Vitamin G, I’d like to add another job to your list.
In my quest to escape unemployment, I applied for a few jobs outside of the higher education field. One interview was quite memorable.
A local performing arts center/museum listed a job posting for a “Gallery Educator” position. As per the job description, the position required a Bachelor degree in Art, Education, English, or a related field. I have one of those! Plus a Master in Education! And I still didn’t have a job! So I applied.
Much to my excitement, I received an invitation to interview for the position. I showed up to the center dressed in my snazzy black interview suit, checked in with the information desk, and waited patiently for the interviewer to greet me. Just then, West Virginia’s version of Ms. Frizzle walked through the door —imagine long black frizzy hair with bangs, thick, red-rimmed glasses, a black smock, cargo pants, Vans, and dozens of hemp bracelets running up and down her arms. And to top it off, her name was totally made up. I don’t want to share her actual name and reveal Ms. Frizzle’s alias, but just make up a name and you’ll get the idea (examples to get your mind moving: Shitis Bananas, Cheesein Crackers, Fatty McButters).
Ms. Frizzle sticks out her hand, grabs mine, shakes it violently, and smiles with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. “LOOK AT YOU! All dressed up!”
“Thanks! I do my best,” I reply while internally thinking, “Um, this is an interview, right? You’re supposed to wear suits to interviews, lady.”
We proceed through the center, passing by a corridor that led to the offices of the state’s symphony orchestra. We reached Ms. Frizzle’s office, a cubicle in a large room with many other cubicles with crazy, random stuff ALL OVER the place. And when I say crazy, random stuff, I mean lizards and snakes in glass tanks, photos of sideshow freaks, paper flowers, newspaper clippings, brightly colored mobiles, bumper stickers; you name it, it was hanging on the wall, ceiling, or someone’s cubicle. Ms. Frizzle was sure to proudly point out the artsy clutter and I responded with a lame joke “Yeah, I’m sure that your office looks a lot different than the symphony’s.”
Ms. Frizzle cackled endlessly and then finally declared “You’re so funny!” Wow, I’m all dressed up AND hilarious, I’ve got this interview in the bag. She then asked me the first (and what would turn out to be the last) question of the interview with a toothy smile, “Tell me about you and why you’d like to work here. You are quite overqualified!”
From this point on, she detailed the Gallery Educator position—developing educational exhibits, performing science demonstrations, interacting with patrons. Sure, the job sounded pretty much like the job described on the website, but it was oh so much more. Ms. Frizzle went on to explain that a Gallery Educator’s work week begins on Wednesday and lasts through Saturday, 9pm-6pm. “The museum is open on the weekends so no weekends off,” she lamented. But I did learn that if after working there for six months, you’d like to request ONE weekend day off, it MAY be considered. Phew, what a relief!
And then Ms. Frizzle got very serious as she explained that every two weeks, gallery educators perform one of the most important tasks within the museum; it’s so important, that these employees must stay two to three hours past closing to perform it. Gallery educators must clean the ball pit. Yes, ball pits that you’ve seen at amusement parks and McDonald’s and the same ball pits that kids defecate in, one of the responsibilities of this Bachelor degree required position is to clean this plastic cesspool every two weeks to ensure that it is in fact the cleanest ball pit in West Virginia. To make matters worse, Ms. Frizzle was also sure to point out the compensation for this position—$7.50/hour.
The interview was concluded by offering me a free pass to the museum and an exclamation by Ms. Frizzle, “You are just lovely! We will be calling you for a second interview soon!” (Oh goodie! I screamed inside thinking of a tactful way to decline the upcoming second interview).
But, you know, the most “kick in the face” aspect of this job interview wasn’t the fact that this position required me to work weekends or clean the ball pit, or even that it paid a measly $7.50/hour. After being impressed with my attire, my experiences that deem me “quite overqualified,” my sense of humor, and being assured that I would receive a second interview, those hippie bastards never even called me back.