Firefly in Japan, Part 4: An interview gone wrong.
So, I had a good interview with Shane. No, a GREAT interview. I felt really good about the whole job. I was sure that Shane liked the cut of my jib, and I was certain that meeting the President was a formality. A job offer was sure to follow. Once again, I was riding Japan’s emotionalroller coaster , and I was again on top of the world, bouncing around and excited about my future prospects in this fascinating country. I returned home, and had a few drinks to celebrate with my victory. Who cares about 1,350 yen worth of beer? Soon I’ll have a proper full-time paying job, with benefits. And maybe a bonus! Yeah. And probably a free computer. I wonder if I get a free phone? I drunkenly wondered as I passed out in bliss.
I woke up to a slight headache, but the same feeling of jubilation. Today is the day!! Today I get a job in Japan. I get to stay in Japan! My enthusiasm bubbled up from inside me. I tried not to get my hopes up. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, and all that. But dammit, I felt it. This was it. All the signs pointed in the right direction, and that direction was a full time job in IT! The momentary lull in my enthusiasm overrode my hesitation, and I was bouncing around the room again. I forced myself to be still and sit down, and did whatever preparation I could. The hours dragged by like years, but finally, it was 4pm. Time to go claim what was mine. I borrowed a suit again from the same guy who was getting kind of shitty with me, and left.
I arrived at 4:50pm, and stood outside the office, watching people go in and out. I wonder when I’ll be a part of that crowd? Tomorrow? Maybe next week. I hope they don’t make me wait 2 weeks. I shook away the thought of trying to survive for 2 more weeks on cup noodles, empty interviews, and borrowed suits. I went up to the office, and waited until the time on the phone read 4:58pm. Not too early, but sharp, and on time. 4:58pm was a good time to call reception, I decided. I picked up the phone.
“Hello,” I said with confidence. “This is Firefly, and I have an interview at 5pm with the president.”
“Oh! Ok. One moment please.” A thin, attractive woman opened the door. Woow, I thought. I mentally shook myself and summoned back my professional veneer.
“Hello. Nice to meet you. I’m Firefly.” I smiled and extended my hand.
She returned my handshake with a soft moisturised hand, and smiled sweetly. FOCUS.
“Please wait here.” She directed me to a seat right next to the door.
I nodded graciously. Moments later, Shane from yesterday walked past.
“Ohh…… Um… Hello. How are you?” He said stiffly.
“I’m great thanks. I’m very much looking forward to meeting the president.” I said.
“Yeah…… Well he is coming soon. So could you wait a bit?” He asked.
“Absolutely!” I said, perhaps a bit too quickly.
Shane awkwardly excused himself and walked off. I took the opportunity to examine the office. It was a smallish office, seating around 12 people. It was mostly empty though, there were only four people. Out of those four, the thin, hot girl was talking on the phone. I wondered if she was a secretary. I forced my gaze away. There were a couple of other people working quietly. There was an odd atmosphere in the office; everything looked normal, but there seemed to be… something under the surface. I shrugged my shoulders in response to my suspicions. I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was work there. I would do anything.
I glanced at the clock on the wall. 5:08pm. 10 minutes already? That was fast. I wonder if the president is running a bit late. I continued looking around the room.
5:19pm. Hm, the president must have been held up. No problem – I’m going to blow him away as soon as he walks in. It’ll be the best interview he’s ever seen. I smiled.
5:31pm. I ran out of things to look at. I caught myself staring at the hot girl. I deliberately looked at the ceiling.
5:35pm. I started to get a little concerned. I thought about walking over to Shane and asking him about the delay. I decided against it.
5:44pm. I started thinking about talking to Shane again. I coughed. I reluctantly stood, and walked around the corner to Shane’s desk.
“It’s, um… I really don’t mind waiting, or anything, but um…. uhh, should I do anything? Or just hang around? Or?” I nervously asked. The last thing I wanted to do was offend my ally.
“Oh, he’s probably just been a bit held up. Don’t worry about it. Uhhh…. just have a seat.” Shane said.
“Sure, ok, no problem. I’ll be just over here.” I sat down.
The clocks ticking somehow seemed to get louder. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
I looked around the room. I looked at the hot girl. She caught me looking. I flicked my eyes away.
6:00pm. I’ve been sitting on a chair, waiting for an hour. Hm.
6:10pm. Did he forget the appointment? Is he coming? I’m starting to get a bit depressed. Maybe all of my excitement about getting a job was for nothing?
6:30pm. The hot girl left. Damn.
6:54pm. Is this some kind of joke? Are they waiting to see if I just leave by myself? I’ve been waiting nearly 2 hours. Is this part of the interview somehow? Surely not.
