Sunday, March 11, 2007

Confessions of a Farm girl's past (Pt.2)

Come on in, sit down and have a cup'a tea. If you are here for the first time, you can find the beginning of this story here.

They told me I would find Mr. Miller at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 400.  I don't think I made the connection about the address until I got there. It was a typical D.C. least it looked like the others that are found in close proximity to the Whitehouse.  I pulled into the entrance of the parking garage which was below the building.  A young man, very nicely dressed, took my keys to park my car for me. A doorman ushered me into the building (at this point I am beginning to wonder if I might be a wee bit under dressed in my skirt and blouse and pumps!)

The word luxury doesn't even begin to come close in describing what I observed.  The elevators were nicer than my apartment...heck...they were nicer than any apartment I had ever seen!  The carpet  was so thick my feet seemed to disappear....huge, heavy mahogany doors trimmed with beautiful brass...a hushed silence...wealth and dignity seemed to announce themselves in everything from the original artwork, to the wood and the engraved signs on office doors.....and I was still in the hallway!  I found Suite 400...the sign on the door said Occidental International Corpoartion....and I stepped inside....I would not have thought it possible but this office was  even more luxurious than the hall!

I was greeted by a very well dressed middle age woman whose entire appearance spoke of elegance and class (yikes! I was under dressed!)  I am sure, from her expression, that she thought I had inadvertently wandered into the wrong building.  Perhaps a school field trip gone awry? I asked for Mr. Miller and I was told to wait in the small reception area while Mr. Miller was located.  I was self-conscious, uncomfortable and scared out of my socks. What was this place and what in the world was I doing there? Being a naive early twenty-something girl, I had never heard of this corpoartion. A man in his late 50's rounded the corner - his suit had to cost a fortune.  He was very distinguished looking, graying, but tall and trim.

He looked at me and barked, "Come with me!" He led me past the elegant lady who sat right inside the door (who by the way was STILL looking down her nose at me) to an area that opened into a small suite of offices - no more than 8 or 10 rooms.  He ushered me into his office. 

The interview is still really a blur....he asked lots of questions...gruff would be a kind word to use about his demeanor.  He wanted to know if I was trustworthy, worked well on my own, was I good with numbers?  Could I entertain ( at this point I am completely freaking out!...ENTERTAIN???) and carry on intelligent conversation.  He wanted to know if I had any problems with traveling around the city by myself, if called upon was I willing to run to the grocery store, help in the kitchen (they had a kitchen??) could I attend functions (functions??!!) in the evening or on weekends..could I find my way to the State Department...the Russian Embassy....there were other questions but none were like any interview I had ever had....he never asked about my typing speed, shorthand, filing, organizational this point I am ready to LEAVE!!!  I did NOT like his personality - grumpy bear would be how I would describe him to my headhunter.  I still didn't understand who these people were, what they did or what they wanted me to do.  Looking back on this, I realize that they were so well known around the globe that they felt no need to tell me about themselves.

Have you ever begun a conversation with someone only to find that they speak very broken English and although there are words coming out of their mouth you have no clue what they are saying? The conversation turns into a nightmare while you desperately try to understand them and at the same time try not to look like an idiot! 

That is how I felt.  I was so unprepared for this interview, this corporation, this man.....I just wanted to get out of there.  Towards the end of the interview Mr. Miller asked what  salary I would require....aha! my desperate quick thinking mind found a way to get out of this -  I just reeled off a very high salary - a good $8,000 more than I was making at the law firm.  I figured we would shake hands, part company and the nightmare would be over....and then....the worst thing I could ever imagine happened....

"Fine!" he said...."See you first thing Monday morning!"


  1. Cheri, I'm really enjoying your story. Can't wait for the next installment!

  2. Oh, yes, more story please. :)

  3. Great so far. Can't wait for the next part...


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