Uptown Rantz

Don't Wanna Be No Uptown Fool

I’ve Been Looking Forward To This…

It’s been so long since I’ve worn a suit that I forget to button the top suit coat button.  All the time at Thomson Reuters has negated the need for a professional wardrobe.  I arrive downtown for the interview 45 minutes early and mill around City Center…everyone walks fast around here. I rehearsed three days for this one day.  I had my shoes professionally polished and memorized the company’s quarterly earnings from Hoovers.com.  The first words out of my mouth will be, “Thank you for meeting with me.  I’ve been looking forward to this.”

I want to look clean and organized, so I left the leather shoulder bag at home.  I carry only an 8 ½ x 11 portfolio and the day’s Star Tribune. I thought the Wall Street Journal would be pushing it a little. I was told I’ll meet first with the recruiter and then with the woman who I’ll report to if hired.  A Linkedin connection informed me that the recruiter recently competed in the Twin Cities Marathon.  And my connection made it a point to emphasize that she competed in it as opposed to merely running in it.  Either way, it’ll be my ice-breaker.

I want to arrive exactly five minutes early to minimize the wait and the nerves.  I figure I’ll leave about two minutes to check-in with security and to get to the appropriate floor.

I tell the security desk that I’m here for an interview.  The corporate entrance has the look and feel of an expensive hotel.  The two guards are extremely professional – they’re wearing ties and look like FBI agents.  I can’t imagine they stare at girls and make locker room remarks, like I’ve seen the TR guards do.

Off the elevator and I approach the room number that I had written on a post-it note in my wallet.  I open the door and a twenty-something brunette with a telephone headset smiles directly at me from behind her U-shaped desk.  The past seven days of Crest whitening strips allows me to return the smile just as confidently.  I politely decline her offer of coffee or water and take a seat in a comfortable chair.  I slip two Altoids into my mouth.

Everything is nicer and cleaner here.  It’s intimidating.  Everyone walks with a purpose and it looks like they want to be here.  It’s refreshing. In situations like this, it’s easy to tell yourself that your clothes aren’t as nice as everyone else’s, your hair isn’t as cool, you didn’t have an exciting weekend like they all had, etc…but I can’t do that.  It’s just a different environment than the one I’m used to.  Damn Thomson Reuters has given me post-traumatic stress.

I’m waiting and thinking of the various ways this job would change my present circumstances: the starting salary would instantly boost me to a higher tax bracket, I would be a better dressed person every day, my commute would change to a ten second walk to the bus stop and a short #6 ride from Uptown to downtown, I would have an array of upscale bars and restaurants at my disposal for happy hours instead of Jake’s sports bar, I would be introduced to the world of annual bonuses and raises and gone would be the days of repeatedly hitting the snooze button in dread of another day.

Now I’m eager.  Not just plain ordinary eager, either.  I mean Budd Foxx-waiting-to-meet-Gekko-for-the-first-time eager.  “Life comes down to a few important moments, and this is one of them,” said Mr. Foxx.  Time to Pretend by MGMT is melodically buzzing through my head…let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives.

There’s a hallway to the left of the reception desk.  I can’t see around it, but I recognize the recruiter’s voice from our phone conversations and she’s approaching.  She’s now walking towards me with a smile and an out-stretched right hand.  I extend mine.  “Thank you for meeting with me.  I’ve been looking forward to this…”

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