We were getting married in six weeks.
And I still didn't have a job.
And as much as I loved spending my days at home with a book and some crocheting, endless games of Scrabble Blast and Bejeweled on Pogo, chasing the dogs around the house and not getting dressed unless I really had to, I knew that it was time. I'd been here in Arizona for over a year now, and it was time for me to get a job. If I could have gotten paid for having lunch with my best friend and her daughter in the backyard - "board meetings", we called them - I would have. But unfortunately, as it always goes, real life tends to get in the way of the fantasy that we'd prefer to accept.
Despite the fact that my BLTs were so good that they'd make you cry, my brown butter cookies were described by my friend's son as "crack cookies" and that "something this good ought to be illegal", it just wasn't in the cards right now to get paid for baking and BLTs.
And then one day, I had an epiphany. I knew what I was going to do.
I applied at a place that had turned me down twice before.
I walked into the building with my head held high, because I knew, deep in my hearts of hearts that this time, it would be different.
But I knew more now...and I had faith in myself. This time, I would be able to do it.
I put on a green paisley blouse, black pants, strappy sandals. My hair was freshly washed, shining, clean. And I'd even put a little lip gloss and eye shadow on...I was going to wow them. I was going to let them know that I was going to win them over. This was my moment in the sun. My piece de resistance.
She stood up, shook my hand. And she asked me all the interview questions that had previously filled me with dread. She asked me how I would deal with an irate customer. She asked me how I felt about sales. She asked me how I felt I felt about competition.
"I would warm transfer, if necessary," I told her. "I would explain to the associate on the other line what the situation is, while doing whatever I had within my power to calm the customer down."
I expressed my willingness to sell.
I told her that I bowled on a Friday night bowling league with my husband and that competitiveness was a part of who I was and what we did. I explained that I set high standards for myself and that I was willing to push myself to be the best that I could be.
She scheduled me for a second interview.
With my spine ramrod straight, a smile on my face, without being able to feel the ground beneath my feet, I floated out to the car where my mother-in-law waited.
"They want me back!" I exclaimed. "I passed!"
A few days later, I came back for my second interview.
Same strappy sandals, same black pants. This time I wore a different blouse. This time I wore something that I knew made me feel good, and I knew that would help my confidence.
And I was right.
"Hi," she said, casual in capri pants and a tank top. She wore Birkenstocks and her silvery hair was worn in a French braid down her back. "I'm Sandy...you're Corrine? Nice to meet you."
She asked me questions about my employment history. She asked me how I would do in a workplace environment that was sometimes high-stress. She asked me how I felt about working on a team.
And then she hit on it.
"I have to be honest," she says, looking across the table at me. "I see that you basically just...left your last job. Everything else you have told me shows that you'd be a great fit for us here, but that does give me cause for concern. So what I want you to do, Corrine, is tell me why I should hire you."
She sat back, looked at me. Waited.
And I began to speak.
"I promise you right here and now," I said, "that I am going to be the best employee that I can possibly be. That I am more than willing to go above and beyond for my customers, and that there will never be a no-call, no-show on my record. I am a hard worker, and I am going to assure you that you will have absolutely no regrets about giving me this opportunity to show you what I can do."
She laid down her paper and pen, looked at me through dark eyes. "OK," she said, her face and her voice betraying nothing. "Go take a seat out in the reception area and HR will be with you shortly."
Five minutes later, I was filling out my hiring paperwork.
I was in.
Everything that I promised both Christine and Sandy those two days has come true - tenfold. My customers love me. I received a very elite award called "Best Of The West" that meant my all my stack rankings (quality, AHT, etc) were the highest out of anyone who graduated from training in August. I've gotten several commendations from my customer. And like I said that day, I have gone above and beyond to be the best employee that I possibly can be.
I hope that when Sandy walks by the "Best Of The West" billboard upstairs, sees my name on it and said to herself, "Wow, that kid really did what she said she was going to do. Way to go." And I hope she knows that she made the right decision by giving me a shot.
Every day, I try to do what I promised I would during that final interview, when I looked Sandy in the eyes and told her that she would have no regrets about hiring me. With every call I take, I prove that to myself and I prove that to my customers. At the end of the day when I look at my sales and resolve sheet and see five sales, resolved calls with happy faces next to them, I remember my vow. When a customer calls me on the brink of a nervous breakdown and I'm able to help them, then I've done what I promised.
If that's not "steady and faithful", then I don't know what is.