birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

I'm Fun?

Oh what a torment this prompt is! I just had a phone interview and I did terribly! Of all times to leave a horrible first impression! I went into the interview with confidence; this is a job made for me! I am qualified, capable, and enthusiastic. As promised, at 12:00 the phone rang. My first question was to describe myself, and for god’s sake I botched THAT ONE! I uptalked! I’m not sure what I said at first, but as I began to lose steam, or wade into that awkward pause territory, I swear I think I said, “I’m fun?” Shoot me now.

It is impossible to gauge your committee when on the phone. Are they all in the same room? Are they rolling their eyes? Are they waiting for me to say something? Am I waiting for them?
What do I do when things go wrong, or in high stress situations, someone asked. Like this phone interview? I choke. But in reality I have a plan. I say to myself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and “Is anyone in danger?” and then I assess my options and get to it. Seriously. But I had nothing. Nothing. “I taught middle school for 21 years?”

The very next day my boss had a medical episode in a bathroom at a conference. I assessed. I calmly said, “Okay,” and told her exactly what I was doing. I made sure someone was with her as I found help, got her into a wheelchair, got her safely back to the hotel. All smoothe as silk. In the interview I think I said something about transparency and rolling up my sleeves, which made absolutely no sense.

I said these words like I had memorized them: transparency, equity, passion. But no specifics. All generalities.

Why is it that when there is a chance to change your whole life trajectory, go from a commute on the interstate of an hour each way, traveling, and being disconnected to my community to being five minutes from home, being a part of the university which defines my town and my past, returning to an academic calendar…

Oh holy hell, I am such a pain in the ass.

Of all the terrible things going on in this world I’m lucky to have a job, one that is not connected to unions or tariffs, one with a retirement plan and Cadillac health insurance.

I just wish I’d made a better first impression on this chance to have an even better job.


First Impression or Lack Thereof