My thoughts were interrupted, as the door flew open. I immediately stood up. In a split second, I recognised the president of the company from a group photo pinned up on the notice board. Here it is, my time to shine. I extended my hand, and with a large, warm smile, I said :
“Hello. Pleasure to meet you, my na…” I was cut off, as he pushed his way past me, completely ignoring me. I was shocked into silence, frozen on the spot with my hand extended, looking like some kind of pathetic wax figure.
He walked over to his desk, sat down, and presumably, started checking his emails. I sat down, feeling dizzy. I briefly considered talking to Shane, but immediately decided against it. I’ll just wait here, I thought. No problem.
7:10pm. The president was focused on writing some kind of document. Everyone else had left the office. It was just me, Shane, and the president, who was still completely ignoring me. I deeply sighed, as I felt my previous certainty of getting a job evaporating. I started to feel sick. How much money did I have left?
7:15pm. Shane stands up, and walks over to the presidents desk.
“Uhh… he’s been waiting… don’t you want to… uhh… interview him?” Shane tentatively probed.
“What? Who?” The president snapped. My heart sank.
“Australian guy. Called Firefly. Seems pretty good with IT.” Shane said.
The president paused for what seemed like a very long time. Finally he uttered a long, embattled sigh. “Ok, fine. Whatever. Lets hurry up and do it then.”
My previous concerns, worries and depression vanished, as I stood up with a smile on my face, and confidently walked to the table, and sat down in front of the two men.
“Hello, pleasure to meet you.” I said with a smile.
The president regarded me coldly, as though I was stopping him from doing something he really wanted to do. I internally frowned.
“So. Firefly, from Australia, huh?” He said.
“Yes, thats right.” I confirmed.
“Soooooo………………..” he paused.
I sat there, trying to look professional, when I was actually feeling stupid, like I’d been trodden on, and then made fun of.
“Soo…. what do you do?” He finally asked.
“What do I do? Um, is that in reference to work? Personally? What do I do in Australia? or Japan?” I tried to get more information to better answer the question.
“Yes.” He said.
Shit. Pull it together. Come on.
“Well, in a personal sense, I came to Japan for martial arts. I also studied in Australia. Professionally, I worked in Australia doing IT. I gained experience and skills in various sectors of IT, ” I spent a few more moments explaining my skill and experience in IT. When I finally felt as though I had satisfactorily answered his general question, I stopped talking.
The president swivelled back and forth on his chair. It didn’t seem as though he was paying attention. Why won’t he at least look at me?
After the silence drew on for several more moments, Shane started to feel uncomfortable.
“Aren’t you going to, ask him anything?” Shane asked quietly.
“I did ask him something.” The president said, defiantly.
I sat there and tried to gauge my chances of staying in Japan. I looked at the president spinning back and forth on his chair, and I felt my chances shrinking even further. Then, he kicked me while I was down.
“Do you really want to do this?” Shane asked, slightly pertubed.
“Hmm… actually no. No, I don’t really want to do this.” The president decided, rolling his eyes and sighing. He fixed an apathetic look onto me. “Can you like, come back some other day, or something?”
I sat there, awash with emotion. My previous certainty of getting a job was crushed, and I felt upset, like I lost something important. I was angry too. After waiting more than 2 hours he just doesn’t feel like continuing? Thats BULLSHIT. My anger flared up, but was washed away with grief and shame, as I realised I wouldn’t be able to pay back my friends anytime soon. Then I was hit with a wave of regret, after I realised I spent all my food money on drinks last night. Shit. Shit, shit. SHIT.
“Oh, I see.” I restrained a sudden urge to fly across the table and grab him by his shirt, shake him and scream, “you bastard, this was it, this is my chance in Japan, and you don’t even give a shit? you don’t even care? whats wrong with you?” I was brought back to reality by Shane.
“I’m really sorry, about all that,” Shane said. The president looked out the window at nothing.
“No problem. I.. guess you guys must be… tired. I’ll just…. come back some other day. Nice to meet you. Thanks.” Looking back, after I stood up, it was like I was dreaming. I robotically walked out. I was so emotional my motor functions weren’t even working properly. I walked.
I walked, and walked. I was in a state of pure shock, depression, anger, fear, rage, depression, uncertainty, denial. All the emotions relentlessly attacking me. So I walked. I kept walking. I was vaguely aware of stopping for red lights. And walking on green lights. I walked. My head throbbed, but I kept walking. Very slowly, the emotions lost their edge. I kept walking. The emotions were still there, waiting for a chance to be aired out, and re-examined. I kept walking. The strength of the emotions lessened slightly. After some period of time, I stopped walking. My head still hurt, and my face was wet with tears of anger and disillusionment. I looked around, and realised I had no idea where I was. Uh-oh, I thought. I was tired, and my feet hurt. I checked my watch – 11:20pm. I’d been walking for nearly 4 hours. I asked the closet person where a station was, and I walked there, and got the train home. I collapsed into bed, my crushed hopes weighing down on me. I fell into a trouble sleep, to be awakened by another phone call the next morning at 8:30am…..
To be continued.