I’m not someone that gets embarrassed very often. Not that I don’t do embarrassing things. I do embarrassing things 24 hours a day. But due to the frequency of my daily personal failings, I’ve learned how to own it.
If someone were to ask me, “What was the most embarrassing moment of your life?” it’d take me less than a second to respond. “Easy! My interview from Hades with a visit from Poseidon.” But before I dive into the story, I must preface with some pertinent details of my life that lead me to these 45 minutes of absolute horror and humiliation.
Fun Fact #1
I come from a lineage of beings that specialize in the over production of fluids that secrete from the sweat glands. What I’m saying is, in one hour my family can produce more liquid than a village of Shamans after a 72 hour ritual in a sweat lodge. In other words, we never experienced California’s four year drought as we produced enough perspiration to water our own plants. I am not exaggerating. If another great flood were to miraculously take over the earth, we’d gladly give up our spot on Noah’s Ark, as our natural ability to adapt to water would undoubtedly lead to survival.
Fun Fact #2
I’m an asthmatic with claustrophobic tendencies. I’m not sure if it’s a cause and effect type situation or a “who came first, the chicken or the egg” situation…but they most definitely rely on one another. When I can’t breathe, I have panics of claustrophobia. When I’m stuck in small spaces with minimal air flow, I become claustrophobic and immediately can’t breathe. It’s a really incredible tag team of weaknesses I hold dear to my heart.
Fun Fact #3
I was never trained in the art of mastering the 10th century Chinese foot binding techniques that our American culture refers to as “the high heel”. Learning how to walk with my feet jammed into stiff pointed casings, while balancing on a thin peg at a diagonal incline, was never part of my daily routine as I developed into adulthood. Walking in high heels is as easy as bouncing on a pogo stick with no hands. I’m not sure what sadistic prick invented these contraptions, but if it were up to me…”OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!”
So, now that I’ve unveiled my top three character flaws, it’s time for me to share with you what I deem the epitome of embarrassment.
Here’s the story:
After I abandoned my beautiful life in San Francisco as a result of a severe quarter-life crisis that has yet to kick the bucket two and a half years after my move, I found myself back under the roof of my parent’s house. I was 25 years old, unemployed, and savoring the last $800 of my returned security deposit. Naturally, I began my job hunt applying for hundreds of positions a day with a background in waitressing, a five year degree in a subject no one gives a shit about, and a six month stint at a law firm where I had to file a harassment complaint against my own HR department and where I learned that just because a man isn’t wearing a wedding ring, doesn’t mean he’s not engaged. I was off to an incredible start dodging bullets while face planting through my first year in the corporate world.
After weeks of silence, I finally got an email inviting me in for an interview. This was one of those positions that was posted online by a recruiting agency on behalf of the employer. As usual, the agency wasn’t able to reveal the company name, but they were able to reveal some captivating details about the company brand.
Established and well-known company producing luxury products to high-end department stores across the United States and France is in need of a full-time Executive Assistant to the CEO for their beautiful corporate office located in Newport Beach. The company is the leading jewelry producer for top retail brands in Paris and the U.S., with clientele including but not limited to Bloomingdale’s, Barneys New York, and Nordstrom. The company prides itself on exceptional customer service and a stellar reputation in the fashion industry!
This seemed great for obvious reasons:
- I’m a chick so “naturally” I’m bred to love jewelry and fashion.
- I’ll never be rich enough to actually travel to Paris…but working for a company that retails in Paris is basically the same thing – right?
- I’m totally qualified to be an Executive Assistant given my obsessive compulsive organizational skills and annoying sense of perfectionism.
- And lastly, who wouldn’t want to work in beeeeauutifulll Newport Beach?!
I put on my favorite black chiffon dress I bought for $12 in the “professional” section at H&M and paired it with black Steve Madden pumps that a saleswoman pressured me to buy at Nordstrom. I knew those poor heels would never see the light of day more than once a year, but somehow I managed to keel over to the impeccably talented commission-based, minimum wage, con-artist.
I was out the door determined to dominate this interview and already imagining how great I’d look sporting fat diamond earrings along with a Beret, while casually snacking on a three foot long baguette, and tossing out “Bonjour” like it ain’t no thang.
