An interview at Murphy’s Law Firm

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Tim Gouw/Creative Commons

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You walk through the corridors in search of a directory that can lead you to the suite where the second round of the interview process will take place.

The first round went well; very well, actually. They called you over the phone, and though you just woke up in your underwear across your bed with a Netflix stream paused on your laptop and Cheez-It crumbs scattered across your shirt, your phone provided you with great signal reception, and you lilted — frolicked, really — through your voice smoothly and confidently while explaining your experience at the internship you took over the summer. You even managed to get a laugh out of the interviewer when you mentioned how the unpaid work earned you valuable karma points (actually, you aren’t 100 percent sure if that was a laugh or an awkward cough that came out of the interviewer. They also had a really thick accent, because the company interviewing you outsources a lot of its work, so you’re not sure if the joke was lost in translation).

But the person over the phone did mention that you nearly met all of the qualifications they were looking for; you obtained a degree from a prestigious university (although yours was more Tier 2 compared to the other applicants they usually come across), your internship at a legal office in your hometown brought you the invaluable experience they felt you needed to prepare you for this role (although they were technically looking for someone with at least five years experience), you knew how to navigate through the necessary bookkeeping software needed for your position (although the program that they use was something made by developers in Finland in the late ‘90s, so you were unfamiliar with it), and your typing certification proved that you were able to type at more than 75 words per minute (although they also wanted to see how fast you could type in Hindi, in case they felt your work would be better used somewhere in India).

After finding a directory, you find out the suite is on the 26th floor of this tower block and realize that the elevators are out of order because someone at your potential new law firm filed a lawsuit against the building for not updating their permit code. You look at your watch and see that your interview is now in 13 minutes, so you go towards the stairs and begin to run.

4,246 steps later and almost 300 feet higher, you find yourself on the 26th floor, heaving in the thin air wafting around you, and you walk up to the concierge and tell them that you have an interview in 2 minutes and ask if you could borrow their bathroom. You make a joke to her about how you can’t believe the work you did at your alma mater could only get you two interviews over the summer, before finding out that she wasn’t actually the concierge but the CEO of the company waiting to interview you there. She asks you which university you attended. You tell her Berkeley. She tells you she went to Stanford.

The sweat underneath your armpit intensifies.

Contact Paul Martin at [email protected].

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