Thursday, July 20, 2017

My (Three-month) Life in PR, Part 2: This interview is like a bad Raymond Chandler story

I was mesmerized by the ocean view. That must have been it. The ocean view and the money. Two things I didn’t have at my current job and wasn’t much averse to having in a new job. The unwell/injured dog situation had been taken care of and I had a date for the interview with W___ C____. The company wasn’t in an office so much as it was in a mansion by the ocean in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the type of seaside suburb that’s invariably described as “tony” in newspaper speak. I rang the doorbell and was asked to wait in the anteroom (okay, glorified hallway) for the company owner to come out. I felt like Philip Marlowe in the opening of The Big Sleep, not sure if the chair I was in was for sitting or show. The marble-floored room was filled with some kind of Freshman Intro to Art sampler pack. Nautical painting! Human torso sculpture! Japanese print! It was like someone was hired to go to a Sotheby’s auction and the only instructions given were to bid on “art.”

After about 10 minutes, the owner brought me into her office/conference room, directly overlooking the sun-dappled Atlantic Ocean on an especially dapply, sunny day. She wasn't in a wheelchair, and I wasn't offered bourbon, so the noir vibe faded a bit as the Stepford Wife feel ratcheted up. I don’t remember much of the interview, mostly because I stared at the gentle waves of the ocean. Goddamn, leave me alone, I want to work in PR because of blah, blah, blah use my skills to help with the blah de blah I’m just going to stare at this outcropping of rocks offshore. I was asked to “help” with a “project” they were working on, was given a pamphlet about some kind of ski school something or other and asked if I could come up with a headline for a possible press release. Of course I knew this was all bullshit and knew it wasn’t that they needed my help, but that it was an itsy bitsty testy type thing. I played along.

There was also a lot of talk about how my experience as a reporter would be a good fit for the position, and several questions about types of PR people I have dealt with, how a PR person could best reach a reporter and so forth. The honest answer was that, to the best of my ability,I tried not to deal with PR people. I did not give the honest answer.

I was asked if I thought the job would be something I thought I would like to do.
I started at the ocean, sunny and dappled.
I think this would be a perfect fit!
I drove home with the salt air in my nostrils drowning out any doubts that had begun to surface that I really had no idea what I would be doing if I got hired.
About a week later, the owner calls and offers me a salary about 25 percent over what I was making at my current job.
I’d be starting the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Next up, Part 3: I’ve Made a Huge Mistake


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