Dressed for success in a trim beige skirt, white starched shirt and sensible pumps, Sylvia entered the office of McCray, Snyder, Fieldstone, Chang and Mendez. She figured a firm with names like that on the door wouldn’t discriminate against anyone. This would be her sixth interview. At the first five, people were kind, but in the end turned her away. Over the phone they’d all sounded enthused, but when they met in person the job never seemed to fit. At least to them she didn’t fit. She thought any and all of them would be right up her alley.
This firm was for movers and shakers. Her spirits rose. She could move and shake with the best of them. Then her spirits fell. Her interview wasn’t with one of the politically inclusive names on the door, but, with a plain Mr. Jones, sitting behind a plain wood desk, looking plain bored.
“It’s a filing clerk position for God’s sake. Surely, I’m qualified for that?” Sylvia felt sweat break out under her arms.
“I’m sure you are. It’s just…” The man paused, looked around. “It’s a lot of bending up and down, lifting heavy law books. We’re looking for someone not quite so…” He seemed to catch himself. “I know at my age, and we look to be in the same generation,” he smiled, “the knees don’t work as well as they used to.” He abruptly shut her folder. “Anyway, we feel you’re over qualified. Sorry, it was nice meeting you.” He rose to his feet and held out his hand.
Sylvia stood up, shook his hand, walked numbly out of the room. Then she stopped. Her chest burned. The heat climbed. What was she doing? Pivoting on one sensible shoe, she marched back into his office. Shut the door.
The man looked up. “Yes?”
“Before you turn me down, I think there’s a few things you should know. First, I really need a job.” Sylvia’s voice rustled like silk sheets. She ran a hand over her hip and then up her side.
Mr. Jones rose, in more ways than one, Sylvia was pleased to see. She quirked a finger. “Come here.” He moved around the desk. She sidled past him and sat in his chair. When he started toward her she shook her head. “Don’t move. I promise you’ll never forget what’s coming next.” Her tongue darted out, moistened her lips.
The man was practically panting. He began to tug at his tie.
Sylvia smiled. “I’ve had a chance to think about what you said, and I want you to know I’m disappointed.”
The man began to stutter. “But, but, I may have an opening…”
Sylvia raised a hand. “Oh, not about the job. The bending up and down, knees not working quite as well as they used to. I just wanted you to know I’m disappointed that you’re having those kind of problems. I’m afraid you’re under-qualified for what I have in mind. We may be from the same generation, but you’re way too far over the hill for me.” She sighed an, stood up. As she brushed past him, she felt him wilt.
Sylvia walked down the long marble hall and through the door into the late afternoon light. That interview went well she thought.