Friday, May 9, 2008

Blisters, Bike Messengers and Bird Poop—Oh My!

It’s a little intimidating being the only non-author regular contributor—you all have such great stories about your inspiration and what made you start writing! But I do have a funny story about how my journey at Sourcebooks began. On the day I received the call to come in for my interview with Sourcebooks Publicity, I had quite the adventure…

That morning, I had an interview for another job. I got ready, making sure I looked cute and professional. I decided to take the train because the job was downtown Chicago, so it wouldn’t be a far walk from the station. Well, I have no sense of direction and ended up walking about 6 blocks (6 city blocks = 1 mile) in the opposite direction. Like any distraught young lady, I called my dad and he told me to just catch a cab; there was no way I’d make it on time. I quickly found a cab and could feel the huge blisters forming on my feet.

Enter my strangely talkative cab driver—he was incredibly jolly and had a lovely African accent. He wasn’t giving me the normal chit-chat, but he was really interested in what I was doing downtown. He asked me why “such a little lady (’m only 5’1”) is going to such a big building (a skyscraper).” I told him I had a job interview. Then he asked where I had gone to school, and what I studied. I told him I went to Bradley University and studied English, to which he wondered, “Well, what do you do with an English degree?” I’m sure I said something smart, but indulged the rest of his questions, which began to take on a much more spiritual nature…

When we pulled up to my destination, he said to me “Because you are so nice, I will not make you pay, but I want you to have something to give you direction in your life journey,” and hands me a copy of the Qu’ran with pamphlets on why I should consider Islam as my religious path. I was caught off guard, but happy for the free cab ride!

So, I go up to my interview, and probably would have done wonderfully, but all I could think about was how embarrassed I was to have a random copy of the Qu’ran sticking out of my bag, blisters forming on my feet, and by that point of the morning, it was already sweltering in Chicago—so I was sweaty. Great first impression.

Once my horrible interview was over I quickly changed into the cheap flip flops I threw in my purse that morning and limped to do some shopping. The blistered agony took hold, and I decided to go sit in the garden at the Art Institute of Chicago. I bought a sandwich from a deli and sat down to read when I noticed the most beautiful bike messenger I had ever seen sitting across from me. He smiled my way, I smiled his, trying to look somewhat cool balancing my sandwich and my book on my knees.

Here’s where Sourcebooks comes into the picture—my phone rang and saw a number I didn’t recognize. I answered and to my delight, it was Sourcebooks; they wanted me to come in for an interview! I was beyond excited, trying to pull out my small day planner and a pen, fishing through a purse full of high heels, lip gloss and gum wrappers. The entire time I noticed the bike messenger snickering to himself at my awkward display…

Finally, I found a pen, situated my sandwich on one knee, my planner on another and pen in hand, looking to the week ahead when I was available—when all of a sudden a BIRD POOPED ON MY KNEE. Inches away from my sandwich, leaving a mess on my skirt. So here I am, on the phone with my future employer trying to stay collected when I have bird crap on my favorite skirt and a hot bike messenger watching the whole thing. And laughing. And I don’t mean chuckling, I mean full on LAUGHING.

But somehow I persevered, kept my cool on the phone and made a date for the interview. When I was off the phone, I had an audible freak out, making a few of the people near me move away for disturbing their lunch. And the bike messenger would not stop laughing or staring at me while I tried to wash away the bird mess on my skirt.

However, I read somewhere that bird poop is a sign of good luck—and it must hold some truth, because a week later I had a fabulous interview, and a week after that I had a job with Sourcebooks, and it eventually led to a lead publicist position for Sourcebooks Casablanca. I’m happy to be a part of your blog, getting to know all of you and offering what I’m discovering about romance PR!

Now if I see this strange “job interview interlude” show up in any of your books, I expect some sort of recognition! So here’s my question—a lot of you have or have had various jobs before or during your writing careers. Do you have any horror stories? On the job, on an interview, or anything? I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

Danielle

12 comments:

  1. What a great post Danielle you had me laughing and yes the old saying (my mother used to say it all the time) Sh%#%g luck is good luck obviously is very true.
    I am an avid reader and am really looking forward to picking up these books I love to read mind you I have a massive TBR pile and a huge must get list but you can never have too many books I say.
    Have Fun
    Helen

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  2. That is fabulous, Danielle! Did you share this story with the folks at SB? Do they know you were shat upon in the line of duty? Two questions--did you get the bike messenger's number and have you become a convert to Islam?

    I've had a few great cab rides, too, and have written about them in the magazine I work for. One of the drivers was a proud, naturalized American who was driving a cab rather than collect after being laid off. He said he couldn't imagine being on the dole from a country who had given him and his family so much. I will never forget him.

