Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a lovely day

The sky is blue, the sun is out and it's unusually green in Toronto today.  A cool breeze gently caressed my face as I was walking home from the subway station after an entertaining experience in the heart of the Financial District.

All morning I kept thinking this interview is taking away from me watching the Olympics.  This particular job opportunity just isn't for me at this point in time since I'm pretty confident it's not what I want to do with my life.  My gut feeling about this is not good.  Around 10:30am I had it in mind to call my headhunter to say, forget it, I'm not going but I decided to just deal and go anyway.  As luck would have it, my headhunter gave me the wrong address and I ended up 10 minutes late for my interview.  Oops. 

I met with a very HR-looking woman named Marissa.  She gave me a limp fish handshake and escorted me through the office to a central meeting room.  On our way to the meeting room, the most unusual feeling came over me.  I was surrounded by cubes as far as the eye could see.  Each cube was an eerie ecru colour and the people I did see sat at their portable desks expressionless - some with headsets, others hunched over Excel spreadsheets.  I wanted to run far, far away from this bland environment.  There was no semblance of life or individuality in that office.  I tried my best to hide a shudder from Marissa, who was the typical HR person... cold and unfeeling with a fake smile on her face.

Marissa invited me to have a seat and we're off!  First came a barrage of questions about my work history.  I could tell she was curious about my apparent 'job hopping' but she didn't let it slip - smart woman.  Next she asked me what my headhunter had told me about the role and after I responded, she said it was completely off.  To put it plainly, this multinational's HR structure is imploding and they needed someone to clean up their mess.   Wonderful.  I have this peeve about working for companies that decide to restructure for the 'good' of the business only to realize they've blanked the whole thing up.   

Keep in mind I'm a person who is very observant of body language.  The way Marissa was dressed looked to me like she was a person who ordinarily isn't cold & unfeeling but she had to be in her role.  She did seem to relax a bit towards the end of the interview however not before she proceeded to tell me that she didn't think I was qualified enough to be the department beeyatch but I would be more suited to be an HR serf.   I had to contain myself from laughing out loud so I did the next best thing - I went in for the big Highlight of the Night save.  I made reference to a potential HRIS role she had discussed earlier in this farce of an interview and mentioned that I would be [somewhat] interested in a role of that nature.  She perked up immediately to say that she could tell that I was more of an HR techie.  In the end, she told me she would talk to Her Excellence Senior Manager about the next steps in the hiring process.

As I left, I couldn't help the hilarity of what I just experienced.  Here was Athena, the antithesis of corporate life, rubbing shoulders with Bay Street's finest.  To further my own amusement, I decided to take a stroll through the underground shops.   There I saw the city's best dressed finance folk walking around on their lunch breaks, stealing intimate moments with their BlackBerries and smartphones.  Groups of men were chatting about nothing in particular  and I even overheard two women cackling about how Olympic athletes should get real jobs like the ones they have.  Uh-huh.  I'm sure these women got great pleasure out of being someone's girl Friday for a big dirty multinational which gives them bigger swords... in the grand scheme of things, it's  just a job.  If that defines them, so be it.  They probably complain about it amongst themselves in order to make themselves feel better about their station in life.

An a-ha moment happened before that foolish interview even began.  Walking through the cubes gave me a vision of my book.  I want to tell a story - the story of Athena Titanides' epic journey through the corporate jungles of Toronto.  These cubes would make the perfect backdrop.  It's an image that's been burned into my mind and I'm optimistic I can make this story a reality.  I've had some very controversial adventures throughout my career that have brought me to this broke-ass point.  I'm going to do this.  I'm going to tell my story!

I am also getting fed up with Dalton & Stephen.  Dalton keeps taking money away that Stephen gives me!  Clearly they don't give a hoot but this is getting insane.  Bill collectors are calling talking about I give preferential treatment to other bills...?  Too bad buying FOOD is a small priority in my book.  And for the nth time, ain't nobody helping my blanking self out!  

All in all, it's been a lovely day.