Monday, January 20, 2014

From Conducting a Job Interview to Sharing her Life Story

My mom offered a wonderful suggestion, which I quickly accepted, given that the opportunity rarely arises. My parents, who are visiting from out of town, would watch the twins, so the girls and I could go out and enjoy some quality time together.

After lunch, I packed a bag of snacks and snatched another already-prepared bag (of coloring books, white paper, and retractable colored pencils), adding a box of toys that are for outings only (a bunch of Disney princess in MagiClip dresses, with extra dresses to play with); and the girls and I headed out to Starbucks.

We were at Starbucks for over an hour, starting with: eating the snacks I packed, drawing, and then playing with the princesses...

For a majority of the time we at Starbucks, I could not help but overhear the job interview taking place at the table immediately next to us. I also noticed people a couple tables away from us, on the opposite side of where the interview was taking place, eavesdropping on the conversation, too.


Two women, perhaps in their 40's, who own a housecleaning business were interviewing a prospective employee, who happened to be a male (perhaps mid to latter 20's?), for a house-cleaning job. For the better part of 40-50 minutes, there were a lot of questions (presented by the women) and answers (provided by the man). What is your experience with cleaning? How is your attention to detail? How are you relationally with people? What is your work ethic? When would you be available to work? Do you have any known allergies to cleaning products?

The women provided explanations to frequently asked questions, such as: how much money can one expect to make? How much time can one expect to clean or work in one house?

Like experienced interviewers, the women concluded the interview by asking the man whether he had any questions. Will I (the man) be reimbursed for travel expenses, such as gas? How many clients will I have?


Might sound like I was too engrossed in that conversation to really fully participate in quality time with the girls.

I was still very much involved in what the girls did (except I didn't play with the Disney princesses; I just watched) and participated in conversation with them. Call to ability to people-watch while enjoying my own company 'multitasking,' if you will.

Seemed like the interview reached a natural close, and the man got up and was about to leave.

What happened next was a bit strange.

I cannot remember the exact words one of the women delivered, but it was addressed to the man and content was basically,

You didn't hear that I needed a new kidney and my husband provided me with that kidney?!

She proceed to present her lengthy monologue.

Keep in mind the man was getting ready to walk away, after finishing with the formal part of the interview.

Some of the personal life stuff I overheard included: she recently was in a really bad car accident, which left her body, including a kidney, in really bad disrepair. She didn't learn about the extensiveness of the damage immediately. She was nearly blind, and neither her nor her eye doctor could figure out why. She had hypertension through one of her pregnancies (she has three children: five years old, six years old, and ten years old) that continued, and some medical person thought that perhaps the continued hypertension could be responsible for the impacted sight. Later, medical experts were able to detect that a kidney was not only really damaged, but also the damaged kidney was causing other internal bleeding.

The sharing of the most recent high impact events in her life had lasted over 10-15 minutes and was still continuing when the girls and I left to go home. The man gave up his attempted departure and sat back down at the the table with the women. I could not help but feel sorry for the man. Did he stay because he badly needs the job or because he really is, at heart, a counselor and wants to lend a listening ear? I am all for being authentic and sharing one's true self, but, I am not so certain it was appropriate for one of the interviewers to spend that much time sharing her personal story, especially when none of it related to the job or the prospective employee. Awkward as well.

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