‘I want a clean cup,’ interrupted the Hatter: ‘let’s all move one place on.’ — Alice in Wonderland
The unexpected happened. And I couldn’t possibly pass it up, if for no other reason than just for the story.
The Gaming Commission offered me a second interview. That’s right. They wanted me to come back and run through more interviews AND do the written and oral defense portion. How could I say no? Truly, I considered it. They were insane last time and truly seemed to hate me, so why would I subject myself to more? But, since I am fabulously unemployed I of course said yes and I set out on the 4 hour trip back to their office for Round 2.
I got the phone call on Wednesday telling me they wanted me to come back for the second interview the following Wednesday. I was told that I should read thru the state gaming act, familiarize myself with the gaming regulations, and watch a video of their proceedings. I was heading out on a flight the next morning and I was going to be gone until Tuesday morning, I initially thought it would be something to read on the plane. The gaming act was north of 170 pages. The regulations were over 790 pages. The various videos ran the gamut to upwards of 6 hours. I poked around and read thru the pertinent parts of the gaming act, took a look at the page length of the regulations and ignored it, and I had to rip the stream of the video because they only offered streaming video which consistently died before the video ended and had no ability for mobile viewing (since I was traveling). Remember… hours and hours of this shit for the honor of a one in three shot at a job working with ‘interesting characters’ with ‘strong personalities’.
So I arrive at 10 in the morning for the interview. Mind you, I woke up that morning before 5 so that I could get ready and on the road to drive 4 hours to this interview. I’m ushered into a conference room with the other two applicants who are already there, and they leave us in the room alone and close the door. After a minute of silence, my curiosity got the better of me and I leaned forward and asked with a slight smile to them, “So I gotta ask, how did your first interview go? Because I’m a little confused why I am here.” The first guy says, “pretty good I thought it went well.” I look over to the woman seated next to me. She says, “I thought it went very well.” I process this for a moment, and then just go “huh.” And I lean back in my chair laughing quietly. The guy looks a little concerned now and asks me “why? What happened with you?” I lean forward to answer and at that moment the door opens and in walks the lead attorney. I look at the other applicant and I smile and shrug wordlessly.
The lead attorney surveys us and then tells us he is going to split us up for part of the morning. At which point he points to the other guy and says “You stay. You other two, follow me.” So the woman and I stand up and walk out with the lead attorney leaving the other applicant sitting in the empty conference room. He hands the woman off to his law clerk to take her on a tour and leads me to a small office where none other than Mr. Maritime Fan and another of my favorites from interview one are sitting. And we all start to engage in small talk. The lead attorney starts out and mentions he likes my suit, and that it is a good color on me and basically makes a point of saying I look pretty. (this will come back later) I don’t think much of it, but for your benefit of the mental image, I’m wearing a charcoal suit with a light grey shirt and a solid red tie. Nothing exceptional, just a standard nice suit. After this, the lead attorney asked if I watched any of the videos. I told him I did and identified which one. His response was “Pfft… that piece of shit.” Now I had a list of about 150 possible videos to watch, and no mention was given as to preference as to which they wanted me to see… So I picked a random recent one and explained that I figured watching something seemingly on point to petitions would be good. I apparently randomly chose wrong. We talk for about 10 minutes and pretty much in the middle of a conversation the lead attorney stands up and says “come with me.” So I follow him back to the conference room where we left the other guy.
The door opens and the room is packed with people. Sitting on one side of the table is the applicant, and on the other side are arrayed at least 10 or so other people curving around the table. He points at the other guy and says “You come” points at me and says “you, stay.” It was reminiscent of the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter screaming ‘New Cup’ and rotating around the table. So the other guy heads out, and I take his place across the table. No introductions, no information given. So I sit down and everyone shuffles some papers and pulls out my resume. Breaking the ice I fire off a joke and say “this might well be the most people who have ever actually looked at my resume.” No one laughs… tough crowd. So these people start asking me questions about my resume. The questions had a very stilted quality to them, some of them were just odd. At a certain point, I stopped something I was explaining and apologized and asked who I was speaking to in the room because the lead attorney didn’t tell me who anyone there was… are you all lawyers, are you staff people, are you someone else? The whole idea of knowing your audience may have been why I was striking out on the conversation points. This was the first thing that people laughed at, someone said “Figures” another said “Yeah you should get used to that if you want to work in this office.” They were all the rest of the attorneys from the office. Most of the questions had a rather empty feeling like they had been told that each one of them had to come up with a unique question to ask the applicants; it led to several questions where they would ask about something specific on my resume and within the first 2 sentences of my explanation I knew they were lost. I would try to restart thinking it was supposed to be a question that was meant to spark a conversation, and instead find out they really didn’t have a reason for asking the question and seemingly didn’t care about the answer. It seemed to be a space filler.
