Janet Smith awoke early morning to prepare for her job interview at Britax Vision Systems. She started the coffeepot in the kitchen and returned to her bedroom to sort through her wardrobe. After careful consideration, she decided on a navy blue pantsuit with white trim and matching dress shoes.
After Janet had taken her shower, she dressed and went back to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat. Deciding on an English muffin, she sat down at the table to enjoy it along with her coffee. Janet finished her breakfast, brushed her teeth, and continued readying herself for the meeting.
Once her morning ritual was complete, Janet got into her blue Escort and drove to Britax with the sound of Jimmy Buffet in her ears. Upon arrival, Janet parked her car in the guest parking lot and turned off the ignition. Giving herself another look over in the mirror, along with a few words of encouragement, she headed towards the main building. After she had entered through the double glass doors, she approached a nearby desk. Behind the desk sat a young, light-brown haired woman. The nameplate on her desk read Ashley. Ashley was an attractive girl with bright green eyes with blue speckles at the edges. She wore a cranberry vest along with a matching skirt that, to Janet, seemed much to short for an office job. After a few seconds of waiting, Ashley looked up at Janet questioningly.
“Hi, I’m here for my interview. My name is Janet Smith and I have an eleven o’clock appointment”, she said confidently. The young girl opened a small leather book at the right edge of her desk and began scanning the pages. A moment later she returned her attention to Janet and instructed her to be seated across from the door to her left. There were five seats lined against the wall, each with black backing and gray upholstery. A man with dark hair and eyes sat farthest to the left. He wore gold-rimmed glasses that had slipped down his nose in the course of his reading. A Time magazine lay open on his lap. He scanned the pages slowly, although Janet suspected that he wasn’t really reading at all, but rather trying to pass time.
Janet chose the middle seat and placed her purse on the chair beside her. She began thinking about her family. Her husband Mark had just had his 34th birthday, making him two years older than she. He was currently in college finishing up his master’s degree. She had finished college the previous year and was now an official computer programmer. Mark hadn’t worked in the past few months since he was so busy with his classes. Janet was okay with it though. There had been a time when she had been the one studying and he had been the one working. Janet had recently lost her job at a large automotive corporation due to the fact that they had been bought out. Half of the employees had lost their jobs, including Janet and two of her close friends. The job that Janet was at on this particular day was very much needed. The bills would be coming soon and with no income how could they pay them. Luckily, Janet’s four-year-old daughter, Emma, hadn’t noticed the tension in the house and wasn’t questioning her quite yet, but that too wouldn’t last.
Janet was snapped to attention as the secretary called her name and directed her to the door across from where she currently sat. She grabbed her purse and entered the room, closing the door behind her. At a large oak desk in the middle of the room sat a pleasant looking man. He looked to be in his late forties, with a round nose and gray, thinning hair. He instructed Janet to have a seat across from him and she gladly obeyed. The room had a comfortable atmosphere and she was at once pleased to be there.
He began by introducing himself as Alan Pelker and asking for her resume. The interview lasted a total of five minutes. He asked her questions such as, “Why do you think I should hire you?” and “What are your strengths?” They were usual questions and yet something unusual about the way he asked them. She began to feel uncomfortable as she sat before him trying to meet his eyes as they scanned her body. Once the questioning was through, he told her that he’d keep her in mind and would be giving her a call later in the week if she got the job.
As Janet left the office she heard the sound of papers tossed aside to be forgotten. Then, walking by the secretary she heard the intercom come to life and the sound of Mr. Pelker saying, “Please send in the next gentleman applicant,” making sure to put emphasis on gentleman.
Janet Smith never did get that job, but is sure in her own mind that the man to the left of her had.