“You’re going to be interviewed at one o’clock today.” My supervisor informed me upon our first meet up this morning.
“Interviewed? For what? I can’t be interviewed. I haven’t shaved all week, my shirts a mess and I don’t interview well.” My excuses peppered out of my mouth like bullets from a Gatling gun.
“Doesn’t matter. They want to know about the trains, the collection and the winter wonderland layout. You are the expert, you get interviewed.”
“C’mon, you can’t make me do this. You stand on camera and I’ll feed you the answers.”
“Nope, I’ve got to talk about other things. Also, they are going to ask about your qualifications and how you got started here.”
“I’m sick. I need to go home.”
“You’re not sick. You’re not going home and you will do the interview.”
“I’ll give you a hundred dollars.” This made him pause. Then he shook his head and said “Nope, this is all you.”
“I hate you.”
“Olive Juice too sugar pants. Don’t be late, it’s at one… and in case you don’t understand that, thirteen hundred hours.” And with that, he turned and left.
I walked back to my office and looked for something I could break. I couldn’t find anything so I sat at my desk and seethed. Pretty soon, my thoughts of suicide or “accidentally” breaking a non-essential body part faded to the tasks I needed to do for the day. Also, one of my volunteers showed up and he was full of energy and looking for work to do. Which is good, this provided me an excuse to forget all about the interview.
By the time I was supposed to be on hand to do the interview, I’d forgotten all about it. I was actually in the midst of building a scene for Winter Wonderland and gathering up supplies I would need to finish the task. Which is about the time my walkie-talkie squawked and a disembodied voice requested my presence to the interview site. I cursed under my breathe and tried to come up with an excuse to not show up. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t come up with an idea outside of calling in paramedics to the museum. So I trudged down to the interview room.
My supervisor was standing there, a rictus grin on his face made me want to punch him. The interviewer was standing beside his camera man and they both were grinning at me. The LED lights from the camera was casting an eerie glow on the Christmas train layout I designed and built with the help of several people.
“I hate you.” I repeated my sentiments.
“You’ll do fine snuggle bear. It’ll be over before you know it.”
“I’m not your snuggle bear today. Eat hot death.”
“You two done with your mating ritual?” the interviewer asked.
I stared daggers at him and wished he’d spontaneously combust and that his flames would leap onto the cameraman and they’d both go up in a fiery winter fueled blaze.
“He’ll be okay, just tell him where to stand and ask him questions.” My boss said and then turned to me and pointed a finger at my chest “No snark, no wit and no dick jokes.” He warned.
I shrugged and realized I would rather be on death row at that very moment.
“Stand here.” The cameraman said.
I looked at him. He was pointing to a spot on the floor between his camera and the front of the train layout.
I shrugged and moved my feet to the spot. I then looked at the man performing the interview and said “You sure you want to interview me? I don’t look good. I take terrible pictures and video. I also have very little control over what comes out of my mouth.”
“You’ll be fine. Besides, no one knows more about the collection or trains than you do.”
“Not true, I know several guys who know more than I do about trains. If you want, I’ll call a couple of them and have them down here in an hour.”
“Just how many guys would you have to call to be able to give me all the information you have about this stuff?”
“No clue. But I can get them here for you.”
“Nope, no time. You’re here. You’re approved and you’ll do fine.”
Moments later I was being interviewed. It took half an hour. When we were done, I started to walk away and then the cameraman stopped me.
“We didn’t mic him. The audio is shit. We need to do a retake.”
My blood froze. I started to head for the exit. My boss stopped me, pointed back to the camera and like a big wimp I turned and slugged my way back to the one eyed monster I loathe.
A few moments later, I was miced up, and being asked the same questions again. However, this time, I was informed I could shorten my answers. Which I did. When we finished I was told my first interview, the one without the mic was better, more eloquent and more touching.
I informed the interviewer that I can’t recite verbatim what I’d previously said nor should I be expected to. Which is about the time he told me he interviewed me a couple years ago and that I told the most touching story out of all the people he’d interviewed. He was hoping to catch that magic again.
“Then ask me different questions.” Was all I could answer.
His response was this “Tell me how you feel when you see people looking at what you do.”
Here was my answer:
“How do I feel? Good. I love being able to stand in the background and listen to parents explain to kids what they are seeing. To hear squeals of joy and gasps of surprise when they walk into a room where I’ve worked for endless hours to create something that will bring to the surface of their consciousness the joy and wonderment they felt as children. I don’t want credit, I don’t need to be acknowledged, I just need to know that what I’ve done, what I’ve toiled at is appreciated. Nothing more, nothing less. I feel a great sense of pride when return visitors from years past recognize changes that have been made and I’m there to overhear the comments be they good or bad. I feel pride in knowing I helped create a sense of wonder in kids of all ages as they walk away from their experience and I feel a sense of satisfaction when I hear people talk about going home and trying to create something similar to what they’ve seen. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I see the wonder in visitor’s eyes. I feel like I matter in some small way in the inspiration they have garnered from not just my hard work but the hard work of my co-workers. That’s how I feel.”
“Perfect. We’re done.” Was his answer.
As I walked away, I silently kicked myself in the ass for actually being human for a few moments.
Have a great week. And avoid interviews.