So I stand there, my bag hanging limply from one shoulder, The Hold Steady fading away in my ears as I thumb down the volume, the doors slowly sliding to either side as I step into the halogen lit nightmare. Boxes line the shelves, the displays leering down at me, daring me to even consider browsing what they have to offer. Pale men hover just ouside my periferal vision, just waiting for me to meet their gaze so they can launch at me, offering me tempting deals. And here I am, considering joining their ranks.
One of them, a higher up, from his lack of t-shirt and the out of place presence of a tie around his thin neck, beckons to me to move through the heavy door, the only window covered with strips of mirrored plastic. They don’t want you to see through, into the dark underbelly of the store. You wouldn’t like what you see. It would forever alter your perception of the hallowed aisles of your temple, the knowledge that naught but a piece of wood seperates you from… whereever it is that the glam comes from.
I descend into the belly of the beast, my guide always staying in the shadows, the warmer lights throwing stark lines of orange aginst the floor, cutting all else into gloomy darkness. Boxes litter the walls, concrete keeping the earth at bay. I swallow, trying not to see past the man’s plastered smile.
I’m led to a trio of plastic chairs, and I sit, noting how the seat of the thing is still warm from the previous occupier, some other poor soul who’d be dragged here by fiscal need and a passing interest in the wares. I dread the inevitable question about where I see myself within the company in a few years; I won’t, because I won’t be in the company in a few years. This posting will be temporary at best, and everyone knows it. There’s a reason I’m spending three years reading books, and it’s so that I don’t have to work in places like… this.
After a few minutes the man returns with a lackey in tow. They sit opposite me, bristling with clipboards and pens, appraising glances cast about my form. I’m sure I don’t match thier inner casting call; I’m not thin and pale enough, but I will have to do, I suppose. They start by asking me to tell them a bit about myself. Frozen with the knowledge of my whole life I try to cut and trim all the unnecessaries, leaving them with a breif description of relevant knowledge and things that may be of passing interest. It feels false, strained, the conversation led by the notes on thier page, and my half confused reponses, trying to double guess what they want from me. This is a job interview all right.
I mention working at one of thier competitors, and they instantly start to sell themselves to me, informing me how they are better, using any examples I give as ways to elevate themselves above what I’d known before. I begin to realise that I’m becoming less the man on trial; they want me. So I use it to my advantage, find out things they might not be willing to divulge. It’s a little liberating, but the confines of the room serve as a constant reminder of just where I am.
The interview winds down and I shake clammy hands, smiling faux smiles as I grab my bag and head back out into the daylight. They’ll call me, they say. I’ll be watching, and waiting.