A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose?
They’re both appealing for different reasons, but either way, it provides some kind of notoriety, and at the end of the day, I’m still a published author. So fuck it, let’s go for a popular author. Millions of readers equals millions of dollars… right?
Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?
I remember once I was working as a temp. I was brought in initially for an interview with a particular organisation, and made it through three rounds of interviews, and then in the final round, two of the final four applicants were offered position.
…I was not one of them.
I had anticipated that I would have gotten the job given that I had gone through several interviews, and had managed to already develop a great rapport with all the different people that were part of the interview panels. Naturally, when I was informed that I’d missed out, I was upset.
The silver lining, however, was that a day or two later, my temp agency called offering me a 6-week contract… with, guess who… the same company that I’d just interviewed for. They said that although they couldn’t offer me a permanent role, they wanted to offer me one of their 6-week temp contracts.
I arrived on the Monday and reported for duty… and so did 7 others. We were all being brought on for 6-week contracts, and were working as a team in the company’s records department. They were being audited, and despite being warned about the implications of non-compliance with any of their filing at their last audit, I guess they panicked from leaving anything until, quite literally, the last minute.
And there were thousands of these files. We had a team meeting with a couple of the actual staff who were supervising the project, and explained why we were there, what needed to be achieved, and how we needed to go about doing so. We were split into two teams of 5, each team had a team leader, and we were each allocated a specific section of folders to complete within the week.
Admittedly, majority of the time was spent actually reading the contents of the folders to ascertain the order of all the papers, and then breaks were usually spent together gossiping about the contents of some of the files, and who had seen the worst – in an attempt to one-up each other.
After the first week, three people didn’t come back.
After the second week, another two didn’t come back, but they brought two newbies.
Two days later, the newbies were gone, along with another person from our team.
In the third week, the remaining 4 of us were called in to have individual progress meetings with one of the managers. Me, being the nosey inquisitive person that I was, was asking all the questions that I shouldn’t be asking. Why had they waited two years to get their files sorted? Why did they decide to wait until literally the last minute to get it fixed.
She glared at me with that kind of HOW DARE YOU look, and I gulped quite loudly and there was a very long and uncomfortable silence. She stood up, closed the door and closed the blinds in her office and I started to freak out.
I instantly wanted to just dive out of the chair and run out the door and never come back. But I was too scared that she’d secretly locked the door preventing my escape. Or maybe I could just jump out of the glass window with absolutely no regard whatsoever for the fact that I was on the third floor of the building and would more than likely kill myself from the fall. I wanted the ground to just open up and swallow me, because whatever was coming was going to be much, much worse….
She sat down, put her glasses on the desk, tilted her head slightly and just looked at me. ‘You’re a lot different to the others, aren’t you?!’
‘You know, I heard all about you. I know about you…’
‘I know that you made it to the final round of interviews. I know that you scored quite well on the personality tests. I know that you somehow managed to get along really well with most of the people from the panel. I know that you impressed a lot of people…
‘But I couldn’t work out why they didn’t hire you, if they liked you so much. You’re young and intelligent, and you’re not afraid to speak up…’
By this stage I could feel myself getting really sweaty. I could already feel that I had a giant wet patch on my back and could feel it running down my back into my butt crack. Crack sweat. Fucking. Awesome. Grrr.
She then proceeded to tell me quite a lot of confidential information about the ins and outs of the company. The politics. The money. Management. All this information that I really shouldn’t be hearing. She informed me that our 6-week ‘contracts’ were all about to be terminated prematurely, because they got the audit date wrong. It was actually 2 weeks earlier than they had told us. It was next week.
I felt relieved somewhat that she had actually given me the courtesy to let me know in advance, and said that for some reason, they weren’t planning on telling the agency, otherwise the agency could charge them extra fees. She didn’t want me to be without work for two weeks due to their mistake, so she suggested I contact the agency and tell them that I was only interested in staying for one more week.
…hang on. WHAT?!?
Here I am practically wetting myself thinking I’m about to get my arse handed to me, and you’re actually asking me to do your dirty work for you? Oh helllllll no.
Bitch, you picked the wrong person. THE WRONG PERSON.
I finished the meeting, and walked out. The other three were all looking at me, and knew something had happened because I stormed out of there with fire practically pouring out of my nostrils.
