The daffodils are blooming. There are buds of green on the trees. And while everyone in London is STILL bundled up like an Eskimo, you can tell a change is just around the corner. Spring might not have sprung just yet, but it’s tantalisingly close.
And with the change of season, there’s a sense of anticipation in the air. Of barbecues, fairy lights, picnics and sandals. Of sunlight, flower baskets, outdoor movies and street drinking. Of wearing just one pair of socks. Of saving some money on the gas bill. Of NOT WEARING THE SAME FRIGGIN’ COAT EVERY DAY.
Spring. It’s going to be great.
But for my London spring to reach its true potential, this chick needs some cash. Yep, that old job thing. Seriously, in the last couple of weeks I’ve started to worry that I may not be the heroine in a chick lit novel after all, but instead a sobering case study in an academic article on the UK’s difficult job market.
Which is why I decided to drop the last remnants of my ego, and start applying for EVERYTHING. Cleaning? Yes! Handing out fliers? Sure! So what if I once interviewed political leaders, artists and authors – that was the old Claire! This is an adventure. I can do anything! This is my chick lit life!
Which is how I found myself being interviewed for a restaurant job.
First thing – I have NEVER worked in a restaurant. I am a 29-year-old with no hospitality experience. Not really someone a restaurant would want to hire, right? If I had any chance of getting this job, I would need to rely on my smiley face and sparkly personality to get me through. Of course, according to the laws of the chick lit universe, come the day of the interview, the world was against me. Not only was I deathly ill, but I’d also, through some miraculous feat of uncoordination, managed to stab myself in the face with my own fingernails. So I walked in with no voice, no energy and concealer smeared all over my bloody face. Perfect start.
Second thing – Upon arrival, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the job. Until they gave me a free hot dog. From that moment on, I WANTED IT. Also, maybe, another hot dog.
Third thing – Despite having a somewhat impressive career behind me, I’m not really very experienced when it comes to job interviews. In fact, this would be the second-ever official job interview of my life.
SO. Hipster Waiter calls me in. And hits me straight off with the classic.
“What is your worst characteristic?”
“Ummmm,” I mumble… while my head runs through the options.
I’m pretty bad at navigation. Should I tell them that? No, they’ll probably think I won’t be able to find my way to work. OK… worst characteristic, worst characteristic. I’m bad at times tables? No, not that. Shit, what else? Oh God, think of something! SAY SOMETHING.
“Well, I don’t want to sound like a wanker but,”
Shit, did I just say wanker?
“I’m a total perfectionist.”
Oh Claire. Wankiest answer ever. I HATE ME. Now Hipster Waiter knows you’re a wanker, AND you’re a little OCD. Cover with a laugh maybe? Yeah, good one. Laugh again!
“Oh, and I have an opinion on everything.”
Oh God, why did you give him ANOTHER answer? Idiot. Hipster Waiter doesn’t need a list of everything that’s wrong with you. Are you going to tell him about your fear of animals next?
Hipster Waiter smiles cautiously, and hits me with the next one.
“How would your friends describe you?”
Oh man. These are textbook questions. WHY DIDN’T I PRACTISE THESE? How would my friends describe me? Would they say, ‘crazy bitch’? NO CLAIRE, don’t say that.
“Well, they’d say I’m a good person.”
Yeah! Good one! Now don’t say anything else.
“They’d say I talk A LOT. “
Stop talking, Claire.
“And they’d say I’m always bothering them. I always just want to DO STUFF, you know?”
No, he doesn’t know Claire. Nor does he want to. Shut up.
“They’d say I’m very energetic.”
Yeah, HE CAN SEE THAT. Slow down!
“Oh, and they’d say I’m a clean freak. I just can’t stop cleaning things!”
Yep. You just described yourself as a freak. Laugh again. Good. Maybe laugh some more? No, too crazy. OK. Calm down. Take a sip of your water. Good. Cool. Take another sip. Smile at Hipster Waiter. Cool. Wait? Are you FLIRTING WITH HIM? STOP IT.
After another ten minutes of wild ranting, talking WAY too much about how good the hot dog was, some more shameful flirting, and yes, I’ll admit it – a little bit of singing, I left in a haze of adrenalin and confusion. The sickness fog had cleared. So, sadly, had some of the concealer.
But you know what?
I GOT THE JOB.