A month after your last interview, the one with the wet-behind-the-ears boy genius, you see a job in the paper for a Graphic Designer II at the local med school. You apply for the job, fill out a stack of papers, chat briefly with someone in HR, and then you go home and wait. And wait and wait and wait. Four months later, you get a letter informing you that they would like to set up an interview. You figure you have to at least try, since you’ve come up dry until now. The interview goes pretty well and includes an aptitude test, full of ancient terminology that has nothing to do with the way production is done nowadays. Fortunately, you’re old enough to remember all that stuff. You ace the test. Next you meet with the head of the graphics department. He’s a goofy guy with brillo hair, a hole in the middle toward the back, and his head is far larger than it should be for his body. Otherwise, he seems OK.
You show him your portfolio, give him your resume, and answer all his questions. He seems quite impressed with your knowledge and experience. You take a little proofreading test, and much to his embarrassment, you find three errors that are not on his grading sheet. He gives you 15 minutes to come up with a tri-fold brochure concept for something. You’re done in 10 minutes and he likes what he sees. So far, so good. He would like to have you meet with the dean responsible for that department. He calls HR to ask them to schedule you.
The following week, you show up for your appointment a few minutes early. The dean is a very busy man. He makes you wait. And wait and wait. Finally, he steps out of his office and motions for you to come. You bring your portfolio and resume in with you. He doesn’t ask to see them, but he asks you all about your previous employment, mentions that you seem to have done well enough, and than asks how well you work with others on a team. You tell him that you enjoy working alone, when necessary, but that you prefer being part of a team. He seems a bit uncomfortable when you ask him questions about the facility. He shows you out and sends you downstairs for a second interview with the guy with the big head. You go downstairs and wait for him to get done on the phone.
Everything goes well, he compliments your work, has you do a few more things to be sure you’re not faking all those skills, and then leans back in his seat, his elbows up and hands behind his head. “I think your qualifications are excellent, your work is very well done, and you could certainly do the job. There’s just one thing.” You say nothing, waiting for him to continue, but you are thinking, “Oh shit. There’s always something.” “You, uh, you have a strong personality.” You look him directly in the eye and you say, “You know, if I was a man, you’d have never said that to me. It’s OK for men to have strong personalities, but if a woman does, then she’s a bitch. Look, I have two little kids to support and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without being able to stand up for myself.”
He sputters a bit and tells you that you’ll hear something later in the week. The next day, the HR officer calls to offer you a job. Full benefits, health insurance, pension, vacation and sick days; lousy money. You need a job, so you say yes. Yes, you can start next week. Yes, you will be happy to come to HR to fill out paperwork on your first day. You hang up the phone and heave an enormous sigh of relief. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work you’ll go…