Thirty minutes before I was slated to be interviewed, I settled into a sofa in the lobby of the Westin O'Hare and practiced my presentation. Across the hall, I noticed the woman I had met on the shuttle over from the airport, a woman interviewing for the same position but based in Denver. I lowered my gaze and returned to my notes.
Almost four hours later, as I came through security, my phone rang. "How did it go?" asked the friend who had tipped me off to the job opportunity, the friend who worked where I was applying.
"Just before going in, I realized that the Smith transcript I oh-so-confidently included in my brag book noted a C+ in Medical Sociology. And I couldn't even yank it because 'transcripts' was listed in the table of contents."
"Don't worry about it."
"Medical Sociology. C+. It's a gig for a pharma company."
"No, I'm sure you were fine."
I turned off my phone, the battery almost dead, and sat down to eat a mediocre burger from an airport Chili's. Though I tried to read, my eyes couldn't focus. My jaw was tired from talking. My head ached from thinking. Halfway through the meal, I surrendered to my fatigue and waved down the server for the check. While I waited, I turned my phone back on and was immediately met with a text from the friend I had spoken with earlier: CALL ME!!!!
I took one last swig of my watered down margarita, scribbled my signature, and set off to find an outlet.
"Hey," I said as I leaned against the pale blue wall of a narrow hall connecting two terminals, the passageway cluttered with businessmen and pilots eager to recharge various forms of technology. "I just had a drink, figuring I could at the very least celebrate getting this far. Also, O'Hare never fails to deliver when it comes to suckiness."
"So I probably shouldn't tell you this but, um, the hiring executive I know just rang me. You got the job!"
"Nope, they loved you. They'll be calling tomorrow to make an offer but you need to pretend you don't know."
"Know what?" I asked, before breaking into a high pitched squeal that echoed throughout the airport.
When I got off the phone, I called Leslie. Next I rang my parents. And then I sent quick text messages to the few people who were in the loop. As I moseyed to my gate, I lapsed into a state of shock and disbelief. It wasn't that I questioned whether I was a solid candidate. Not once did I fear I had come across badly in person. But all of a sudden, my life was about to be turned on its head. More importantly, for all of the right reasons.