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I woke up this morning to my radio alarm blaring the news (I never get to wake up to music. Why do no Moses Lake radio stations play music on the hour? Don’t they know that’s when people set their alarms?). Apparently there were 37,000 new first time unemployment filings this month, the highest since February. Now, I was half asleep when I heard that, so forgive me if the number is off slightly, but… depressing much? Not only does that mean that there are 37,000 more people now out of work, without a paycheck to count on, but also there are 37,000 more people now in the ring with the rest of us fighting for the few jobs that there are.

Here’s an illustration. One of the several jobs that I’ve applied for in the last couple weeks was for a part-time front desk position at a to-remain-nameless healthcare provider’s office. Last week, I receive a call for an interview (yippee!), and am given the choice of two different slots, of which I choose the latter. I dress nice and professional-like, grab an extra copy of my resume just in case, drive the required thirty minutes to get from my house to ANYWHERE, and make it to the office fifteen minutes early. As I give my reflection a quick glance in the rearview mirror I notice something: a nicely dressed, middle-aged woman walking down the sidewalk with a conspicuous white piece of paper flapping in her hand. She could of course be headed to the bank nearby, but I suspect something else entirely. I take a deep breath and exit the car, making my way to the office, and I open the door to find my suspicions confirmed! At least sixteen other women, all dressed varying degrees of professional-like, are seated in the lobby of the tiny office, whose air conditioner is proving to be less than adequate with that many bodies to cool and the afternoon sun pouring in the windows. I sign in at the front counter and take a seat in one of the few remaining chairs, which is, of course, right in front of the window. Everyone is looking at each other nervously. A few more women come in. A girl fresh out of school takes a seat next to me.

“Full house tonight, huh?” I say conversationally.

“Yeah,” she says, looking nervous. “I wasn’t really expecting that.”

“I don’t think anyone was,” a lady across from us says loudly. There is a murmur of agreement, and the woman at the front desk doesn’t meet anyone’s eye.

“Well,” I say, forcing a smile. “Everyone looks very pretty.” Which earns me a laugh from the room.

Soon a doctor comes out and gives a description of the job, afterward inviting anyone who doesn’t think it’s for them to leave. I don’t think anyone will, but one woman thanks him and goes. Then we’re given two writing assignments. We’re asked to write out #1 Why we want the job, and #2 Why we should get it above all the other applicants. We’re told that there were over 200 applicants and we were the ones who passed Spell Check, and I can’t help but think of the other time slot I was offered and wonder if there were this many people there too. Then everyone waits for their turn to be interviewed. I wait for over an hour, and my face is red from the heat by the time it’s my turn.

This initial interview experience is appropriately summed up by this clip from the movie Fun With Dick and Jane:

A couple of days later, I get a call for a second interview, which was scheduled for this past Monday. I was given six timed tests by the front desk lady, who timed me with a stop watch. A typing test, a sans calculator math test (when’s the last time any of you did long division involving decimals?), a filing test, and a few personality tests. This was for a PART-TIME job, people! Then I had an interview with both doctors, which went really well. I got asked an array of challenging questions, with the exception of “which color would you say best describes your personality” which kind of came out of nowhere (answer: purple). As I left, I recognized a gal from the previous interview waiting in the lobby for her turn.

On Monday evening I got a call to schedule a third interview! Apparently, it’s down to me and just one other person (yippee!). The third interview is scheduled for Wednesday (yesterday), and I do a little victory dance and am grateful that I have a third Interview Shirt thanks to a shopping trip with Mom.

On Tuesday, while I’m in the lobby of the local movie theater, about to go see The Last Airbender with Husband (celebrating the impending end of my job search, you know), I get another call. They’ve filled the position. So I don’t have to come in for the third interview “um, if that’s okay.” I swallow and thank them for letting me know, but really I want to say “No! How is that okay? I have an interview tomorrow! How can you have decided already? Why didn’t you pick me?!” Phone closed, eyes welling up, all I can think is “Wow. All that and second place.” No consolation prize either, except for an encouraging email waiting for me from the doctor titled “Apologies,” which was really nice of him to send, really.

It’s Thursday now, and I’ve applied to seven more jobs since then. I’ve got a preliminary phone interview tomorrow for another part-time job. I’ll let you all know how many rounds there are on that one.

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Mallory Battista’s Blog

Notes from an aspiring author, artist, and occasional gluten-free cook.

Storytelling isn’t just a thing to do, it is a way of seeing the world.

I am a storyteller. I live as though I am a hero on a quest and I strive to treat every person that crosses my path as the main character of an equally complex and exciting story. I find joy when their paths overlap with mine, and though some encounters are fleeting and others last a lifetime, I see the importance of each one to the continuation of Life's plot. I am grateful for the adversity that is set before me, as it makes me a more well-rounded character and adds challenge and excitement to my journey. And I always, ALWAYS have faith in happy endings.

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