I arrived to the interview hobbling my way through the lobby, up the elevator, and down the hall to the office. I only had to wait a couple minutes in reception until I was greeted by the recruiter. The woman shook my hand and asked me to follow her down the hall to the interview room. She was like a bat out of hell in comparison to my pathetic sloth-like steps as I tried to maneuver with two torture devices attached to my feet. I finally made it to the room and stood under the door frame while I stared into my worst nightmare. The room was all white, had no windows, and was the size of a walk-in closet. If my bug eyes weren’t enough of a warning sign as to how I felt about being in that room, the upcoming tidal wave of sweat was sure to get the message across.
She closed the door behind her and the claustrophobia set in. I tried to stay focused but my brain kept pondering how I’d escape the room in case of an emergency. I suddenly felt as if I were sitting in a sauna and had a noose wrapped around my neck cutting off airflow to my lungs. I knew I was psyching myself out and allowing myself to be sucked into a hole of paranoia. I just needed to focus on the interview, get my mind away from the room, and think about this incredible job opportunity that could potentially land me an artistic Parisian husband that paints me naked while I eat brie cheese on our balcony every Sunday morning.
Beads of sweat began forming below my hair line and above my upper lip. As I lifted my arm to wipe away the sweat, I noticed a thick layer of perspiration coating the surface where my arms had been resting on the table. The more I became aware of my uncontrollable sweat attack, the more I began to panic that she was noticing as well.
*FOCUS! JUST FOCUS!*
I quickly snapped back into reality the moment I heard the recruiter say the word “airplane”. I shifted gears back to the interview and finally began to listen to what she was actually saying.
“This company is amazing! They’ve been in the window business for over 35 years and they offer incredible benefits and growth for their employees. Their clientele consists of American Airlines, Southwest, Jetblue and…”
I immediately cut her off and said, “Wait, what are you talking about? This job is for airplane windows?!”
She replied, “Yes! They are such a great company! On Fridays they wear Hawaiian shirts and jeans, and the office is in Anaheim right next to Disneyland!”
Here I am, drenched in sweat while suffocating in a closet, and now I’m finding out I’ve been duped by a fucking recruiter. There are two things in this world I hate more than high heels- Disneyland and airplanes. Yet here I am, interviewing for a position with a company that produces a product for my most despised method of transportation. Airplanes equal claustrophobia and death, which is basically my same logic behind Disneyland, with the added bonus of double-decker stroller mobs to the infinite degree and creepy underground Disney cults.
She finally looked at me with deep concern and said, “Are you okay? Are you sick? I know it’s a bit hot in here. Let me open the door.”
I responded, “Ya, I’m good. I just tend to sweat in small rooms with temperatures approaching the 90s.”
She continued to blabber on about the bullshit airplane job while I sat there sitting in a pool of wetness. Beads of liquid dripped off my face, my arms were sopping wet, and a mass pool of perspiration rested between my thighs and the plastic chair. Bikram Hot Yoga had nothing on this interview room.
At this point, I’d mentally thrown in the towel and sat there like a hot defeated mess while I waited to be released. A few more minutes passed and the interview finally ended. All in all, I caught about 10 minutes of the 45 minute interview, which was enough for me to know this entire experience was one massive waste of my time and bodily fluids.
As I stood up, leaving behind a steaming wet chair, I took one step and tripped in my heels. That unreliable piece of shit peg busted out from beneath me, resulting in my entire body being thrown off balance. I went flyyyyyying to the floor, my right heel three feet behind me, while I landed on a knee barely catching myself from a full-on nose dive to the ground. Could my life be any worse right now?
I grabbed my heel, rushed through an embarrassing goodbye, and ran out of the building as fast as possible. I got into my car and immediately began laughing hysterically about what an absolute mess I am. I drove home, told my mom the entire story, and we sat in the kitchen with tears dripping down our faces as we laughed uncontrollably over the ridiculousness of my life.
The best part is that I actually got called back for a second interview with the airplane company. I respectfully declined.
No Brie cheese? I’m out.