Sometimes, do you ever commit to something even though you know it’s going to be shit? But the pessimist and the idealist inside you are curious to see how everything plays out. Like how shit will this actually be? Will it exceed my expectations, will it not? I’m intrigued.
Intrigued enough to wake up at 7am for a meeting that starts at 9am.
The day of the meeting the sky had a piercing look because it was covered in grey clouds that looked like they were ready to implode. My motivation to leave my house was already wavering. The guy I was meeting was starting his own business and was looking for a graduate web designer so I messaged him through LinkedIn and emailed my CV because it’s freelance and I’m bored.
By 7:15 I had watched 3 YouTube videos on how to layer your clothes in order to ‘make the perfect autumnal outfit’: their words not mine. I decided to peel myself away from the heat of my bedroom radiator so I could get dressed and after dedicating an entire 15 minutes I had successfully managed to ‘make a mediocre autumnal outfit.’
Usually, when I have to drive somewhere new, my younger brother, Ashok or one of my friends will offer to come with me because I always manage to get lost. I know these aren’t the words of someone who aspires to be a strong, independent, woman of the 21st century but I have literally been told that I lack geographical common sense.
So I usually leave one hour early because whilst on a 20-minute route I will get lost for about 30 minutes and need to compensate for the time I spend aimlessly wandering around, trying to read google maps, looking dishevelled and trying not cry. Although it happens so often, I just started to consider my inability to read a map and getting lost as another form of cardio.
My brother on the other hand always has a really good sense of direction, but we still set off at eight so we could get Starbucks for the car journey. Sometimes I think it’s healthy to pretend you’re one of those Instagram models who need to get coffee before they do anything productive with their day and always look beautiful and have their life together. I even took a keep-cup so I could be an environmentally friendly Instagram model trying to save the world.
I usually refer to my little brother as my first child and my sense of direction because we managed to find the building with 15 minutes to spare. Also, having my brother in the car was important because he just lets me get on with parallel parking judgement free and I hate using a satnav because when the lady says ‘turn around when possible’ I always feel personally attacked.
We stayed in my car for 15 minutes to avoid the rain, I even tried combing the rain out of my hair whilst we both sang to the Moana soundtrack.
At 8.50am, I started to walk towards the building and Ashok said he was going to walk into town and I told him I was going to meet him there after the meeting.
As I approached the building I did wonder if I should have been alarmed by the fact that the office was in the middle of nowhere.
By 8:53, I had told the lady at reception that I was here for a meeting and she ushered me into the waiting room with 3 other people.
By 9am a man in a well-tailored suit came in, read a name from a clipboard and a girl wearing different shades of blue walked out of the waiting room.
I checked my watch, it read 9:04. Whilst I was waiting I couldn’t help but notice that this room was the most millennial room I have probably seen throughout my entire life.
As a millennial, this room was too millennial and was an amalgam of black, white and rose gold.
They were trying to go for a sophisticated and minimalist look, but the only seating provided was a transparent beanbag with funfetti sprinkles trapped inside it.
The room had at least 4 succulent plants sporadically placed and there was even a rose gold Polaroid on top of the filing cabinet. The receptionist tapped away at her baby pink Dell laptop, I think she was humming God is a Woman by Ariana Grande.
Above the desk, there was an inspirational quote that I couldn’t quite read without squinting.
All they really needed was a noisy fish-tank, proper seating and a screaming toddler waving play-doh in the faces of strangers and they would have replicated the waiting room of a dodgy dental surgery.
By the time the well-dressed man with a clipboard and bad time management called out my name the receptionist was humming buttons by the Pussy Cat Dolls and it was 9:20.
It’s not that I didn’t want to work here, it’s just, I couldn’t see it.
The office was so small, I walked two steps out of the waiting room and followed the man into a much bigger room that had a series of small offices on the left-hand side. Each office was separated with a man-made divider.
I always think that baby boomers need to fuck off and retire so the people who have been treated like shit in the workplace by the previous generation can encourage a new way of thinking.
But after being interviewed by a millennial, I realise how generalised that statement is and how far millennials actually have to go because this interview was a whole new vibe.
As we reached the man’s office, I sat down and noticed another inspirational quote above the desk and even more succulent plants and the man shook my hand and said; ‘My name is Dave’ and I thought Dave; at your big age, you’re sat in a cupboard with your succulent plants? Have you named them?
I said; “Hi Dave, my name is Ila, it’s lovely to meet you.”
I suddenly realised I drove in the rain for 20 minutes to have a 7-minute meeting with a man in a cupboard.
The whole premise of this meeting revolved around me making them a company website for their business.
2 minutes into the meeting the well-dressed man with a clipboard and bad time management told me that the company doesn’t rely on computers at all and they don’t use them to carry out any form of business and everything is done mainly face-to-face.
In the 21st century? Dave, are you a magician? Then it hit me, face-to-face was code for DOOR-TO-DOOR, they didn’t want a graduate web designer they wanted to exploit a graduate web designer and keep me in sales for the rest of my life. OH MY GOD.
At this point, I decided that Ashok and I should go for brunch after the meeting to make me feel better.
The man continued; ‘In just two years of starting this company, I have become the CEO and I’m 25. You can be like me’
Two things Dave:
Firstly, we are literally sat in a cupboard with an inspirational quote above your desk. Hypothetically, if you were to spread both arms out in your office, your hand would hit the wall and the wall would fall down.
Second thing; of course you’re the CEO, you’re the flippin’ founder, who else is it going to be?
As the meeting came to an end he told me he would send me a list of client requirements in order to complete the job. I smiled then shook his hand and made a mental note to ask my most grown-up childhood friend Elle how to write a rejection letter.
When I came out of the interview my degree felt offended and then even more so the next day.
The email came through at 11.17am the following day. I noticed several typos in the email and for a second I thought that this is the mark of a true corporate organisation after enduring ‘sent from iPhone’ by university lecturers for three years at university, but then I decided not to be so complacent.
Although, the spelling I can somewhat forgive, but the exclamation marks used throughout the email just led me to believe that calling me back was actually part of an elaborate plan to lure me into their conveniently deserted office and kill an innocent young graduate that just happened to have graduated in a recession. Because no one is that excited.
Finally, I’m not sure I really want to work in a place where I’m actively encouraged to dress well. That’s always a given.