A few years back I was (apparently) overlooked for a barista job at a major-coffee-retailer-that-shall-not-be-named because (apparently) I didn’t pass their psychological test. You know, those *quick, 40-minute online questionnaires that ask if you are definitely, likely or somewhat capable of public lewdness, ingesting illegal substances or ratting out Dwight Schrute for napping in the break-room. Initially I chalked it up to the glass of Pinot that was perched next to my laptop while I took the test (which — fine — may have impacted my honesty. Hell yeah, of course I can take criticism AND work alone AND be a team player AND …) but I really couldn’t help but think, seriously?
I am educated. And at times well versed. And (mother of four: present!) an ass-kicking multi-tasker. Yet when that ambiguous and awkward application was sent into cyberspace, nary a response came back.
My friend — who not only worked there but had urged me to apply — was speechless. She’d revealed the place was so short-staffed and desperate for help they couldn’t even cover all the shifts. When she inquired about my application she got the news: in their street-light benchmark of attractive applicants I was classified as “yellow,” which of course is better than the flagged (you must be psychotic) “red” but not as desirable as the (you must be Stepford) “green” distinction.
She must have given her bosses a pretty convincing you-have-GOT-to-be-kidding-me spiel because as soon as she intervened they pulled my file out of their Won’t-Go-Postal-But-Just-Might-Steal-A-Scone folder and called me in for an interview.
It was too late, though. I won’t lie: the chip on my shoulder had already formed.
Still, I was curious so I went in.
The store manager appeared pleased that I seemed to have all my faculties intact. She went through the typical interviewing process and smiled and laughed at many of my aloof, sharp, and not-meant-to-be-cute responses (sample: “So Tina, why do you think you’re a good candidate for this job?” “Well, I’m not going to stand behind the counter and text my friends.” If I remember correctly that answer came out without even a hint of a smile on my face.
I was offered the job on the spot.
I didn’t accept the position but it was for the best. I’m not much into designer coffee anyway and I would definitely be rolling my eyes at my texting teen co-workers. I moved onto greener pastures where (lucky for me) all colors of crazy are embraced.
Still, it makes me wonder about all the good applicants that slip through the cyber cracks every day for countless reasons we’ll likely never know.
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and has been featured in HuffPost. She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook & @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here