Stephanie Jeffery Carlino – Don’t Eat Lunch in the Dark

This will be a different kind of job interview story. This is one that takes a lesson from our childhood—I was always told, and I’m sure you were, if you didn’t have anything nice to say, say nothing. Sage advice, but I wasn’t smart enough to practice it.

I was young, that’s no excuse, but sometimes we mistake youth for a cape and feel we are invincible. At least I did.

I wanted to work in the hotel industry, and my family was well-connected, so it should come as no surprise that an interview was set up within a short amount of time. So I put on my best suit and went, prepared to conquer the world. The person I interviewed with was eating her lunch, wait—it gets better—in the dark. Yes, the dark, she said the lights gave her a headache. Anyway, she continued to eat. I said nothing.

In the dark, there was still daylight and it was enough for me to look around her office. She apparently collected things. McDonald’s beanie babies! Who did she think she was—Rosie O’Donnell? Her freaking office was a mess and I was beginning to get the heebie-jeebies from staring at the faces of those beanie babies. I found myself wondering who she knew that put her in such a position of power? She couldn’t even carry on a decent conversation.

As it went on I realized I didn’t want this job, but had to ace this interview; it was, after all, with friends of my father. But finally, at a certain point, I couldn’t help myself. The questions were getting insane. She asked what were my strongest points, and I said I was personable and professional. She asked what my worst trait was, and here is when I blew it as surely as if I had literally shot myself in the foot. My response? My abhorrence of stupidity.

Well, by the end of the interview two things were apparent—she had finally finished her lunch, and I was not working in the hotel industry.

I realize that I should have had better self-control, but over the years when I think back on this interview I laugh out loud…the joke is on me as she is still there is a well-respected position with standing in the community.

Go figure.

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