Love in an Elevator

Job Agencies Part III

It’s a good thing I didn’t go to more than three job agencies since I don’t know Roman Numerals past three.

Yesterday I had an appointment with the local agency only 15 minutes away from my house so I didn’t have to get ready as early. I did pick a different shirt and a different necklace this time. Mix it up a little!

The only part I worried about was parking. It’s located in the old part of town, which means limited parking options. I haven’t parallel parked since my driving test back in 1991. To say I’m rusty is an understatement. So I leave about 45 minutes early.

I’m there in 15 minutes, which also gets me to the office a half an hour early. That is way too early for me! But that’s okay since I still need to find the office. First: Parking.

Even though parking is free, there are time limits. On the street it’s an hour and on some side streets, 30 minutes. I’m already 30 minutes early and I have no idea how long it will take so I find a three hour parking lot and park there. Of course I still need to walk and find the place.

Luckily, it’s a mild day (like 45 degrees…a heatwave!) so I’m not walking around the town freezing my ass off. I hold up my phone and use the “walking” option of my GPS. I follow where it tells me but I can’t find it anywhere. I pass a fire station (where I’m paranoid the trucks are going to come screaming out, sirens flashing and run me over) and pass detentions centers, sheriff’s offices and all kinds of fun places and then back to where my car is parked. Yikes. I’ve now walked in a circle. Great. I can even get lost walking!

I try again. I feel like the people smoking on the corner have already seen me once before and are now laughing at me. Where is Andy Griffith when you need him? I would even take Barney at this point. I look at my phone and start walking again. If I had a map, I could get in it, but I only have a phone and stepping on it might break it. I finally decide maybe I need to cross a road. Yes, now I’m thinking outside the box! Go me!

I cross the road and start paying attention to the addresses since my GPS swears I’m right there. There’s just no signs with the agencies name on it. I finally find the correct street address but the only signs are for a credit counseling service and a campaign headquarters. Since I’m desperate at this point (yet still early), I open the door. It creaks open to this huge space that leads to a tall staircase and I realize it’s an old historical building that was probably once a spacious townhouse, but is now offices. The suite number I need starts with a three, so I have to walk up three stories. In one day, I go from elevator’s to old creaking staircases. The railings are short because apparently people used to be shorter and it takes getting used to.

After all the walking I did around town and after climbing up three sets of steps, I’m out of breath by the time I find the office. At least I got a workout in! The office is small, just the one desk and there’s a lady sitting there. She stands up and introduces herself then closes the door, putting a “do not disturb” sign on it.

We exchange small talk–I amuse her with stories of how lost I got (always good times), and then she hands me a folder of paperwork to fill out. She goes back to her desk and I tackle the application. I can’t help but think of my last two interviews. The first one had everything on a computer and the second had me fill out an application at home and didn’t even take it. This one is all by hand, which is fine, because the office is quiet and cozy and l feel less stress than I did at any of the other places.

Finally the paperwork is done and she comes over to my table and starts talking. It’s a full fledged interview, where she asks my strengths and weaknesses, although she doesn’t ask me where I see myself in five years, because that’s always a hard question for me. I don’t see myself past 2:00 this afternoon! (Other than wine. I will be drinking wine!)

After the initial interview is over, she starts talking to me about job options. She’s honest about the limited opportunities in this small town. Too many people wanting to work locally and not enough jobs to go around. I knew that walking in so I’m not discouraged. Then she starts giving me job hunting advice. She’d been out of work for three months before her current job and knows what it’s like.
 
It’s weird because I suddenly feel like she really sees me as a person and not just a potential employee. She sees a person who got laid off from a job and feels a little insecure and down. Her advice is so good, I start writing it down because even though some of it I’d read about, it was different hearing it from someone who had actual experience. Her sympathy makes me feel emotional for the first time since starting this tour of agencies. Maybe it’s part of her job, but I don’t think so. Her job is to place me for her clients and not to help me find a job with another company.

She had one opening to run by me but immediately I know it’s not for me. The first four lines dealt with talking to people on the phone and selling them stuff and telephones are my kryptonite. You know how they say that when looking at a food label the first three ingredients shows what the product contains the most of? It’s true of jobs too. The first three or four things are what you’ll be doing the most. I tell her I will consider it because I can’t say no, but even if I could, I do like to think about things first anyway. I’m a thinker. I like to pose like the thinker too.

As I’m leaving she tells me there’s an elevator I can use, but honestly, I’m kind of scared the elevator is almost as old as the building. Once a week on an elevator is enough! I think Aerosmith exaggerated the appeal of elevators.

As I make my way down the steps, there are women taking a tour and for the first time I see there are plaques on the wall showing the history of the building. I wish I can stop and read them but the ladies are there and I don’t feel like talking anymore. I can only talk so many hours a day. I’m tired. (See! This is why a sales job would never work for me).

On the way home I consider just interviewing with that job anyway, but decide not to. I’ve done telephone work a few times in my 20’s, and I never got comfortable with it, no matter how long I tried it. I don’t think that’s changed in my late 30’s. (Shut up! I know I’ll be 40 in 13 days, but I’m stretching out my late 30’s as long as I can!)

I email her thanking her for talking to me and letting her know how much I enjoyed meeting her and how I didn’t think I would represent them very well if I interviewed for that job. She thanked me for getting back to her and said she’d consider me for other opportunities.

After all I went though this week, I still don’t have a job. But all hope is not lost! I did get an email from another company (not an employment agency) altogether. They asked me to send them my resume to be considered for a temporary position. The location really sucks though. It’s not the worse place I could work like DC or in an elevator, but it’s up there. I’m going to pursue it anyway because the job sounds kind of cool and it’s temporary so I’ll be able to take other positions if they come up.

That’s my employment agency experiences this week. I hope you learned something. Like Melly has a really weird phobia about elevators. And shares way too any details.

Until next time!

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