Scarred for Life

Last month I posted about the hunt for my very first job out of college, one of those horror stories that you actually do laugh about one day. Many years later.

I mentioned in that post that I had another horror story, and with it being the New Year and with many people looking for new jobs, I thought it would be a perfect time to share.

Plus, I actually thought of the incident while lifting weights this morning, and I couldn’t stop laughing. It gives a great perspective to moments, how we can view them years later.

The best job I ever had, besides being a freelance blogger/writer/social media/marketing gal as I am now, was at a non-profit organization in Waltham. I worked there for almost four years and did all sorts of things but eventually found my calling in Marketing-Communications. I had the best boss and colleagues ever; really, I was completely spoiled with such a perfect setup early on in my career. On one hand, it will be difficult for anything to ever live up to this job where my all female colleagues and I would work super hard. . . and laugh even harder.

The bliss lasted for years before some changes were made to the organization turning it from a great place to work into a place that was unbearable, all due to one person. Maybe I will tell that story another day. . .

I followed that gig with another non-profit, a great organization that ended up being not busy enough for me, and thus my search began again.

Too good to be true. Too good to be true.

I was called for a phone interview for a job in the suburbs north of Boston. The job paid REALLY well including major bonuses, had some awesome benefits, and provided me with a free vacation every year. Like an actual trip somewhere in addition to salary and bonus and a cool work environment.

I started the in-person interview process on a freezing cold winter day. My first task? A personality test and a meeting with a few key people in Marketing.

Apparently this went well, because I was invited back four times to interview again and again, with Vice Presidents, prospective colleagues, and again with the HR person who interviewed me initially.

All along, I was warned about the very long hours of the job, which would be planning and marketing conferences, but it seemed like the pay was well worth it, and I was longing to be busy.

The final step was to meet the company President.

I took another afternoon off of work for this final meeting. It was my sixth or seventh interview. I had to get the job, right?

I felt like I was on Punk’d.

The President was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, eating a giant cookie, and drinking a big gulp of soda, with her foot up on a chair. No judgments, just strange for an interview, right?

When the door was closed and we began talking, she started to tell me the weaknesses she saw in me and that I reminded her of certain other employees, who she named, along with their weaknesses, perceived by her.

I think my eyes were like saucers by the time I left. It was the most bizarre “professional” encounter I have ever had. The HR woman told me should would be in touch by the following Wednesday.


I followed up with thank-you’s and a summary of why I would be great for the job. In hindsight, I should have followed up until I got some sort of answer after spending that much time interviewing, but even though it was just a few years ago, I felt so young. At the time, I thought I was scarred for life.

Some of you shared job hunting stories with me on my last post, if you have one and haven’t shared it, I would love to hear it now!

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Tags: employment, interviews, job hunting

  1. Michelle’s avatar

    OMG, this is HYSTERICAL. I can envision you sitting there while this person munched on their cookie and slurped down a big gulp!


  2. Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox’s avatar

    I think you were smart to not follow through anymore than what you had already done. What a crazy experience. Definitely not an environment you want to work in. I just feel for you sitting there all ready after doing so much, and there’s a hoodie with her cookie/big gulp dishing on all her people. Ugh. No team spirit there.


  3. Elina (Healthy and Sane)’s avatar

    How strange! I’m sure it was for the better. I don’t have horror stories :)


  4. Janel’s avatar

    Weird!!! Dont you wish they could have paid you for all that time taken off work interviewing!?


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Yes! It is already stressful enough searching for another job when you have a full time job. It was awful!


    2. Mellissa’s avatar

      I had a similar experience right after graduating with my MBA, I had 3 interviews with a company and I was taking vacation time because I was flying from Minneapolis to Philadelphia fora job interview. I was ready to move 1000′s of miles away for this job and we got to the offer stage and they decided they didn’t want to hire anyone!


      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        That is so frustrating! I only had to drive 30 minutes, I can’t imagine flying for the interviews!


      2. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

        Oh my lord! That woman sounds nuts. I think you were probably better off not working for her!


      3. Sues’s avatar

        Whaaat?! That’s ridiculous! That’s what I hate about interviewing… You can put so much time and effort into it and it turns out to be absolutely nothing. Of course, they always say all experience is good experience, but it’s still frustrating. At least you can look back and laugh now :)


      4. Kelly’s avatar

        Wow.. that is yet another crazy story! Have you heard anything about the company since… like, whether it actually exists haha?


        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          I have seen similar job postings over the years with similar company names, but never the exact same. Which makes me think it was a little shady to begin with. The office was really nice!


        2. Amanda L.’s avatar

          Wow, that is an amazing and bizarre story. I would have been speechless at that interview with the President!


        3. Daisy’s avatar

          I can not deal with this!!!! literally, almost spit my wine out laughing.

          I don’t have any stories. nothing comparable. I’ve worked the same job since i graduated and i probably told you that last time too. haha


          1. traveleatlove’s avatar

            That is awesome that you have worked at the same job! I hope I don’t have any more horror stories to share :)


          2. Megan’s avatar

            That is nuts! You definitely have some great interview stories.


          3. Bridget’s avatar

            That is a CRAZY story!!! I can’t even believe that!!


          4. alicia’s avatar

            I just cannot believe that!! You have the weirdest job stuff happen to you!


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