Day 11. Interview with a Tyrant

Day 11: Your character gets trapped in an elevator with someone he or she is afraid of (you decide why) . . .

Juliet had an interview this morning which she failed miserably. All her preparations, research, and portfolio presentation did nothing to help her get the job she so wanted. Who knew it would be so difficult to get a Production Assistant job? She worked with a Construction Company for years having had no prior experience or qualifications yet she grew and was promoted left, right, and center. Now she felt it was time to try something else and was unceremoniously rejected on her first attempt.

The worst part about her rejection today was the fact that she and her rejecting interviewer were now stuck in the elevator at that precise moment the light went out. How could this day get any worse she wondered but decided against it as the universe had a way of answering those kind of questions.

As she sat quietly in her corner of the elevator wishing the electricity would come back any minute now, she looked over at Mr. Shaw who stood in the far corner, hands in his pocket, head resting against the elevator wall. What made him so miserable, she wondered.

Juliet had arrived about half an hour early for her interview. As she waited she observed the comings and goings of her fellow interviewees. Those that entered the room all ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ left with frowns upon their faces. One woman actually left in tears. By the time she entered the room, she expected the worst. There at the center of the table was Mr. Shaw with his grimace, flanked on either side by two lovely ladies but it was later evident they were just for show. Neither of them spoke during the entire interview; the interview was Mr. Shaw’s – he ran this show.

With a glance at Juliet’s resume and the deepening of his frown, Mr. Shaw dismissed Juliet just as fast as she had entered the room. There was no preamble, no rapport to build, no opportunity to sell herself, just a “Thanks for coming in but unfortunately you are not even qualified for this interview let alone the job. Have a nice day.” Juliet was in the process of sitting when he said this. She stared at him in disbelief as he started to gather his documents. The other two ladies smiled at Juliet and left, shortly followed by Mr. Shaw. Juliet stood dumbstruck for a moment. She then headed toward the elevator and once inside she pressed the Ground Floor button without thinking about it. Just as the doors were about to close Mr. Shaw stuck his hand through the door so they would open for him. He stepped into the elevator without a nod, a smile, any form of acknowledgement. Juliet held her head high and looked straight ahead as the doors closed a second time.

On their way down from the fourteenth floor the light went out and the elevator jolted to a stop. Juliet was a bit claustrophobic but dared not appear any weaker than in her interview with Mr. Mean-Face. As the elevator lights switched to an amber hue Juliet took a seat on the floor. Thankfully she wore a pant suit to this interview. She took off her jacket as she knew the elevator would eventually get hot. So did Mr. Shaw who then leaned back against the elevator wall.

Juliet looked up at Mr. Shaw and shook her head.

“What is it?” He asked startling her.

“What, what?” She asked regretting not answering more intelligibly.

“You looked at me and shook your head. What was that for?” He pointed out.

“Ah . . .”

“Didn’t anyone tell you not to start an interview response with ‘ah’?” Mr. Shaw spoke in a fatherly tone which made Juliet squirm.

Before she replied this time, Juliet shook her head to clear her thoughts. This man intimidated the life out of her but she could not show him that. He didn’t even look that much older than her. He had no grey hair, no wrinkles, well except for the ones his frown made, his skin wasn’t discolouring, in fact, he looked too young to be directing any kind of interview. As Juliet analysed Mr. Shaw she began to eliminate those factors that intimidated her about him and soon, he was just a guy she met on the fourteenth floor, especially since she wasn’t getting the job. Juliet felt she didn’t need to be on pins and needles with this guy, not any more.

“First of all, you didn’t give me the opportunity of an interview, remember? And secondly, I was wondering what made you the way you are.” Juliet drew her shoulders back even though she sat on the floor.

“The way I am? What way am I?” Mr. Shaw asked.

“Miserable, unpleasant, Scrooge-like, antagonistic, unfr-” Juliet responded before Mr. Shaw even finished his question.

“Ok I got it. Wow, you have a lot to say without really knowing me, don’t you?”

“You rejected me without knowing me also.” Juliet shot back.

“Fair enough.” Mr. Shaw replied thoughtfully.

“What makes you think you’re capable for this job?” Mr. Shaw asked after a moments thought.

“Oh don’t patronize me now. I didn’t get the job, and right now I don’t want it if it means I’ll see you on a regular basis. My job is perfectly fine for now.” Juliet brushed him off. The truth is she still wanted the job, she knew she could learn a whole universe of things with a job like this, but the prospect of working with or for Mr. Shaw put her off the job more than the rejection did, and the way she was rejected will haunt her for a lifetime.

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” Mr. Shaw resigned.

“And I’m sorry you went through whatever it was that made you . . . like this.” Juliet waved her hand in his general direction and even under the amber glow, she could see the frown on Mr. Shaw’s face. Oddly enough, this frown was slightly different from the interview scowl. Now he looked offended, wounded even, despondent.

“I . . . shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.” Juliet added quickly. Mr. Shaw shook his head when the lights came back on and elevator jerked downward.

Juliet started to get up when Mr. Shaw gave her his hand.

“Thank you,” She said grateful for the help in the moving elevator.

“Listen, I’ve thought about it and I’d like for you to come and do a proper interview.” Mr. Shaw said.

“Ah . . .” Juliet didn’t know what to say but remembered that she shouldn’t start her responses with an ‘ah’. “I’d love to but I already took the day off for this interview, I can’t take another day off to be rejected again.” She was grateful for the suggestion but she felt things went too far, she threw the notion out the window long ago when she became stuck in the elevator with Mr. Shaw.

“Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to persuade you?” Mr. Shaw gave her an ingratiating smile which threw her for a loop. Who was this man and where was he hiding all along? She smiled back only because he was a real looker when he smiled and this was obviously a once in a lifetime occurrence.

“I’ll think about it if you’ll think about smiling more often.” She smiled both inwardly and to Mr. Shaw.

He flinched a bit but recovered quickly. “Fair enough. I’ll call you with the new date and time?” He said as the elevator reached the ground floor and the doors pinged open.

“I’ll look forward to it.” Juliet smiled one last time and stepped out into the lobby.

The End.


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