I’M LEAVING ONE dead end job for another. Another that pays a little bit better. I’m also trying to get over a woman that worked at my last job. Working near her was torture.
Hi there. You’re…?
Here about the job.
Oh, and your name?
Oh yes—we heard you were in a car accident of some sort this morning?
Oh—sorry about that / I spit out w/ another false laugh / —it was just a fender bender—but we had to notify the authorities of course. Everything’s okay—hope this isn’t too big a deal.
Oh no have a seat. Janice will be out shortly.
I sit down and thumb through an automobile magazine. I’m nervous. My stomach makes weird noises when I’m nervous. And I’m sweating balls.
My name’s Janice / she smiles w/ an extended hand. She’s short, overweight and not pretty. I shake her hand a little too hard / —we heard you were in a little accident this morning?
Yes—on my way over here no less. I really hope this isn’t too inconvenient for ya—I really appreciate you guys lettin’ me come in / I say a little too nervous. I hate job interviews.
No one was hurt were they?
Good / Janice smiles, though her eyes do not. I immediately get the feeling that Janice can be a real piece of work when she wants to. We sit down in a small room w/ black and white pictures of men w/ blank faces working in this very factory back in the twenties and thirties.
Do you mind if I ask you a question? / I ask.
Not at all.
What exactly is it that you guys DO here? I mean—I don’t even know what you’re in the business of / I thought it would sound good if I play interested but it wasn’t until after I’d said it that I realized just how silly it sounded.
She smiles, feeling sorry for me.
We make fleece mostly. We also make wool and fake furs. We’ve been here for nearly eighty years. We run three shifts and have a total of three hundred people employed and working on the floor.
Wow / I feign and nod.
She looks at me, waiting for a response. But I’m not really interested so that’s as far as I can take it.
We like what we see on your application. How old are you again?
It looks like you have a strong history of working manual labor type jobs. Do you mind if we call any of these references?
Not at all / I feign again. I hope they don’t call. If they do they’re bound to find out about the fights, the cops showing up at work, the womanizing. Womanizing the staff. Womanizing the bosses. Whatever.
We’d like you to start at the beginning of next week.
Can you pass a drug test? / she asks, looking me in the eye for change of ease.
We’re gonna send you over to take one then.
We’re going to have to start you out here—probably in either knitting or mending. It’s union work and you’ll have to get past a ninety-day probationary period. After that you’ll be in the union and you’ll have to pay five dollars a week union dues. Second shift okay w/ you?
You’ll start out at $8 an hour but if you work here at least a year you’ll be up to $13 an hour.
That’s not bad / I tell her. I’d never made more than eight bucks an hour. This was the place for me! I pictured myself working here until retirement. What a cool old man I’d make stepping out of this place everyday.
Come on in on Monday at three o clock pm. Wear steel toe boots if you have them.
I’d like to thank you for giving me this opportunity. I really need the work and I won’t let you guys down. I’ll do whatever you guys tell me to do. I mean—you guys are the boss here—just point me in the right direction. I’m a real straight shooter—hard worker—you’ll be proud for hiring me. You’ll see.
Well that’s real fine then Joe. We’ll see you on Monday.
And that was how it went down. I had a job. I felt good. Like a real person w/ goals, journeys and destinations before him. I celebrated the night by putting a twelve pack and a fifth of Jack on a credit card and headed back to my four walls and watched movies until I had to be to work on Monday. I tried not to think about her. At least not too much.