That elevator ride fell as if it was going to last forever. I don’t really know if it stopped in every single floor but it really did seem to. My hands and my legs kept shaking and I was failing miserably in trying to control them. I was very nervous. I also kept cleaning the sweat off my hand with my pants, which wasn’t the best idea to have when going to an interview. At one point, I felt I was going to faint. The people there with me seemed completely oblivious to my personal struggle.
When I finally got to my floor, after every other was gone, my legs seemed to be unwilling to help me anymore. Only a few step away from the elevator, I felt I couldn’t walk anymore My feet actually hurt and trying to move my body was very challenging. I have no idea how, but somehow I got myself to the reception, which was very close by. A woman heard my name and told me to wait in a seating area. Around me, other people were also waiting, all younger than me.
I felt as if I wanted to run away from that place. When I checked every single face in that room, I realized I was way over my head. I had come thee looking for a job but these people were clearly much better for it than me. I even bet that some of them had much more experience than I and had even already worked somewhere else before. Their resume was quite possibly a long list of names, which they could put in there as a reference, from a clothing store to a big multinational company.
I had my resume in folder I had brought and I instinctively wanted to check if I had put everything that was worth written on it but then remembered there wasn’t that much to tell, so I refrained from looking at it and instead tried to force my eyes to focus on the window that was very close by. It wasn’t easy to look out through it but it was much better to stare and try to imagine and quieter world than attempting to breathe normally with the typical methods that had never had a any real results. Looking through the window was my way to escape.
I needed to do it if I wanted to keep breathing. The only way to make myself relax was to imagine a wide array of situations that could happen inside that waiting room or outside of it. It didn’t really matter. The point was that t all had to be happening around me, so the false memory, the invention, was all about making me feel like someone I wasn’t, at least for some time until I realized I was being childish and I needed to breathe a little and just move on. The thing was that it wasn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Suddenly, the woman called my name. She told me to go through a door and then walk down an aisle to another door marked “Human resources”. My interview would be taking place in that office. Before leaving the waiting room, I had a brief eye contact with another guy waiting there and I have to say the only thing I could see n his eyes was fear. He seemed really terrified somehow and I kept thinking about him even after the interview was over, many hours later.
I walked slowly towards the office and when I finally got there, no one was waiting for me. The place was empty so I had to check if I was in the right place. I was. The best thing to do was to wait outside, by the door. The person that was going to do the interview had to be very close by, so there was nothing to worry. However, I was shaking so much that my teeth started to make a very annoying noise that I had to try really hard to suppress. This was definitely not my element.
The person finally got there and it was a woman. I was a little bit disappointed because I thought a man was going to ask me the questions. I’m not saying one is better than the other in the workplace but it is a fact that men are typically less harsh in interviews, unless you get a guy that had more in common with a buffalo than with an actual human male. But whatever, anything can happen so I just sat down, as she did on the other side of the table. The room seemed to have gone smaller.
There was also a very particular scent but I couldn’t really point at what it was. She was really trying to be very nice and that was good because I felt my hands shaking much less than before. However, she started talking about work and about many things I had no idea about. She kept talking and talking and I just nodded at some of her comments and then answer some questions she threw from time to time. It was kind of hard to follow what she was saying but I did my best to do so.
At one point, she stopped short and offered me a beverage. My bladder was full because of how nervous I was so it wasn’t an option to start drinking water or whatever she offered. The other reason I refused was because my throat felt closed to anything trying to go in. Every time I spoke, I had to clear my throat because it felt as if I was waking around the Sahara desert. She clearly noticed something about me but didn’t comment on it and I was very grateful she decided not to ask. My feet kept moving and my hands kept sweating profusely.
She then asked me for my resume and I handed it to her. She looked through it for a couple of seconds and then put it on a huge pile I had neglected to see. At least some fifty other resumes had to be there, waiting for something that would probably never happen. She talked to me then and I feel like she said some important things but I wasn’t listening at all. The sight of that pile made me realized that I was fooling myself, that everyone was fooling themselves with this charade.
I had no idea why I did it. I had never done anything remotely similar. I would normally just wait until the person was finished to say something, if I did because most of the time I was just a zombie that shook hands and maybe cracked a smile in order not to look like a complete mental patient. My mouth would normally be too dry to say a word and my body too shaky to keep making that moment go longer. So that was one of the few times I really surprised myself.
My voice cut her off; making her stop her speech about something I have no idea. I noticed too that my body had made me stand up, which I even didn’t realize. Slowly, I grabbed my resume from the top of the pile and told the woman I was very grateful for the opportunity but that I knew that I had no real chance of getting such a job. I was highly overqualified in the academics side of it but grossly under qualified as experience is concerned. So my chances were pretty slim.
I told her I knew of those kids outside would be getting it because it was just easier to make them do whatever the company needed and they could even pay them less because they were just beginning, even if they had worked for ten years already. Age was one of those things that companies used at will in order to grant or deny benefits around the workers. I knew that’s how it worked, even if I had never been paid to do anything in any company, anywhere to be perfectly honest.
The woman had her mouth open and I thought of shaking her hand but I was shaking so much already and my hand was so sweaty that I refrained myself from doing it. I excused myself and left the room, almost running back to the elevator, which filled up once again and seemed to take years to get to the ground floor. My resume escaped my hands, falling to the floor. I felt a bit dizzy, probably hungry already. As soon as the elevator got to its destination, I ran outside, to the sun and the air and the freedom of a world that didn’t needed me to keep moving.