“Of course life is bizarre, the more bizarre it gets, the more interesting it is. The only way to approach it is to make yourself some popcorn and enjoy the show” – David Gerrold
Okay, before I get to the main point, the part where I got hired for a job I never intended to have, I have to start at the beginning of what turned out to be one of the most bizarre days of my life so far. That day, by the way, was yesterday.
There I was, standing at the bus stop waiting for public transport to arrive. With me was an unknown woman with two small children of which the eldest was two years old. After waiting for a good ten minutes, an elderly woman approached us and gently tells us the bus won’t stop at this particular stop, due to road works further up ahead. Instead, she told us, we would have to walk back a few minutes to another stop and catch the bus there.
After listening to this well-meant advice a few times too many (what is up with old people constantly repeating themselves? We could actually have caught the bus if she’d have let us leave!), I convinced the slightly grumpy mother-of-two the old woman was actually right, and we started to walk to the “working” bus stop, so to speak.
It turned out that not only did the elderly woman have a problem with being silent, but the young mother had a problem with listening (great combination, if you ask me – not!). She started to freak out a bit, probably because she had to be somewhere in time, although I didn’t ask her.
But, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t so weird; I thrive in stressful situations (which only goes to show that when in distress, listen to me. Do NOT ignore my calm tips and hints, you will end up pushing your stroller through high wet grassy fields in order to cross the street I crossed earlier over a zebra crossing).
Of course, we saw the bus. It came, it went, and the bus driver never looked at us twice, even though my involuntary travel companion tried to push her kids in their stroller in front of the bus – thank goodness she chickened out. We were about fifty metres away from the bus stop… Bastard.
But fear not when travelling with me! I seem to have a solution to all (public) transport problems.
While the mother was growing more and more panicked, just like her two-year old son (I suppose the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree), I figured out there was another bus coming in about five minutes. It was a smaller one, operated by volunteers instead of paid bus drivers, and it would only take us about ten minutes longer than usual to get to the train station. So far, so good.
The mini bus was perfectly on time. The stroller fit in the back, there was plenty of room for all of us, the driver was friendly, and… the old woman who told us about the road works was also in that bus. And she was as chatty as before (and positioned right next to me).
Longest bus drive of my life!
In the end, I safely got to the station and for a change everything worked as planned. The trains were not delayed (I’ve never experienced this before! It was so exciting!), and I didn’t get lost finding my way to the address when I got to Tilburg, a city I am not very familiar with.
In fact, everything had gone so smoothly, I was far too early for my noon appointment. So I sat myself down in the waiting area with a nice magazine, and to my surprise I was called in fifteen minutes before time. Turned out the man interviewing me was also a big fan of being on time and as he said it: “I like it when people arrive too early. It’s better than when they are too late. Too late is too bad and bye-bye.”
A little side note here is needed: a day before I was phoned by someone from a recruitment agency who had seem my profile online and thought I’d be a match to this sales-job vacancy. She had sent me a link with several job openings and I had looked through them, seeing “Account Manager” as the fit for her description.
I’m not a big fan of a sales career, but I am desperate for a change and I was curious. According to the link, it was a position in the biggest town near my home town, which to me was a big plus.
The recruitment-agency-lady was not clear enough about who I was going to meet in their headquarters in Tilburg (NOT the biggest town near my home town), but I assumed it would be a typical set of interviews, where I’d first meet someone from their recruitment agency to see if I was a good fit, and later be sent through for a real job interview with someone from the company itself.
I was so, so wrong.
The person calling me into his office yesterday afternoon turned out to be the manager of the company they wanted me to work for, and it was a legit job interview. I was completely unprepared (and a little pissed off), but figured I’d go in and try anyway.
We spent about forty-five minutes in his office, of which thirty minutes were spent by him talking about himself and his career, and not about me and what I could bring to the field.
But that was not the worst part. The worst part came two minutes after I sat down and the manager explained what the job was about: being a door-to-door salesperson.
I wanted to scream! Account manager? Not in the least!
It got worse and worse. I constantly felt that if I did not keep that fake smile plastered all over my face, I’d burst into laughter and insult the manager. Every other sentence he spoke I was reminded I have a poster with Murphy’s Law lying around somewhere (“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”).
So by the time we got to the part where this man asked me: “why should I hire you and not someone else?”, I decided to have some fun with my answer. I looked him (who, apparently, wasn’t thirty-two as I had guessed, on request, before, but twenty-three – Oops!), straight into the eyes and said: “because I am fantastic!”
He laughed, wrote something down, and then started talking about this training day I’d have to go through after which I could start on Monday.
I am not sure how I got home. I am not sure about anything that happened after that meeting, to be honest. It was all so bizarre my mind had a total meltdown. The only thing I could think was: “How did this happen? How did I end up with this job while I had no intention of getting it?”
I had, and still have, no clue. I guess, in a bizarre way, I really am… fantastic!
PS: I called them back today and blew them off with an excuse. Maybe not so nice, but at least now I know I am definitely not meant to be in sales. Period.
PPS: Yes! That picture up there is a screen shot of a part of my CV and yes, it’s in Dutch. I was too lazy to search for my English resume and use that. I am a Dictionary Dutch after all, might as well shower you with some of my stupid language’s words ;)