About 15 minutes in, in the middle of a sentence, the door flies open, and the same pronouncement is made. New Cup!.. I mean “You come. You stay.” And I stand up and walk out. This time I get taken on a tour of the office complex by the law clerk. By far the most normal of anyone I have met at the office which is saying something considering he was the prototypical Aspie. At one point he told me that I could ask him any question I wanted because he had no say in the hiring and nothing would get back to the lead attorney. I figured, why the hell not, at least I’ll get an honest answer out of someone. So I started out, “Well I am sort of curious as to why I am here. My first interview didn’t just go badly, it was horrible.” To his credit, his reaction was actually one of confusion. Then he asked me “Was it in the afternoon?” yes. “Oh that’s why. They are cranky in the afternoon.” (what?) Then he stopped and said “what day was your interview?” Wednesday. “Oh… oh Wednesday was not a good day. Not at all. And in the afternoon.” And that was my explanation. I guess.
That didn’t explain all of my burning questions however. We were nearing the end of the tour and I said, “You know, there is one other question I had. In the last interview I was told I would be working with ‘interesting peop’…. well bluntly I was told I was going to be working with someone who is an insane asshole who is going to try to get me to do potentially illegal things. Is that true?” The clerks brow furrowed and he said “No… no the office you’ll be at has a great attorney, great person who is very nice etc etc…. … and I can’t think of who he would be talking…” and suddenly he stopped. “Oh… OHH!!” he exclaimed. “You didn’t hear it from me. I’ve said too much.”
The obvious problem was he hadn’t said anything. Although he did effectively confirm that there was some random crazy person who I would be working with. I suppose that independent verification is something though. I think the only new bit of creepy as hell information I got from the clerk was that apparently the office sends out people to talk to your neighbors as part of their background check (among other things). This brought a brief moment of joy to my life as I briefly thought of someone trying to talk to my neighbors (did I mention one of my neighbors was recently put into a sanitarium? Several of the others aren’t much better, so I sort of relished the thought). Shortly after this exchange the lead attorney comes back and brings me back to the conference room where the other 2 applicants are now sitting across from the 10 or so staff attorneys. As I start to sit in the chair the lead attorney points at us and says to his attorneys “One, two, three. I want you to rank them in order of preference, write it down and hand it to me.” There is silence in the room. And after a moment one of the attorneys says “Now?” and the lead attorney blasts back “Of course now! Why else would I say that if not now!” The attorneys start shuffling their papers a bit and at least to their credit one of them loudly mutters “Well this is awkward.” as they wrote down who they liked best on small slips of paper. I wasn’t sure whether it felt more like a 4th grade popularity contest, or judging at a dog show where we were the dogs. I had a brief flash through my mind that I should ask the assembled table is they wanted to check my teeth before making a determination. My better demons told me not to say anything.
All but one of the attorneys filed out leaving us with the lead attorney and staff attorney. The staff attorney starts talking “I printed out the questions…” and was cut off by the lead attorney.
“I didn’t ask you to do that. If I wanted you to print it out I would have asked you.”
“But I forwarded you the questions we were talking about…”
“And I didn’t like them so I wrote new ones.” said the lead attorney.
The staff attorney was now standing in the room holding out a pile of papers somewhat blankly, and then sighed and dejectedly walked out of the room. This did not appear to be a unique occurrence. The lead attorney now turned and focused his attention on us. We were each handed a copy of the gaming act, the regulations, and what I can only describe as a Law School exam question on gaming law. And we were told that we had approximately 2 hours to write out an answer using the act and regulations and that at the end of the time, we would have to orally present and potentially defend our answers in front of the lead attorney, Mr. Maritime, and another from the first interview. The only take away worth mentioning about this whole section was that it turned out not all the answers were located in the nearly 1000 pages of the act and regulations. In fact, they weren’t listed anywhere, they were just things they do and you should have probably included it in your answer even though there was no way for you to know about it.
So the interview is over and as we’re winding down I find out I am the only person who applied for the position who was not from the capital, and the only person not from the one law school they listed the job at. (nepotism *cough*) So I was the only person driving 8 hours for this interview. Which, if you recall, was for a job in the city in which I live. As I get up to leave, Mr. Maritime stands up and shakes my hand, and again drops a WTF out of left field. He says “Don’t listen to what (lead attorney) says. I like your suit. I think it actually does look good no matter what he says.” The lead attorney is sitting about 3 feet away and quite literally, just grunts at this statement. And with that, the interview is over, and I am left to ponder what the hell I just sat through.