Interview #22: Welcome to the area, we just wanted to make sure you owned a suit.

In my continuing quest, I’ve sent out quite a few emails and resumes. They all have something in common however… they all state that I am looking for a job. Usually the attached resume and cover letter is a dead giveaway, but you have to make sure to bluntly state it for the more dense recipients. One of these cold resume emails is what brought me back to the hallowed halls of higher education.

I sent out a job seeking email to the tech capitalization office of a university, and I got a reply telling me to come in for “a meeting to discuss what I was looking for.” Now, most people would pretty readily recognize what I was looking for from the email and resume, vis a vis — a job, at the most basic level. For my part, I assumed I was headed into an interview, because when you send an email saying ‘I am looking for a job’ and someone else replies ‘Come over here so we can talk about that,’ one might naturally assume the ensuing conversation would be about a job.

Well, you would be wrong. At least so far as this meeting was concerned. I show up at a very well regarded university and park in the paid lot I was directed to by the secretary who was directed to schedule the interview. The grounds are quite lovely and I briefly enjoy the view before heading to the appointed office. The office is pretty much what you would expect from a university admin office, industrial carpeting, various functionaries and work study kids sitting in cubicles rather than a reception area; the standard attempt to use all the available space. Initially I am told to wait in the single folding chair sitting forlornly in a corner but instead I am quickly ushered into the office of the director.

I will start out by saying… they were an incredibly nice person. And I will follow it up by saying, they had no idea why they were meeting with me. Which is doubly odd since they were the one to directly setup the interview with me. We hit it off in the small-talk arena for awhile and talked about a few common points between us and gossiped about the academic world. Then they told me there was no job there. (thud). But there might be at some indeterminate point in the future, or maybe at the GC’s office, or somewhere. Then, to really drive the point home that they have no clue what attorneys do, they mentioned that they have some internships in the summer there. (not legal mind you… just business) Uh huh. They also seemed surprised to find out I was a patent attorney, which again seemed odd to me since it was on line 3 of my resume. and in the email. and in the cover letter. But honestly, the mention (offer?) of an unpaid internship usually gotten by undergrads in business majors really was the high point of the ‘interview’.

I’ve become an expert at disguising my disappointment, and to put it honestly, I’ve come to expect this type of thing. I think the real shocker will be when I get an interview for a job that actually exists. So we continued talking about whatever they wanted to talk about… for about 45 minutes more. I guess if they had been forthright and stated this would be more a networking meeting rather than about a job, I might not be posting it here. I’ve had lots of networking meetings at this point, but both sides are aware going into it that there isn’t a job offer in the balance.

So basically I got all dressed up to go gossip with someone in higher education. The meeting finally wound down, and I wandered back out of the office. As I left, I asked for the parking validation that had been promised in the email setting up the interview. The secretary looked at me and said “damn.. the person who does those things left for the day already.” I stood there for merely a moment and sighed, and said don’t worry about it.

Par for the course.


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