    Nice to have you on our blog and on our team at Casablanca.
    Marie

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  3. Helen- Thank you! I'm glad my story of insanity made you laugh this morning. And you're right--you can never have too many books, and I know what our authors have written are original and amazing new stories :)

    Marie- Well, I guess they know my story now, haha!! And to answer your questions--they are both no. But I will never forget that bike messenger and if anyone ever needs a refernce for religious purposes, I probably have a useful pamphlet ;)

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  4. Danielle,
    Yep, the bird poop is good luck. If you don't believe me, check out "Under the Tuscan Sun."
    So any good fantasies about what MIGHT have happened with the hot bike messenger? That sort of thing has given me all kinds of inspiration!
    Cheryl

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  5. Cheryl- I have seen that movie! That's probaly what I was thinking about.
    And sadly, I left any ideas about the bike messenger in the garden at the Art Institute--being laughed at isn't exactly the most attracting of moments... hahaha

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  6. ROFL Danielle! And you do know that in a romance, he would have been the hero.

    Oh yes, the possibilties there. :>

    Interview stories? Oh yes. I worked for Monex Int'l which is a bullion brokerage. I was interviewed by the Director of Publicity and Marketing, a man who was barely taller than me. Later on, he told people the only reason he hired me as his assistant was because I was shorter than him. I'm 5'1" too. So I told him, and this European group in his office, that maybe so, but I was young, taking vitamins and could still grow. :}

    Linda

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  7. LOL, great story.

    Well, let's see. I have a white spot on my neck where I don't have any pigment--that's why it's white. I have a few of them on my body. Because of sun damage when I was little, there are a couple of dark spots there now and it's more a pink instead of white. When I was a university student, I went for a job interview as a meter maid. I later found out one of the reasons they gave me the job (which comes with a lot of abuse in the form of people being really mad at your for giving them tickets) was because the meter man who was my boss thought the mark on my neck was a hickey, and he figured if I had the guts to go to a job interview with a hickey on my neck, that I could handle the ornery public.

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  8. Thanx for sharing what you can now say was a funny experience, Danielle!

    Strange or memorable things that have happened to me on an interview or on the job? How many days do you have???

    Seriously. I've had some lulus. Like the time the mushroom drenched in sauce and ketchup slipped out of my burger, plopped onto my breast, bounced and proceeded to roll all the way down my sleeve. I was wearing a white silk blouse, and of course, I had a BIG MEETING with some Mucky-Mucks in an hour. It was a warm day and I hadn't worn a jacket, and neither had my friend or office mate. So guess who showed up at the meeting with the most huge and obvious stain? SHEESH!!!

    Cindy

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  9. My cousin has a really good interview story--she was interviewing a guy in the conference room at the bank she works for and stood halfway up to adjust her skirt and the chair she was sitting in became like a solid rocket booster. It launched her ON to the table. She landed nose to nose with the guy she was interviewing! Talk about embarrassing!

    Another good one was when my friend April and I were interviewing our friend's boyfriend for a job at our association. The man came in WET with sweat. His whole face was drenched in sweat. The two of us watched in morbid fascination as beads of sweat would roll down his nose, drop to his chin and dangle for an endless second before dropping to join the puddle on the table. Needless to say, we didn't hear a word of what he said to us, nor could we dare make eye contact with each other. We laughed for HOURS afterward and no, we did not hire the sweater as we still refer to him.

    I was hired to be April's boss at the company I've worked at for the last 12 years not only because I was qualified but because, in a weird twist of fate, I had the same last name as April. Yep, we were both Forces and the FORCES made up a two-person department. We still work together only she is now married, but we still call each other "Force."

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  10. Linda- short girls unite! I've always been the shortest, so it's nice to know that you go through that too :)

    Cindy- LOL; I can't believe he thought it was a hickey! At least it made a lasting impression.

    Aunty Cindy- I am NOTORIOUS for spilling stuff on myself. I've stopped wearing white shirts when I go anywhere nice.

    Marie- Two comments in one post-thank you!! And your stories kept me laughing.

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  11. Danielle,
    I have been to the area of Chicago you are describing and can see in my mind exactly where you were. Your wonderful story affirms my belief that our greatest triumphs can arise from adversity. My worst job interview ever? I came in out of the heat, sat and waited for the woman to show up, stood too quickly when she did, grew dizzy, staggered, and fell against her. Did not get that job. Didn't want it anyway!
    Christina

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  12. LOL, Danielle! I loved your story! I arrived at a university to apply for a job as a business teacher, since I'd just left the Army as a 1st lieutenant, and had an MBA. But as soon as I walked into the conference room to have my interview with three men, I knew the problem. They thought I was going to be a guy. So did I get the job? Nope! But if it wasn't that, it was someone letting a brand new 2nd lieutenant through to talk to a very busy lieutenant colonel, thinking I was his wife..."Honey," he said....nope! :) I hesitated, then went on with business, which was business he truly didn't want to hear, straight from the general's mouth. I felt sorry for the sergeant that told the colonel his wife had called, though!!!

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