Friday, December 16, 2005

Interviewing (#5)

There was a time in my life when I was a bona fide scientist geek grrrrrl, doing the benchwork thang like a pro and forging new pathways into the understanding of......asthma.

I thought I had cheaped out when I took a job in an asthma lab, because I was going to CURE CANCER as a scientist, and started out fine and dandy but then moved and couldn't keep a good job doing the science because the grant ran out (shudder, all y'all that have been there), and then moved again, taking the first job offered to me, which was doing work in asthma for a big pharma company.

(asthma joke of a sort - one of the "old guard" lab techs would say "I'm going to have an asthma attack" "You are Jerry?" "Yep, see, asthma leg lifts I get the farts!" Bwahahaha! Good times, good times).

Anyhow, asthma turned out to be a fascinating and interesting and challenging field in which to work, and I learned a lot. So much. Some stuff, however, was stuff I didn't really want to learn, like how people can stab you right in the center of the back and smile while doing it.

To wit - and you knew there was a story here, dincha?

After about 7 years doing asthma research I had had about enough and was looking for another job. We were a close-knit group in our lab, and I didn't want to screw my chances of further good raises by telling my boss I wanted out, so I interviewed for a new job on the sly while she was on vacation.

I know, y'all, cloak and dagger! Soooo sneaky!

Problem was that to go on interviews one should dress like one actually WANTS a job, and not like one actually already HAS a job at the very SAME company and doesn't have to do much more to dress in the morning than put on the same pair of jeans one wore the day before and a new tee-shirt, so I was in a pickle in the wardrobe department. My self-directed pickle-addressing questions were - Do I wear nicer clothes to work and just risk being found out as an interviewee by the one girl in the lab who secretly hates my guts but is nice to me on the outside and then goes to run to tell my boss if I did some tiny thing that pissed her off, or do I take the nice clothes into work with me and change in some bathroom stall closer to the interview and then change BACK before going back to the lab, or what?

I was thinking it was only going to be a one-day conundrum, because, you know, that's how they work.

Except, no. Not so much. I had interviews over TWO days, which doubled the conundrum and officially subjected me to conundra (pluralization rules rule).

I finally decided to just wear the nice clothes to work, but was clever because I ramped up to the nice part of my closet over a week or so to gently adjust people's perceptions of me, then when the boss went out of town I went full-on with better clothes and even perfume. Imagine, all that AND I styled my hair. I looked like a different person almost, and thought I had cleverly pulled off the whole interview thing by telling my labmates that I had Doctor's appointments on those 2 days, which would explain my absence from the lab for a goodly chunk of time.

Oh, yes, I was proud of myself allright.

I had no idea what was waiting for me, therefore, on the Monday my boss got back.

She called me into her office, looking upset, and asked me to sit down because she needed to talk to me.


"Tiff, I've heard it through the grapevine that you came to work last week dressed better than usual and wearing perfume"

(WTF? grapevine? The grapevine's name is XX and she's your lickspittle lackey baby whiner tattletale beeyotch. To hell with the whole grapevine thing! Call it it's true name!)

"Yes, I did"

"Do you want to tell me why?"

"I can't see how it's any of your business, really."

"Well word on the street is that you're having an affair with YYY."

(well, butter my behind and call me a biscuit! Or, more accurately, draw me with a complete blank on how to respond. I was thinking she was going to ping me on the interview thing, BUT she's painted a lurid picture in her mind of me schtupping the incredibly gorgeous and funny PI next door? What? Not that I wouldn't have liked to, but by then I was already married and that door had closed)

My eventual response was as follows:

"I thought you knew me better than that. I can't believe you just had the gall to suggest that I would have an affair when you know I'm married. I'm shocked and disappointed that you think I would hold my marriage in such low regard.

And just so you know, for the record, I was INTERVIEWING!!!"

And I walked out, determined to leave that lab at the first chance I got, no matter how shitty the job or how nasty the new people would be, because nothing could be nastier than the mind of the jealous conniving little fart that had tried to bury a 6-inch shiv of sneak between my vertebrae.

One of my other labmates said that I was actually quivering with anger as I walked out of my boss' office, and was rooting for me to stomp the shit out of our little grapevine. Apparently, there was some anger there too.


So, there ya go. Think I learned anything from it? Hell no, because the next time I went looking for a job I did the same "don't tell the boss" thing. Only without the wardrobe complications or implication of affairs. Which is another story, and all worked out fine, so go me.


Anonymous said...

Tiff, cool site. Although i've been a visitor to so many blogs over the years ( since 2001), i'm just now getting around to starting my own as of today. Good job on yours and thanks again for complimenting my photo today at jeffs site. Have a good weekend

Anonymous said...

Good luck with it, and thanks in return for the "cool site" attagirl. It's fun to do this, even if nobody else sees, because it's ALL about you!

Erica said...

Aaaah... you got a comment from mr. tdk. Attagirl indeed! He is cute :-)

Erica said...

Oh, and I totally did NOT comment on the post. Duh. Sticky situation wtih the boss there! and how DARE she poke her nose in like that. Of course nowadays you could sue the little paper socks right off her. (See, cause she was a turkey! Succumb to my wit!)

Anonymous said...

Consider me a prostrate victim of the Borg-like wit of Erica. Resistance is indeed futile :>

Anonymous said...

Thanks Erica