to this?" damn. double damn. i should have seen this coming. i didn't. maybe now would be a good time for the 15 minute speech. nah too much work, leave it. "no, i think that is all".

after that comes a series of questions related to what i would and would not consider "essential" in an effective training program. they ask would it be good to have a social lunch for newcomers to "get to know each other" and she hadn't even finished the question before i blurted out in a grotesque kind of way "NO!" "so you would say you feel strongly about that then?" much softer now, definately all lower case, "well not that strongly, i guess i just don't like forced social situations is all". "what about a video would that be helpful?" "well i guess but what would the video be about?" they both pause.."interesting" the older one says, "i had never really thought that far". "well if it was something, you know, useful then i guess it would be good". jesus am i really this dumb? yikes. and the questions continue on in this vain. their pens were writing furiously but i don't know what about, i seemed to not be saying anything just sitting there waiting for them to stop writing. probably not a good sign. so then they come out with it again..."do you have anything to add?" i decide that now is the time to break out the comedy, you know, really give it to them tara style. "well i could have used a little more role playing" comes rolling out of my grinning lips. they both look interested and quickly write ROLE PLAY in big bold letters on their page, "which type?" they enquire "oh no, i am sorry i was just kidding". big bold crosses through the letters and simultaneous sighs. "oh" they say, flatly, uneffected. tough crowd..

eventually they look at me and say "well...tara...that is all, thanks again for taking the time" and she looks at her watch, making it ok for me to look at mine. "no problem" is what i manage to get out before seeing the time, "oh! that was only 12 minutes?, sorry i didn't have an hours worth to give you". "oh don't worry about it" they say, "we hate doing these things and are just as glad to have it over with, enjoy the rest of your day". "ummm yeah you too".


Kathy said...

Hey Tara, it's Kathy from the message board. I clicked on your blog just now and I was cracking up over your "interview". When I got to the "Bob and Bob" part I laughed out loud and read it to Ken, he smiled and nodded, knowing exactly what it was. I kept waiting for you to say the ladies asked you if you liked Michael Bolton. ;-) Hope all is well.

nicole said...

this man is seriously contemplating a gun.

nicole said...

my favorite part is when you blurt out a grotesque 'NO' in response to their idea of a social lunch - classic! i love it! who would actually want to do that? i think i would prefer eating worms.