The Prom: The Interview Part One.
My attempt to reinvent myself as a non-lawyer had resulted in a job interview (a.k.a. the “prom” job interview) for a big, real job as a contracts officer. This job interview made me feel like a teenager again (and not in a good, rose-colored glasses kind of way). To give you a visual, I’ll rewind 22 years for you. I was pimply, scared, and very young for my grade. Why, oh why, had my parents let me “skip” a grade when I was younger? I know I was really ahead of the eight ball scholastically, but was so very young socially and was so very far from being the “popular” girl (you know, the girls that we grown women now still dislike so much and avoid like the Plague). I felt so alone in a sea of “prom” queens (does the movie “Mean Girls,” or John Hughes’ "Pretty in Pink," “Breakfast Club,” and “Sixteen Candles” for my generation, give you better perspective?). Prom was coming up in a nanosecond, I had absolutely no date. Shoot, I did not even have anything resembling a date. No one even approached me to say “hi” unless I was standing next to one of my best friends who happened to be one of the cutest, most popular girls (note, no pimples, adorable hair, skinny [hate that I cared, but I did], excellent clothes, and, of course, smart). I never got an invitation to the prom. With hindsight, I now know that I probably had a better time going out with my oldest sister, Alex, who let me have a beer and made me feel cool at least for that night. But hindsight is just that, and I felt pretty darned sad and alone on that prom night.
Fast forward 22 years. I felt that I finally got invited to the prom. That is, I got an invitation to interview for the contracts officer job after almost a year of fruitless, really frustrating job searching. So, I scheduled the “prom” job interview. A few days later, I received a confirming phone call from the H.R. rep., who asked me to arrive 15 minutes early to the interview “to prepare”. “To prepare,” I wondered. To prepare for what? Then, the H.R. rep advised that I would need to review a list of questions for 15 minutes (officially timed) before the panelists (yes, in the plural) would proceed with my interview. She also said that she would be the “moderator” in the panel interview and would be presenting the questions while I responded directly to the panelists. Holy moly. How did I get myself into this mess? I suddenly got the familiar sick stomach feeling I had gotten so long ago while participating in moot court competitions during law school. Gosh, I just wanted to make a little money to add something to our savings account, and get a Starbucks coffee (maybe even a venti) every so often without feeling guilty (note to self…. fight against the Starbucks’ urge that is far too engrained in our existence these days, whether you see that green and white sign screaming out to you on the way to school or work, at the airport while waiting for a flight, or at the gas station while filling your tank). The “prom” job interview began to make me panic.