I’m not big on superstition, but I once held a rabbit’s foot in my pocket while I was taking an important exam.
And by “important exam”, I mean a sixth grade science test, and by “rabbit’s foot”, I mean a picture I ripped out of a magazine of Justin Timberlake. It was earlier that year when I discovered that a “lucky rabbit’s foot” was supposed to be, like, you know… a rabbit’s.. actual… FOOT (ew)… and I was like “What kind of sick person carries around some dead rabbit’s chopped off foot? How does that bring them good luck?“
It doesn’t. When you think about it, the concept IS a little Jeepers Creepers, ya know?
But a picture of Justin Timberlake during his Ramen noodle hair and N’sync days? Yes. That will TOTALLY bring you good luck! Probably. If you write the answers on it somewhere in very small print and only look at it occasionally when the teacher isn’t paying attention. Ya know, for luck.
Of course I wasn’t smart enough to do that. Which is probably why I thought I needed a “lucky charm” to get through a sixth grade level science test in the first place. As long as I had a picture of my fake boyfriend “Justin from N’sync” in my back pocket, I was sure to do well. It was magic, and luck, and the Gods and a higher power – and my crazy little eleven year old brain that legit thought some sort of voodoo could make me a really good guesser – all working together.
Ah, to be eleven and weird again.
I don’t remember how I did on that test. But – to ease your mind – I went on to go to Junior High, and High School, and College, and now I’m a Regional Sales Manager in Chicago, so – however it turned out – I guess not being able to retain information about volcanos and bugs didn’t totally ruin my life.
Thanks, Justin-from-N’sync. Always looking out for me.
When I was fresh out of college and interviewing for a job as a journalist, I did the same thing. I mean, not EXACTLY the same thing – that magazine picture of JT probably got tossed out in the cafeteria garbage along with my retainer – but you know what I mean. This was my first “real” job interview. If it went well, I could be a journalist. I could be a writer. A real writer. Like one who gets paid and stuff. I could chase down stories, interview political figures, maybe this could be my first step to the White House. Maybe one day I’d be reporting from a cave somewhere, searching for a bad guy. Maybe the president would want me on his campaign trail just like he wanted Rory Gilmore at the end of the series Gilmore Girls and my mom would throw me a going away party Stars Hollow style, and I would leave amicably like “Bye guyssss… your little girl is going to be a White House correspondent now….See ya at Thanksgiving…”
Just kidding. Can you see me working at The White House? I’d get assigned some boring story about the stock market and then Google something dumb like “What is the Dow?”
But I wanted to be a journalist. At the time. For like, a hot second. Right after graduation when I thought I might have to be a server for the rest of my life and “why did I go to college?” and “why is no one hiring me?” and “Where is this high paying job I thought I was supposed to get with a college degree?!”
Oh, millennials. We’re the best!
So I applied for this journalist position which I felt that I was SUUUPER qualified for because I had done precisely one internship at a newspaper. In high school. For a summer.
“But, like, I’m really good at writing. Trust me.”
I can’t even back that up. I didn’t even major in Journalism, I majored in Communications and tried to convince people (newspaper people) that it was the same.
It’s not the same.
But I marched into this interview with my clicky-clacky heels, head held high, resume in hand, hair stick straight, and – like – a lot of confidence for someone who doesn’t know much about journalism walking into an interview ABOUT journalism.
“But I worked at a newspaper for three months in high school. I know what I’m doing.”
I had no idea what I was doing.
So the editor doing the interview invited me to into his office, offered me some water, told me to have a seat, and asked me if I’d found the place okay. I told him that it was easy to find (ya know, because journalists are good at research), declined the water, told him that he had a nice office, and asked him how his day was going. Because I was told it can give you an “edge” to make small-talk-y kind of chit-chat before an interview. This is when he finally had a chance to sit down and took a look at me.
Not, like, in a creepy way. Just in a “I’m sitting across from you in an interview” way. After a short pause, he asked – “Would you like to go to the restroom before we get started?”
I thought he was being polite. Granted, I also thought it was kind of presumptuous that he would assume someone whom he’s considering adding on the payroll wouldn’t have enough common sense to use the bathroom before walking to a job interview. But he was kind of older, and looked like he might be someone’s grandpa. So I thought it was just the polite, caregiver, grandpa in him. So I said, “Oh, no thank you. I’m alright.”
“Are you sure?”
Like I’m a child and we’re getting ready to go on a long car ride. I felt myself getting slightly more uncomfortable. Why is he asking if I have to go to the bathroom? Is this normal? Is he being polite? Is this a test, to see if I can like, handle the pressure of sitting in a long interview as a journalist?
