Behind Her Stars: Part Three
Have you ever had that feeling when you know there’s something you really want to do that there’s always going to be someone better than you that will get chosen instead? Maybe it’s for a sporting team or a book club, maybe even the Food Club on Krawk Island. Deep inside you know that you could do really well, but something holds you back. Something inside tells you to quit while you can, to quit before you get hurt.
That’s how I felt as I waited for my interview at the Neopian Times, and given I was at the very end of a twenty-odd long line, I had plenty of time to reflect on this feeling.
Being the over-the-top girl I usually was, this was a new feeling for me. Usually I was overconfident and the person who thought no-one was better than them. I wasn’t completely sure what was so different about this time, but it probably had something to do with this being new territory for me. Maybe it was because I was so determined to do this that if I failed I knew I’d be devastated. Regardless of the reason, the feeling was still there.
As I watched the other pets in the line steadily move forward, I thought about exactly why I wanted this job. I remembered my passion for writing while I was still in Neoschool, and the days long ago I’d spent regretting that I hadn’t joined the Neoschool Paper. I thought of the Faerie at the Employment Agency, and asked myself once more if I was only trying to get this job because of her.
After a moment of deep thought on the matter, I shook my head. There was something more to my passion for this job, and I was going to do my very best to get it. Being so deep in thought I hadn’t noticed the line move as fast as it had, and it was only mere minutes later that I saw the last interviewee before me, a green Lenny, shoot me a pitiful glance as they entered the interview room.
I clenched my fists to stop myself shouting out at the Lenny that I was more than I looked, and took deep breaths. I had to calm myself down before my interview came around.
One Babaa... two Babaa... three Babaa... I counted Babaa in an attempt to calm down, and slowly I felt the anger melt away to be replaced with an all-too familiar nervousness. I sighed, reaching into my bag for a last minute lolly.
“Raejun?” I heard a voice call, and I saw the green Lenny stalking from the interview room as I stood to take my turn.
Taking a deep breath, I took a step forward.
“That’s me,” I said.
The interviewer was a stern-looking blue Scorchio, her brown hair tied neatly in a bun similar to mine on her head. She wore an extremely professional-looking black suit and I blushed as I felt my own appearance fail in comparison.
“Follow me,” the Scorchio said, her voice much softer than she looked.
She turned to walk into the interview room and I gulped as I followed her in.
The room was almost empty, the furnishings comprising of a single wooden desk in the middle of the room and a black cushioned chair on either side. The desk was covered in neat piles of paper, notes scrawled in not-quite-as-neat handwriting over the white sheets. Pens in all shades imaginable lay in seemingly random positions over the desk. The Scorchio walked around the desk, taking a seat on the opposite side. She picked up a black pen and a blank sheet of paper before indicating with a hand gesture that I should take a seat.
As I sat down, I noticed the top sheet of one of the piles was the result of the green Lenny’s interview. Even though I was almost certain there was some sort of rule against it, I couldn’t help but take a peek at one of the notes. Too over-confident, it read, and I made a mental note to not come off in the same fashion.
“Now, Raejun. You’re the last interviewee for the day,” the Scorchio stated and I nodded in response, not too sure if I should reply to the statement. “Let’s get right into it. My name is Jenny, and I’m a recruiter here at the Neopian Times.”
Jenny leafed through some papers in front of her before bringing one with a list of questions on it to the top.
“Raejun, what made you first want to consider a position here at the Times?”
Nervously, I racked my brain for what I thought was the ‘right’ answer to her question.
“Well... I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I can honestly say I’m always interested in what others have to say and what they’re doing.” I gave a nervous laugh, but Jenny’s stern expression remained the same. I took a breath before continuing, “In Neoschool, I always regretted not joining the school paper.”
Jenny nodded, scrawling down some notes.
“Have you a copy of your resume with you?” Jenny asked, and I reached into my bag and handed it to her. She took a minute to read the first page, before looking up. “I see that you were quite the Neoschool student, Raejun. Tell me, you said you regretted not joining the school paper. Why didn’t you join?”
“Well... I guess I just didn’t think I’d have the time. I was a busy-little-bee when I was younger, always with something to do, always with a question on my tongue.”
When I looked back at Jenny, I could see her surveying my appearance. She took another look at my resume, turning the page.
“What do you spend your free time doing now then?”
“I enjoy many things, in a way. I like the company of others, and it’s not very often that I’m not with my friends, chatting up a storm. In the instance I’m not with my friends I’m usually curled up with a good book or a good bite.”
Jenny nodded once again, and I tried to get her impression of me from her face. Apparently the Scorchio was really good at masking emotion from her face, because I couldn’t read a thing.
“Tell me about yourself, Raejun. What sort of pet do you consider yourself to be?” Jenny asked, still scrawling down notes.
“I consider myself a good listener, but I’m also a good talker too.” My nervousness began to melt away, little by little, as I got into the swing of the interview. “I consider myself nice, most of the time. I admit I can be quick to anger if you get on my wrong side, but I’m pleasant to be around ninety nine percent of the time. But above all, I consider myself a Skeith.”
The last comment caused Jenny to look up, and for a moment I thought I saw a glimmer in her eyes.
“What do you mean be that?” she asked, pausing from her constant writing.
“Well, it’s pretty obvious I’m a Skeith. Skeiths are generally considered greedy, gluttonous pets and I’m not going to say I’m not these things. Sure, stereotypes don’t always ring true for everyone but I’m greedy for attention, I just love being in the limelight. Like most Skeiths, I love food. I’m not going to lie to you about that!” I stopped, trying to gauge Jenny’s response. Still her face remained unreadable. “But just being a Skeith doesn’t mean I’m any less qualified than any other pet.”
For a moment, the interview room was silent.
“I have to say, Raejun, that is the most unique response I’ve had all day,” Jenny said, finally replying, “And we like unique around here.”
I couldn’t help myself. I smiled. “Thank you.”
Jenny reached over the table, grasping a red pen. “You sure know how to make a good first impression.”
“First impressions can be everything,” I stated, shuffling in my chair, “but they can also be nothing.”
Again Jenny looked up, but this time I could actually see a look of surprise on her face.
“Well, a first impression can either tell you a lot about someone, or tell you nothing. At first glance someone can look like a really decent Neopet, but later they can turn out to be a master criminal.”
For the first time all interview, Jenny smiled.
“That’s so true, Raejun... in fact; all of what you’ve said so far has been true.”
Jenny turned to the last page of my resume.
“Look, you have some impressive qualifications and I have to say, your interview has been my best all day.” Jenny looked up at me, still smiling. “I’d like to offer you a position here at the Neopian Times.”
I could hardly contain myself. “Really?”
Jenny nodded and I felt like screaming in excitement. Instead I sat silently in my chair, a smile from ear to ear.
“Raejun, how would you feel about becoming an Interviewer for us? I think you have the perfect motivation and personality for this sort of position.”
“I would love that!” I replied, my excitement evident in my voice.
“Excellent. You start tomorrow,” Jenny said, placing the result of my interview on the top of a much smaller pile.
When Jenny stood, I followed her lead. She reached across the desk to shake my hand, and I took her blue hand in mine.
“See you tomorrow.”
I smiled. “Will do.”
As I left the building one last fleeting thought of the Faerie at the Employment Agency filtered through my mind. I proved you wrong.
You can read Raejun's first ever interview with Cog of Cog's Togs in issue 421. More coming soon!