Today I officially re-entered the job-hunting jungle. It wasn't an actual interview, but it was my first appointment with a potential employer. How was it? Mortifying, actually.
I was told to come for a test that would take 3 hours (or less, if I was fast). When I buzzed the door, the receptionist wasn't there to let me in. Soon, she appeared from an inner room and pushed the button to allow me to enter. She was about 22, stick-thin and wore a belly-exposing t-shirt, medium heels and tight jeans. Tossing her long wavy hair, she asked my name, then sat me down in a small room where 2 employees were already working, and handed me the test. She told me to write all the answers (with a pen!) on the plain white paper she provided, except for one small computer-testing part which should be done and saved on the computer.
She didn't offer me water or let me know where the washroom was. She disappeared again. The guy at the desk behind me farted repeatedly but never said a word.
The first part of this 3-hour test started with a section entitled Logic, and noted that it was worth 15 points. (???) The first question involved two cyclists heading toward the center of the country, one beginning in Eilat (in the south) and the other in Metulla (the north) and a fly that was fascinated with these two cyclists and insisted on flying back and forth between them until they met in the middle. If the cyclists travelled at a rate of 15 mph and the fly at 30 mph, the burning question was, how many miles would the fly have flown by the time they met in the middle?
And this on only one cup of coffee and no breakfast! And people walked in and out talking to the woman sitting on my other side, and she talked on the phone, but somehow I managed to concentrate.
I recently read about the new penchant of employers to test their prospective employees' thinking processes with brainteasers of this nature, and it seems to me the point was not to find the precisely correct answer to the problem, but simply to see how their brains worked. So I wrote down my thinking process, figuring how long it would take the fly to travel 180 miles, then realizing that it wouldn't have to go that far, since the first cyclist would have travelled towards him, etc. etc. ... all the way along, I was suddenly realizing there were more details to take into account, but in the end I came up with something.
I was also asked to divide a clock face with 2 straight lines so that the numbers in each section would add up to the same amount. And how old you'd be now if your father was 31 when you were 8, and now he was exactly double your age. And to name 10 US presidents. And the value of pi.
And to define a number of English phrases, one of which was "your fly is down". Gevalt.
The strange thing is, I'm not even sure I was there, since I was barely acknowledged in the 3 long hours I spent in that office. Within an hour, my hand was throbbing, and I thought back to my grade two teacher who wrote in my report card, "must learn to hold her pencil properly" -- when computers took over the world, I thought I'd had the last laugh; sadly, no. I was thirsty and needed to pee. It was time for a self-imposed break.
I had to ask fart-guy where the washroom was. He told me it was out in the corridor on the other side of the locked door. I asked him for the code to get back in, and he told me, Just buzz and she'll let you in. But of course, the receptionist had disappeared. I went to pee, and came back to the locked door. I buzzed; the receptionist's phone rang and rang but she didn't appear. Finally, on my 3rd time, someone took pity and came to open for me. I finished the test, sort of; at 3 hours I felt I'd had enough and didn't care anymore. No one else seemed to either.
I picked up my test and looked for someone to give it to. All the thin young people were in the back room kitchen sitting and eating their lunch. I felt like the school geek interrupting the popular kids in the cafeteria. Where was the hole to disappear into? "Just leave it on the front counter," someone told me, while everybody else looked on with pity.
Insulted that I'd been robbed of 3 hours of my life without even a cursory 5-minute interview, I threw it on the counter and left, big ball of tension in middle of gut, needing to drive home and spew on something, somebody. There's clearly a lot of this sort of feeling in Israel, which would explain the way people drive. I was much more aggressive and careless than I have been in a long while, and was lucky not to have anyone similar run into me.
First of all, I felt like a meaningless piece of detritus. This, I know, is a silly false creation of my own mind, since the way I was treated today actually reflects on the manners of the people I ran into, and not on my own value. And yet, there it was. It came from the powerless state of needing to find a job, make money, have some control over my finances so that I can end the constant arguments over domestic expenses.
And it came from seeing that damn little sexpot (and all those other magazine-perfect 20-somethings) prancing around the office reminding me that I can't trade in that commodity anymore. I felt old
. If this were a Toronto office, people would at least be a variety of ages, many of them would be overweight, and they'd be dressed somewhat professionally so as not to encourage leering and sexual harassment. But this is the "silicon wadi"
-- Herzliya, Israel's hi-tech world, and it's full of baby geniuses with unwrinkled faces and no manners.