No. It wasn’t.
So I reiterated, “I’m fine”, this time a little more forcefully.
He still paused, looking at me kind of weird, and I wondered to myself if this was about to get uncomfortable? Like, creepy uncomfortable? Did I get myself into a sketch situation? The company had a good reputation, so I didn’t understand what was going on.
Finally he said, “Alright. Then let’s get started.”
For those of you getting worried, don’t – this story doesn’t turn out to be creepy.
We talked about normal things. Standard interview questions. My little 3 month internship in high school. He asked me why I majored in Communications if I wanted to be a journalist and I made up some BS about “more opportunities” (in reality, I didn’t care about being a journalist. I just wanted a career. Which is dumb. Journalism is something you go into because you’re passionate, not because you just want something to do.) And then he asked me if I’d like to sit in on their weekly staff meeting that was happening later that afternoon.
“Sure!” I said. “I’d love to!” Because that is what you say when you’re trying to get a job.
So then he ushered me out of his office and down a long hallway and, before he could drop me off in a conference room to wait for the staff meeting, he said “Let me show you where the ladies room is.”
“Oh.” I said again. Great. We’re back on this. Because I really didn’t have to go. And I’m not a big fan of public restrooms anyway. “That’s okay, I’m alright.”
“No, no. It’s right down here.” He insisted.
I was trying to think of a really eloquent way to say, “I’m a grown woman and I don’t have to pee”. So instead, I came up with, “No, really. I’m fine.”
Seriously. I thought. What’s going on? Why does this dude think I have to use the restroom?
Eventually we stopped in front of the women’s restroom and he said, “Here it is! I’ll wait for you out here, and then we’ll head over to the conference room.”
I stopped. Why is this getting weird? What’s going on? What’s going to happen if I go into that bathroom? Will he really still be here when I get out? What if he tries to follow me in there?
In retrospect – I had two options here: One, I could have said something assertive like, “I’m sorry, but you’re making me a little uncomfortable. I’m telling you that I don’t need to use the restroom and you’re insisting on it. I would like to go to the conference room now.” OR, the second option – the better one, actually – just go to the freaking bathroom. If someone in a professional setting is trying to politely HINT to you that you SHOULD MAYBE THINK ABOUT POSSIBLY going into the restroom – what they’re trying to say is, “Hey, you have something in your teeth/your make-up is messed up/you’re having some sort of wardrobe malfunction. Go look in a mirror.”
“Fine.” I said, since he was being so weird about this. And since we were awkwardly standing outside of the women’s bathroom. “I’ll just be a minute.”
“I’ll wait here.” He promised as I stepped inside. The way he had kept talking about it, I thought it might be a portal to Narnia or something. But it wasn’t. It was just a bathroom. Fluorescent lights, a couple of toilet stalls, sinks, one of those paper towel cranks that never has any paper towels…
And then I finally looked in the mirror.
I know. Are you ready for it? Did you figure it out before I did? Because it took me an entire interview and someone weirdly pushing me to go to the bathroom.
There it was. My lucky, leopard print bra, showing through the cream colored button up shirt that I’d picked out specifically for the interview. Because I thought it looked “reporter-y”.
The shirt. Not the bra. The bra looked a little Greek mixer “CEO and Office Hoes” theme party. The shirt was supposed to cover it up. Which it might have, if we were doing the interview in a pitch black cave somewhere.
But I HAD to wear the bra, because it was my lucky bra. Some people have a lucky pair of socks, or earrings, or a magazine picture of Justin Timberlake – but the last few good things that had happened to me, happened while I was wearing THAT bra. I couldn’t NOT wear it.
But maaaaybe I didn’t need to wear it with that shirt.
I was so embarrassed. How could I go back out there? How had I just gone through an entire interview – for my first “real” job interview – with a wardrobe malfunction? This poor grandpa guy probably thinks I’m trying to hit on him. That I’m trying to sleep with him for a job.
Uh, no. Sorry. I’m not a hooker, I’m just bad at… clothes.
Also, how did I not notice this before I left the house that morning? Was the lighting in my house really THAT bad?
Probably. It was a pretty crappy, college apartment I was living in at the time. But still. Common sense, girl. Don’t worry a pattern print bra with a light colored shirt.
Luckily I had a jacket in my car, which I politely excused myself to retrieve before we entered the staff meeting. And neither of us – myself, or poor grandpa guy – mentioned the bra.
Do you guys have any funny interview stories?! Let’s hear them!