I moved to Vancouver when I was 19
A high school graduate with shorthand, accounting and typing. I had always worked after school and during summers so I expected to find a great job with all my references! Excited to move away from the little cow town!
On one of my job interviews…
In downtown Vancouver I was applying for a receptionist position. This was a company leading the way for other company’s on: “How to hire the right people for your business.” Now I don’t remember their name. But I do remember their office was full of packages, pamphlets and signs for “industrial psychology.” Something I had never heard of. They were very busy.
The test would take three hours…
I was informed at my interview I would have to undergo the testing they were teaching other company’s. If I wanted to come back after lunch they would have the test ready and it would take 3 hours. I had a folded newspaper in my purse with the days job opportunities. I wondered if I wanted to give up most of my day to one application.
I thought about it….
Then I realized – Heh! People pay big money for this and I get to do it for free. So I came back and sat down to a stack of papers. Most of the questions were multiple choice. When I finished – yes it was 3 hours – I went to their waiting room. In time I was called in.
And the results of the test are…
The man behind the desk looked at me with what appeared to be a mixture of kindness and sadness. Holding the papers in front of him he shook his head several times and then he apologized.
“I’m so sorry…I don’t know what to tell you. What you should do…”
You have the highest marks I have ever seen for someone in the field of writing…with music second and art third!”
He looked at me as if I should say something. I sat stunned. He continued. “I don’t have a clue on what to advise you…maybe…(and at this he really sounded doubtful)…more schooling?” Then he really perked up: “I can tell you would never be the right applicant for an office job!”
And this was just a receptionists job…
So I had wasted a whole day. One part of me agreed with him. I did love writing, music and art, BUT I had already proven myself out working in office jobs I had references for. I had all my high school training! I could do short hand! And this was just a receptionists job…I kept these thoughts to myself. I thanked him and walked out.
I like to think I went for a nice coffee…
Today, I haven’t forgotten the atmosphere of his office, his look and his words. I wish now I had looked deeper at what he told me.
I became Secretary to the highest paid scientist in forestry…
I did work in Vancouver in temp positions moving in and out of many office buildings. In the course I learned dictaphone and telex machines and zerox. I became secretary to the highest paid research scientist in forestry in Canada at that time. A two year hiring on Russian research called “Muka”. But in the end I became sick with agoraphobia.
Eventually I became a folksinger and a multi-media artist. My ability to juggle the work on the ranch gave me what most ranch women get. Expert ability to handle logistics. This meant I could organize shows with successful outcomes and I did! My typing has been invaluable and I still love short hand. But everyday I’m faced with the same dilemma my “tester” had.
I still don’t know what to tell myself about the writing, the music and the art.
Oh well. All’s well that ends well.
© Kathy Kidwell, 2015 True to You (no longer on-line)
©The Living of Loving, 2018