Hello and happy Thursday. Are we enjoying these weekly story time sessions? I hope you are because I certainly am. There’s just something about sharing personal experiences with complete strangers that makes me happy. Today’s story is one of those that gets funny with time, you know? Like, the day that it happened I was so upset I actually wrote this note on Tumblr (back when Tumblr was a thing), and then I just kept the story to be told when convenient. Today I’ll tell you about a horrible job interview I went to when I was starting out my career. Let’s get started, shall we?
The year was 2015 and the month was December. I had already finished my subjects in university, but had to wait until March to graduate, so I was basically destined to fall into a black hole for three months if I couldn’t land a job. Needless to say, I was desperate. While I was spending my last days as a student teacher at this super fancy school in Bogota, I got a call from a preschool center I’d never heard about. A lady told me I’d been recommended by one of my friends from university and whether I was interested on interviewing with them. I thought that was a sign from heaven. I thought, “well, this was easy.” Obviously I was convinced I’d pretty much landed the job and didn’t have to worry anymore. I was horribly wrong.
I believe in signs, and I often connect this signs, especially after something bad happens. This post is called “interview from hell,” so you already know something bad must’ve happened. Wow. I’ve just repeated myself a million times. Anyway, looking back at that day, I should’ve probably seen the signs even before reaching the place of the interview. It wasn’t, I was told on the phone, the place where I was going to work, but another location of the same “chain” of preschool centers. I saw the address and was convinced I could take a bus and then walk to the place. It wasn’t that far from my house. I’d be fine.
I kid you not, I walked in circles for a long time before giving up and miraculously finding a taxi driver that reached the place in a matter of one minute. I was kind of late by this point, so I had to call and apologize, which, again, is now a clear sign to me that there was something that didn’t want me in that place.
The enterprise basically consists of “corporate preschools,” meaning preschool centers located near big companies so that the workers can leave their children there for the day. The location where I had my interview was not a friendly place at all. There were locked doors and biometric recognition devices everywhere. It seemed like the opposite of a place where you’d like your kids to spend the day.
I was told to sit in this tiny room, and wasn’t even offered a glass of water even though I clearly could’ve used one or eight. The psychologist that led me to the room gave me a pencil and a sheet of paper and told me to draw a human body “with all the features,” and then she left me to draw. Now, I know there’s a purpose behind all these tests, and I’m sure my drawing could’ve told the woman a thing or two about me, but really? I had no idea whether I had to draw the person naked or clothed…
When the psychologist came back, I was asked the obvious questions about my family, where I saw my self five years from then and stuff like that, which tells people they’re not talking to a complete psychopath. By then nothing had been said yet about my position. Those questions came later, when I was led to another room with this woman who right off the bad struck me as plain rude.
Her face told me she would rather be sticking crayons up her nose than interviewing me at that moment. Her way of speaking was so dry and harsh, as if she’d been forced to see me. I can read people very easily. That’s part of my job, basically. I need to be able to look at one of my students and determined whether they’re upset, sick, or just annoyed at something. This woman was all those combined.
Besides her bad attitude, this was an interview from hell because I started realizing I’d pretty much been lied to in the phone call. I’d been told I was needed to work at this building really close to my house, when they actually needed me in an area of the city that wasn’t easy to reach. I’m an anxious person. I need structure, which means I need to know for sure where my workplace is because I need to plan how to get there, and what time to leave my house, and all of the other things that derive from this. I took a deep breath, and told myself I’d remake all those plans later.
I’d been originally told that my schedule would be from 9 to 5. Not bad at all, right? Well, turns out it was from nine to six. No. Not going to happen. Six is night time for me, and I wasn’t going to take a bus in a neighborhood I knew nothing about, every night. Besides that, I wasn’t provided lunch because, seriously? Did I really think that could be a possibility? Besides, let me tell you something fun: work schedules of over eight hours a day are illegal unless the employees get paid the extra hour. I was barely going to get a salary, let alone extra hours.
“See, the problem with you teachers, ” the woman said when we were almost done and I was sure they would never hear from me again, “is that you’re used to getting to school at seven and leaving at four, when the kids leave, and that’s not how things work here.” I was there to be an English teacher, but when the kids weren’t there, I was supposed to do other things, like teach the other staff members. But that wasn’t all bad, really. You want to know what was? If I were to take that job, I was to have fifteen days of vacation a year, as opposed to the two months I was used to. I’m starting to feel sick just as I think about that, because really? You want us to work an hour more that what’s legal and get two weeks of vacation each year? Good luck finding someone.
Next week I’ll tell you about another interview from hell experience, but in the meantime, care to share yours in the comments?
Love, Miss Camila