I had my interview this morning. It was basically the job I'd interviewed for back in the summer, same interviewers and everything. It lasted about three minutes - a very good and positive three minutes, it must be said, although it mostly concerned the weather and how much nicer it had been on the previous occasion - before it became apparent that we were talking about a full-time position, 37 hours a week.
I cannot do 37 hours a week. I wish I could but there is no Reasonable Adjustment in the world that would make it possible.
I don't know what happened. I apply for all the part-time admin jobs on the website, but never the full-times because I know I can't do it. Maybe I misread or mis-clicked. Maybe they'd left a part-time designator on the title by mistake. Maybe it was a callback of candidates from the previous (part-time) post in the summer. Who knows. Upshot was, I'd got myself geared up and excited about things and suddenly I was in an interview for a job that I could not possibly manage.
If there is one thing I hate more than "not being able to do things that I want to do because of my disability", it is "having to admit to other people that I cannot do something."
As I explained to the interviewers that I would not be able to do a full-time job and apologised for having wasted their time, all the adrenalin and good-outcome visualisations that had me psyched up and positive and confident for the interview got snarled up in the crushing sensation of having to admit my inadequacies. God knows what my face must have looked like.
The interviewers were being really nice about it, and the nicer they were, the worse it got - I wanted to just shake hands and find a bolt-hole where I could cry for a minute and then recompose myself, but they could see I was disappointed and embarrassed and they were offering me a drink and asking if I was sure I would be okay to get home, because if I had a lift arranged they didn't mind me sticking around for a while, and did I want to call anyone...
Then I tried to stand up, fumbled my walking stick, it fell away from me and I tried to bend down but I couldn't, and one of the interviewers passed it to me, and I just felt smaller and smaller and smaller.
Scuttled into the loo on my way out, had my minute of crying before realising that on autopilot I'd gone into the disabled loo. It is one thing to tie up one of several available stalls in the ladies for a snivel, but quite another to tie up the only accessible toilet for a purpose other than the obvious. So I rushed a half-arsed job of calming myself down, didn't hang about to repair my makeup, and took the lift down to the foyer to call a cab. As I stepped out of the lift, there were the interviewers, coming down the stairs, taking advantage of the unexpected half-hour break, and there was me, blotchy of face and obviously far more upset than any sane person should be over a goddamn admin job. They were nice again, making sure I could call a cab and so on, and I did my best to brazen it out - oh well, hopefully you won't mind me coming back if there's another part-time job here and I haven't embarrassed myself too badly, ho ho ho - but there's only so much bluff a person can pull off when the world can see that the tears have only just stopped rolling, and while they said I absolutely should continue to apply for future part-time jobs, well, what else could they have said?
The problem isn't that I didn't get the job. The problem is that I didn't get the job because of factors beyond my control that I cannot find a way around. I do a pretty good job of convincing myself that despite my illness, I am doing okay at life, and with a few exceptions, I can do anything I put my mind to. The exceptions rankle though, and one of the biggest exceptions is my inability to consistently and reliably function at a high enough level to be able to hold down a full-time job.
Back home and with a cup of tea inside me, I know I probably should have continued with the interview, made them love me, and then tried to persuade them to drop the hours down, but I didn't have it in me.
The best thing about today so far is that last night I had the foresight to cast on for a sock to take with me and occupy myself while waiting for my post-interview cab. I would have gone nuts if I hadn't had something to do with my hands while waiting. Especially when the next person with "here for interview" tattoed on their forehead (ok, but) strolled into the foyer and took a seat to wait.
That'll teach me to get lulled into a false sense of security by life going smoothly.
My computer is unwell at the moment so I'm not online so much. Right now I'm using Steve's eeePC which is, well, it's okay but the screen and keyboard are tiny, it's not a main computer.
I'm back in my jeans and t-shirt now, feeling like a massive loser and really not ready to go and spend another afternoon of my life putting CDs in boxes. If I'm still doing that when I'm thirty then I want one of you to come and euthanise me, okay?