If they were going to make us finish up early, then I was going to make it worth my damn while. That day, and for the rest of the week, and the following week, I did as much overtime as I possibly could. My days went from being 9am – 5pm to 7am – 9pm instead, and given that I was on temp rates, I was raking in the cash. There was sooooo much work that needed to be completed, and I was determined to make sure that I at least did what I was brought in to do – finish my workload by the time that we all got given the boot.
The last week arrived and on the last day, we were only maybe half-way through all the files. That was probably because all the other temps were fucking retards who took an hour to get through maybe two files, maybe, whereas I was able to get through maybe four or 5. I powered through all my files, because I wanted to make a good impression. The others saw it as a budge job; easy money; and were turning up late, sometimes taking two-hour lunches so they could go shopping etc. I really was surprised the other three lasted as long as they did.
So we get rounded up into a meeting, and we’re told that today was the last day, and our contracts were being cut short, and they weren’t going to pay us out. One of the ladies in the team threw a hissy fit and stormed out.
To cut the awkward silence following Miss-Thing’s storm out, we were told that one of us would be kept on for a 6-month position, working exclusively with the records for the audit. They had managed to pay off somebody negotiate an extension on their audit and settled on a time frame of six months. One of the three of us would be given the opportunity to interview for the role if we were interested.
One of the others politely declined, as he had already lined up another temp job that was guaranteed. It was down to myself and another lady.
The interviews were going to be today.
In 15 minutes.
Oh sweet baby jesus.
I went and peed, fixed my hair (wha-what!) and came back upstairs. I waited nervously for the other lady to return as well – she was going to be interviewed first. I really should have gotten back to work, but I was just too nervous. I wanted this. I needed this. If anything, they owed me this role.
Her interview went for quite some time… or maybe it actually didn’t. What felt like a hour was probably really only like twenty minutes or something. It was one of those moments that you see in the movies, where you stare at a clock and the hands just slow down that much before stopping completely… and then ticking backwards.
She walked out, wished me luck, and said I could go in.
I was in there for almost 45mins. I felt so confident. The three people interviewing were the three people I really got along with the best… including that manager who (possibly) locked me in the office with her and gave me crack sweat.
They praised me so much… ‘you’ve done such an incredible job… you made it to the final round for our previous interview panel… you’ve made such a great impression… everybody really enjoys your company… we’ve been so impressed with what progress you’ve made here compared to the others…’
It couldn’t have gone any better.
They said that we’d be told by the end of the day.
I walked out of there on cloud nine. I felt like it wasn’t even worth interviewing for – they should have just given me the job right then and there. THe whole afternoon I was beaming from ear to ear.
Filled with this complete sense of achievement that finally, after so much fucking drama; after being messed around with multiple interviews; after having to deal with fucktard temps who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag… finally I was going to get a damn job here and rock this bitch.
4:30pm came around… nothing.
4:45pm came and went.
5:00pm – I saw some of the managers leave the office and go home… Hmmmm… Maybe I’ll get a call on Monday?
5:10pm. I get a phone call from the temp agency.
…I didn’t get the job.
They then told me that I had until 6:00pm to finish on whatever file I was doing, fill out some paperwork, pack my stuff, and leave my swipe card with security on my way out.
I couldn’t believe it. How did this… I mean… I just… *sigh*. I thought everything was going great? Clearly, I was so completely wrong.
As I was walking through the foyer to the security desk to hand in my swipe card, one of the Execs and a Senior Manager both stopped me to personally thank me for all the hard work I’d put in. The Exec said he had heard so much great news about me from the Senior Manager (who was on four of my five interviews), and they seemed to be just as surprised as I was that I didn’t get in. They said that if any roles opened up in the future they would call me, because they were that impressed with me.
…I know they were just being polite, and I shook their hands, thanked them for the opportunity and walked out the door back to my life of uncertainty.
SIDENOTE: A couple of months later, I was about 6 or 7 weeks into a permanent job I’d landed when one of the Execs called me personally offering me a role within the organisation. It was a guaranteed 9-month maternity leave position, with a much higher salary than what I was on now, but I’d already signed a contract where I was. I couldn’t leave. Had I known that I had a chance to terminate my contract mutually, I would have been out of there in a heartbeat, but little did I know, that my recently acquired job was going to take me on the journey that it did…