Friday, November 21, 2008

Interview Fail

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?


The Goldfish said...

I think you did the right thing; you have to be honest with people, and I think your honesty and obvious disappointment will work in your favour should there be another opportunity at that place later on.

You're doing just fine in life - extremely well given the hand that fate has dealt you. Even so, I can imagine how all this felt and you have my sympathies.

The word verification reads "poxionat" which sounds like a excellent new swearword.

Mandy said...

How very upsetting. You did nothing wrong, if it was me big fat tears would have flowed right there and then still sat in the interview chair. (and then I would have had a big fat bogey poke out of my nose and I wouldn't have been able to breath and so the pantomine would have gone on)

I think you were Very Brave to hold it all together like you did.

Consider yourself cyber hugged and backrubbed.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Oh no, I'm really sorry you had such a bad day. Hugs. I think you did the right thing, and as for being over 30, well you do get used to that ;)
I think you'll find your honesty does stand you in good stead next time you apply
I understand all too well how this feels so no more platitudes, just some hugs.
BG x

Mary said...

Thanks, everyone - it feels so much better to have support. Everyone at work was nice too and reassured me that there will definitely be other jobs

Poxionat reads like a marvellous swear word. I'm wondering how to pronounce it for maximum effect - I think "POX-yon-at!"

And it is definitely a win that I don't have strings of snot all over my Good Suit.

I turn 27 in January so we've got a while before we take me out and shoot me. It's not the age - it's that I think there are only so many years one can reasonably do a bottom-rung job before drastic action is required.

DD said...


I just spent a depressing 2 weeks filling in my DLA renewal. Generally I feel good, positive, managing OK, etc. After 2 weeks of telling the DWP everything I can't do, I feel useless.

p.s. the word verification reads "tument". I think that just about describes my feelings :)

Anonymous said...

Aww, my word verification is epraly, that's not a good word to use for anything I can think of. Anyway, I don't have anything useful to say, just wanted to say something.

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

Oh how totally gutting - I think it's perfectly OK to be disappointed and upset and angry and I'm sending hugs and positive thoughts that the perfect job will come soon

Mary said...

Well, my word verification today is "cramo", which is DEFINITELY a breakfast cereal for people on pre-exam study leave.

Things are much better this morning. I'm still disappointed, but no longer feeling crushed or humiliated.

Thanks again to everyone.

Maggie said...

What Goldfish said. And I do like the new swear word! :-)

Hugs from grey Liverpool

Word verification is braniq. French AllBran?

Gone Fishing said...

30 degrees C, here We went Swimming in the river a while back and feel in need of such cooling again.

hang in there girl child

I am Almost 60 and still trying to get off the bottom rung.

I Have for the last few years tried to find "ideal" work which pays the highest for the shortest hours worked.

Unfortunately it seems there are people who firstly equate brain injury with being "Thick"and part time work, especially highly paid as unstructured and unsuitable and regularly swat me down.

So it is a struggle to get through the gaps and not be blocked from high paid short term, or low hours work.

Eventually you find people who actually accept you are doing your best and will go out of their way to help you.

I will post more on this on my blog ina day or two, but meantime reading your postreassures not only me but no doubt many others that finding ourselves in the very situation you have just faced is not unique or even unusual, being male I cannot dare adjust my make up.

All I get for word verification is latest

Stella said...

No, Mary, not okay. Your value is not in what you do but in who you are. if you had any idea how much you amuse, educate and encourage people, some of whom do not even know you except through the service (yes dear, service) of this blog. I've followed the blog for over a year, admired you and delighted in your excellent writing. Never had the guts to comment till now. Felt it might invade your privacy or something. Anyway, please know that you are doing great things. You had a rotten day. Hope this cheers you just a bit.
---A reader from Kansas

Mary said...

I'm already re-cheered, although still very thankful for, not to mention touched by, the continuing stream of supportive comments.

'Highly paid' isn't something I'm that bothered about, at the end of the day I'm a 26 year old with no degree or professional/vocational training, so although I feel my useful skills and experience and glowing references and so on should put me a bit above minimum hourly rate, I'm not expecting to be much above it in the forseeable future.

And yes, I know my worth and value as a person isn't solely tied up to my job, although it helps to be reminded of that sometimes, so thank you.

Anonymous said...

"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.'"

I can relate to this. Both parts in fact. If there's one certainty in life, it's change. I hope things change soon to your benefit.