Convey confidence. Wow, that seemed like a stretch. I would have just settled for not mispronouncing my own name upon introduction.
But everyone has a first job interview, right? I mean a first something-on-the-line try at getting a responsible position in adult society.
Not one of those after-school jobs where you walked in, filled out an application and handed it to some indifferent soul across a counter.
Such an experience had landed me a career opportunity as a bus boy/dishwasher at an unlamented former restaurant chain known as Sambo’s. Manual labor builds character … I believe that.
Though on the spectrum of character-building, I think the Sambo’s summer, emptying grease traps and smelling of maple syrup, resided toward the modest end.
In this case, however, I had to put myself into a different frame of mind, prepare for an interview and envision returning in triumph, like Pinocchio ready to tell Mr. Geppetto that I’m “a real boy” now.
My university placement office had alerted me to the high school teaching job in the St. Louis suburbs. My resume boasted a sound but uninspiring GPA and reference to an English honor society so captivated by my membership that they spelled my last name “Norton.”
(As consolation, a heavyweight champion in those days had the name Ken Norton, and this mistake might have actually afforded me some cachet among the Chaucer readers.)
No doubt the placement office also offered me tips about approaching this job interview. In addition to the conveyance of confidence, it would have surely instructed me to research the school district, clarify my “selling points” and portray positive body language.
Aside from having a name approximate to a prizefighter’s, I could barely list any selling points without rolling my eyes. And the only research I did on the school district involved whether it could pay me enough so my wife and toddler would not starve.
On the drive north, I rehearsed answers to potential questions, non-controversial responses about shaping young minds. Those were the days before self-esteem, so I didn’t have to worry about building any.
More than anything, I tried to imagine what my smarter classmates might say to an interviewer.
It turned out all my fretting had been for nothing. The school principal charged with determining my hiring proved a genial guy who walked me around the facilities and then talked to me at length about his change of life.
A ski nut, he stood two weeks from moving to Colorado for a new job and a lot of schussing. His house had become a maelstrom of packed boxes. One of his last acts under this contract was to hire an English teacher and, “Yeah, you’ll do.”
It’s been a great many years since I’ve interviewed for a job, yet I remember them to be stressful and not at all, as a placement office adviser might tell you, a wonderful chance to assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Rather, I remember just wanting to complete them without a sinking feeling and find success at their conclusion.
For this reason, I wish Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, success in their wishes to “step back” from their jobs as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Their current employment in the House of Windsor seemed something of a dead end, what with those soul-destroying duties and that pervy uncle. Time for a fresh start. Canada seems nice.
As for those job interviews, they’ll go fine. Convey confidence. Listing yourself as “defender of the crown” always wows them.