As I sat in the lobby waiting endlessly for a job interview, I wished my life was like a book, where you could flip to the last page, to see how it ends, then read the rest of the book, from start to finish.
According to the college magazine articles that I had read on how to land a job, this interview was highly unusual. It was 1983, and the internet wasn’t born yet. We didn’t read blogs; we read paper.
I was applying for a job as an analyst with a marketing research firm. A recent graduate from the College of Business, I believed that writing marketing reports would combine my newfound business acumen, with my love for writing.
The firm’s owner, a matronly woman, and her toy pet poodle, Fluffy, greeted me. Yes, Fluffy was a "real" dog, which barked, and everything.
According to the owner, Fluffy never missed a day of work and he was good with clients. I was asked, “Was my record as good as Fluffy's?” I was not amused.
During the interview, Fluffy sat smack dab in the middle of the small room, lodged right between the lady owner, and myself. He would not budge for love, nor money.
Here I was, smartly groomed in my new navy blue business suit, on the edge of my seat, trying to look interested, as all of the job-hunting articles said I should. Meanwhile, teetering on the edge of my seat, I was trying to impress both the matronly owner, and the dog.
Every time I moved, the little black fluff ball growled at me.
I pictured this dog greeting clients, and tried not to laugh.
I searched my mind for any information gleaned through articles on how to make friends with a toy poodle, and came up empty. I had been reading, "Job Hunting Made Easy", not "Pet Training Made Easy."
The owner considered the dog an employee. Did he get workman's comp.? Better yet, what would the health department say? Fluffy was allowed in the eating area, slobbering up cake crumbs off the laboratory kitchen’s floor. The analyst job entailed baking cakes, eating the results, and writing the marketing research study report. My cakes always fall. Flatter than a doggy biscuit.
The owner and her secretary, the only two humans working there, seemed at ease with a dog at work. Unbelievable!
Needless to say, Fluffy, official floor cake crumb eater extraordinaire, saw me as a threat to his position with the firm, and hated me. Fluffy knew I lied, when I said I loved all animals.
How would I explain this to family and friends? This business major who had completed all the marketing, and salesmanship courses, failed to sell herself, again. Nobody would believe this "dog gone" story.
Somehow, this sugar cake job just didn’t live up to my college-fed expectations; nor did it live up to my newly acquired Dean’s List reputation.
A year after graduation, during one of the worst recessions in history, I found that my employment package contained no job, a truck full of stupid job interview “Let Them Eat Cake” questions, and one insipid interview with a fluffy dog. My fellow Business School graduates, of course, all had fat well-fed wallet careers, complete with sign-on bonuses. This produced desperation.
The last page of my book, however, had yet to be written.
I eventually learned to answer stupid job interview questions with perseverance, patience, and assertiveness. I also learned not to answer with flippancy. But, most importantly, I learned never lie to a fluffy dog. Bring doggy treats. Hide them in your briefcase.
The last page? My last job, as a Technical Training Writer finally earned me a living as a writer, a job that finally combined my business sense with my writing abilities. Now, as a “downsized” unemployed Technical Training Writer, my next job will be turning anecdotes into personal true stories, then selling them, as any Business Saleswoman Extraordinaire would. The proof is not in impressing a fluffy, black dog, a dog that eats cake.
A famous matron, once said, “Let them eat cake.” The proof is not in the cake. “The proof is in the pudding.” If you are reading this true story, it means that I have sold it.
At my next job, the sign will read, “No pets allowed.”