I’ve never felt more like cattle in my life

In the HBO Film based on the life of Temple Grandin, there is a scene where she demonstrates her design for handling cattle that is about to become food. They go in a lot of circles and are never really sure what is going on.

That’s how I felt on Wednesday.

I got a call on Tuesday asking me to come in for a secretary position that I applied for on CareerBuilder. I have given up on applying solely for jobs with nonprofit organizations, so I have been looking at others as well. I didn’t recall the name of the company as one I had applied to, but I agreed to an interview anyway because I need a job. The email confirmation was addressed from an advertising company. They asked me to come to the office at 10:45 AM, which seemed like an odd time, but I went with it.

I got up on Wednesday, took a shower, put on professional clothes, and drove to the interview. It was raining and gross out, and the belt on my engine slips when it gets when, so I got to deal with that on the second half of the drive there. That was a lovely feeling of panic that I didn’t really need. I found the building just fine. Found the stairs up to the second floor just fine, as well. Had to search for the right office for a moment, but I eventually got there. I walked in, ready to go.

It was like walking into a slaughterhouse, and I was about to become a piece of Grade A beef.

In the small lobby (and I use that term phenomenally loosely), there were already five other people waiting. From their dress and facial expressions, I could tell they were there for interviews as well. I checked in with the secretary, and she had me fill out some information about myself in addition to my resume. I handed it back to her and waited. I overheard the two people near me talking about their degrees in marketing. I wasn’t sure how to feel about this. I applied for the administrative assistant position. What hell did a marketing degree have to do with scheduling meetings? I kind of already knew I was screwed.

After waiting about five minutes, vaguely paying attention to the television that was on that seemed to only be showing commercials, which I suppose makes sense for an ad company, although there was a cable box, and I don’t know of a channel that only shows commercials. I was called in by a wall of a man. Not especially tall. Not remotely fat. But shit damn, was he broad. I shook his hand. My tiny fingers barely reached the edges of his palm. I have never felt so small in my life, not even when I was a child. He led me through a door, into a room filled with at least two dozen other people.

At this point, my brain may have exploded. Fortunately, I didn’t have to stay in this room for very long. Wall-Man’s office was the first door to my left, and it was very roomy. And I first, I wasn’t entirely sure which end of the desk I was meant to sit at. I quickly realized where I had to go, and sat down in a computer chair that was very close to the floor, probably making me look even shorter than I already am. Mr. Wall-Man quickly explained that their company handles advertising for huge retail chains with the stores themselves. He explained that they had an administrative position open, as well as several marketing ones available. This explains the marketing degrees in the lobby, as well as the mass of people in the room just outside the office we were currently in. He explained that the marketing positions were all about growth and being on the fast-track. A new employee would be  running their own campaign in six months. He made it sound like I should think it was the greatest job in the world. But it wasn’t the job I wanted. It wasn’t even the one I applied for. He probably asked me four times if I was sure I wanted to apply for the administrative assistant position and not one of their marketing positions. I gently assured in him the least nothing-sounds-like-less-fun-to-me way possible that I had zero interest in marketing. He asked what I could bring to the table. I told him I was good at organizing chaos and making it habitable. He informed me they were doing mass interviews today (because I am clearly too stupid to have noticed this on my own already) and that they were going to be doing second round interviews in the next couple of days. He asked me if he called today, would I be able to come in for an interview tomorrow? I told him I would definitely be able to. He then shook my tiny hand in his enormous one, and I was on my way. The whole exchange lasted no more than five minutes. In that short space of time, we were interrupted twice. I felt like a cow who was declared to fatty and not muscle-y enough to be food, but hey, maybe someone would enjoy using me for leather. I walked out wanting the job even less than I did when I walked in. I spent more time driving to the interview than I did in the office altogether.

Needless to say, I wasn’t particularly broken up when Wall-Man didn’t call me back for round two. Instead, I got a call from temp agency who noticed that I applied for one of the jobs they had posted on one of the many job finder websites. In fact, I applied for several in the same manner. They wanted to bring me in for an interview yesterday, after taking a couple of MS Office assessments. I blew those tests out of the water. The temp agency already has an idea of a temp-to-hire posting for me, they just need clearance from the company first.


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