Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winning Essay #2: What Not to do in a Job Interview by Rosemary Aubut

Way back in November, I sponsored an essay contest. The best of the entries submitted had a chance to win one of my handcrafted bracelets. Today, I am finally delighted to share the second of those winning entries with you.

An accomplished artist, photographer, and blogger Rosemary Aubut began her 365 Day Project as a way to create a book that she could pass on to her children and grandchildren, so they could know her in a way that she had never know her own ancestors. Rosemary recently told me that, "At first my posts were mostly about my photos. Having a great time with words lead to creative descriptions...It was an incredible journey, and along the way, I learned I could write."

Rosemary took up my challenge and wrote the following winning essay. At the top of the post is a photo collage of Rosemary's favourite shots that gathered for her 365 day project. 

What Not to do in a Job Interview 
by Rosemary Aubut

Many years ago, about 40 to narrow it down, I managed a fabric store shortly after graduation from college. The job was okay, but I longed for something a little more challenging. Informed of an area managers position for a competing fabric company, I made a phone call. A pleasant voice answered and informed me that the company's district manager would be in my area that day and would call me back shortly.

"Can you meet me today?", barked a gruff voice on the phone when I picked up the call on the pay phone at the back of the fabric store.

"Sure." I replied, "Where shall we meet?"

"How about the steak house across the street from the mall?

"Sounds fine. 1:00 pm"

He hung up abruptly. Obviously, the district manager was not a man of many words!

A very stern, fifty-ish man in a rumpled gray suit and pencil-thin tie, reeking of a cocktail of Old Spice and Aqua Velva cologne greeted me with a firm handshake.  We ordered lunch, but honestly, I don't remember eating a single bite. Between large carnivorous bites, Mr Stern-Face fired questions at me fast and furious.

My 1st Offense: Finally, Mr. Stern-Face suggested that I fill out an application, and asked if I had a pen. Yes, I did. I reached down into my faux-leather bag of everything un-necessary and grabbed onto a slender instrument that my automatic pilot assured me was a pen. Without a further glance, I brought the pen directly up to my ear. I held it there, and absentmindedly began tapping it against the side of my head, while I read over the application.

Looking up to ask a question, I noticed that Mr. Stern-Face had an unusual and perplexing look of horror about him.

I realized he was staring at my ear. Knowing my ear was a normal size, I quickly summized it was in fact my pen he was focused on.

Dare I look? Oh, what the heck!

In my haste, I had accidentally grabbed a tampon! That's right, a tampon!

Heart pounding, hands sweating, my inner voice told me to make a joke of it.

"Oh, silly me! Can't write with this, can I?", I muttered.

My 2nd Offence: I somehow managed to calm myself down enough to finish the interview. The bill arrived and I fully expected Mr. Stern-Face to pay. Instead, he announced that my share of the bill was seven dollars. I knew that there was only three dollars in my purse. Horrified once again, I confessed to having only a few dollars. Reluctantly, he agreed to pay and we parted on a bit of a surreal note.

My final Offence: In my rush to get back to work, I got stuck behind a rather pokey, old shark-finned cadillac in the parking lot.

"Oh, come on! Please go!", I thought and proceeded to lean on my horn, totally out of character for me, but remember, I was rattled! Then I caught a glimpse of the driver. It was...yup you guessed it, Mr. Stern Face! He waved and let me pass by.

Mary Mother of Arc Angels, could this interview have been more of a disaster? Well, I will just have to chalk this one up to experience, I thought.

Much to my surprise, Mr. Stern-Face called me and offered me the job! Ironically, I ended up declining the offer for various personal reasons.

Years later, people still roar when I tell this story. I learned early on what not to do in a job interview. I also gained the ability to laugh and learn from my mistakes, to pick myself up, and move forward. The unusual events that have continued to mark my life have kept me laughing. A sense of humour, yes, that is the key! Maybe an odd sense of humour, but a sense of humour, nonetheless: we won't even talk about the time I almost crazy glued my granddaughter's lips together!

More Information and Links:

Visit Rosemary's blog here. See some of Rosemary's paintings here.

Rosemary has also self-published her own book: The Family Bible of Photos, Wit & Wisdom.You can see a preview of her 400 book by clicking this link: Rosemary's book.


  1. Thanks for the challenge Jennifer! Your blog is an incredible place to visit and create!

  2. haha - Too funny! But I do wonder what Mr. Stern Face thought when she turned his job offer down! I bet after that he paid for all lunches, and drove a bit faster! :)

  3. That is a funny story, I can see why she has been telling it often. I would have been mortified and never would have handled it as well or with such humor.

    I visited this post yesterday from Blotanical and it did not register my comment. This is the second or third time this happened on your posts and I have to learn not to visit Blotanical and then blog hop!!!! I wonder how often it happens with all blogs? Phooey... I sometimes visit Blotanical to see if I missed any post I want to read that may not have visited my blog and if the comments don't register, it is not like visiting them at all.

    1. Hi Donna, I am sorry to hear about the problems with Blotanical. It was a website that helped so many of us get started! I wish that Stuart had been able to do the updates as planned. It is frustrating that your comments went missing. The website seems to be limping along, but not functioning properly.

  4. What a story! I hope I never have one to match that :)

  5. Hello Jennifer girl !
    OMG ! This was hilarious .. funny enough during an interview for a job, I had to bring my son along (he was about 7 or 8 .. it was an awkward pinch) .. and funny enough I got the job .. when I had to quit because we were posted to another province, my boss wrote on my farewell card "it might be a good idea not to bring your son on another job interview, they might not take it as well as I did" ... now how funny is that ?
    I have to say I never pulled out a tampon for a pen though .. that is the mother of all funnies I have ever read !
    Joy : )
    PS .. a few more weeks of good weather and I should be able to dig up that hellebore .. I haven't forgotten ! LOL

    1. Joy, It just goes to show you that sometimes, just being yourself- even your stressed, have no choice, but to bring your son along self- is the best way to get the job.
      I am so looking forward to that milder weather and thanks again for the offer of a hellebore.

  6. I love this!! I'm so impressed that she just kept on rolling with the interview despite pulling out a tampon. So hysterical! This brought a smile to a very stressful day. :o)

  7. Funny! That truly does sound like the interview from hell!

  8. Jennifer this is funny. No I guess one can't write with a tampon. hahahaa


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