I Aced My First Job Interview Even Though I Showed Up Soaken Wet and A Little High
I am fourteen years old and walking into town from the acreage where I am forced to live like a recluse. A set of train tracks runs directly from the back of our property and into the town. Walking the tracks is a shortcut of sorts, that is, if one is brave enough to stroll alongside them. There’s always the possible risk of having to jump into the ditch if you hear the familiar whistle of the train. And then those old engineers yell at you through their tiny side window, and that’s always super lame.
A small bridge made from rotting wood marks the halfway point from my place out in the middle of nowhere (a 5-minute drive from the outskirts of town) to all of my friends’ much more accessible homes located within the town of Sylvan Lake.
I love Sylvan Lake with a fierceness that borders on obsessive behaviour. There is always something awesome happening. Partying on the pier with 50+ kids from school or skinny dipping in the lake once the sun has gone down.
I’m meeting my friends at the ancient rotted bridge that’s on the outskirts of town — our halfway point.
There are days when a train conductor might find upwards of ten teenage girls dangling their feet over the edge of the bridge, smoking pot out of a discarded beer can gleaned from the ditch below. Only to start scrambling in our miniskirts out of the line of fire when the rumble of the track would give the signal of an oncoming train.
After a quick smoke break at the bridge, we make our way to the beach. There we meet up with friends, gossip about the other friends who are not there and push each other off the pier into frigid green waters.
I am just about to throw myself into the water, showing off my exceptional swimming skills when I remember I need to call home to check in with Mom.
Since this is a time before cell phones — well, a time before every single teenager has a cellphone — I am forced to use the payphone like a peasant.
Being young is a beautiful thing because I can still run without having to keel over every minute or so and dry heave from overexertion. So I run to the payphone with ease and dial my house number.
“Hey Mama, sorry I’m late calling,” I say. A suspiciously gooey white substance on the side of the receiver catches my eye.
“Well, it’s a good thing you did call! A woman named Sheri just phoned from KFC and wanted to bring you in for an interview.” Her voice is chiding. “Anytime this afternoon is fine she said.”
“Awesome! I think that calls for L-Y-N-D-Z-E…” I had concluded a few months prior that the regular spelling of my name was too commonplace, so I came up with this jazzier spelling and was using it often to try to get it to catch on. It never did, aside from my little circle. My small circle being solely me.
Upon hearing my self-proclaimed cheerleading, Mom cuts me off immediately, “Okay, just get over there. It’s about time you get a job,” She says.
“Yep, will do, Mother Dearest!”
As I run across the street and back to the pier, the storm clouds move in.
Sylvan Lake is not a big town, so it’s only about a 5-minute walk to the KFC from where we’re camped out. Perhaps if I hadn’t taken the time to brag about my new job position that I hadn’t yet got, I would have missed the rain.
Maybe if I hadn’t foolishly taken those extra few moments to pull from the circulating joint, I wouldn’t have had to task my friends with the unfortunate job of wrestling me down to stick drops in my eyes. While screaming mixed messages at them like, “JUST DO IT! DISREGARD MY FLAILING!”
“I can’t show up with bloodshot eyes!”
“You’re killing me. I can feel the liquid hitting my brain!”
The downpour starts as soon as I set off, and it hits with full force. By the time I reach the doors of the chicken place, I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the large restaurant windows that look out onto the lake.
There stands a girl in a jean miniskirt.
The mascara that had been layered on that morning with practised ease now runs mournfully down her cheeks. Her hair is the colour of Pennywise’s unruly mop due to a lousy dye job the week before. She likens her long multicoloured scarf to a personal amulet — never to be taken off despite the sweltering heat. The scarf is now sodden with rainwater and weighing her down.
Despite all this, I press on. Maybe that’s because I have a good feeling about this place or, it might just be a raging case of teenage arrogance.
“Hi, there!” I say to the woman behind the cash register. She has one of the kindest smiles I’ve ever seen.
“Hi,” She says and holds out her hand to shake mine, “you must be Lindsay.”
My interview with the manager, Sheri, is less intimidating and more like a couple of old friends meeting for the first time. We talk about my dishevelled appearance, and she tells me there’s been more than one time she, too, has been caught in the rain.
She shows me around the little restaurant as if I’ve already got the job. She laughs at my super lame food puns, and I’m surprised I have the wherewithal to even make a joke in a job interview scenario.
After an hour of coffee and chatting, Sheri tells me I’ve got the job. I am a little bit flabbergasted because the interview wasn’t an interview at all. At least not one that I ever imagined. She gives me some starting paperwork to fill out at home and bring back the following weekend when I am to have my first training shift.
I think, wow, if all interviews are like this, I’ll never have a problem getting a job.
It turned out I wouldn’t need to look for another job for some time after that.
Sheri ends up being one of my closest friends over the next six years and helps me through some of the most challenging times during a difficult teenage life.
She gives me shit for the dumb things I do — like showing up to a job interview high. However, one year later, under Sheri’s tutelage, I am promoted to shift supervisor.
I stay at KFC until I am 19. There I meet my future-husband Jamie, although we won’t go on to date seriously and get married until years later.
I will experience some of the best and worst times in that place. I learn responsibility and accountability. I learn how to work as a team. Even though most of the time, that team teases me relentlessly, I come to love all of my coworkers like family.
At my first job as a fried chicken slinger, I learn to understand why work is so vital to the human experience. Coming from two very hard-working parents, I’ve always had a strong work ethic, but maintaining a job at the young age of 14 years old, and loving that job, helps to secure a passion for work for the rest of my life.
Most importantly, I discover how to work for my coin, all thanks to a nice manager lady who decides to take a chance on a dishevelled teenager who shows up for an interview with red eyes and a big smile.