*** This is an excerpt from an essay I am working on about my first job.
My purple leather boots were sticking to the floor while I stood between a forty-year-old guitar player and a thirty-something drummer – who hit on me earlier in the night and whose name I forgot- I was nineteen and watching my boss in her knee-high patent leather boots get wild as she sang into the microphone on stage. My first job was the best job I have ever had.
I was transferring from a school in the middle of Bumblefuck otherwise known as upstate New York and I was coming home to New York City. Despite the fact that I was making an upgrade in location, I was depressed to be leaving the standard frat-house wash of college life behind. I started looking for jobs. I was back in the city to get my career going and so I was going to waste any time. I went to Craigslist.
I spent days reading through job ads noticing that Craigslist is really the underbelly for all that is unholy on the internet. I had never used the site for anything before and so when I applied to jobs, and got emails back from Kenyan ministers, my naiveté started to slowly leave me. I found a post calling for writing/ PR interns. The writing appealed to me and I had dabbled in PR in school clubs and so I applied.
I told my parents that I applied to this job and my dad was skeptical. “Are they real?”
“ I think so. They have a website.”
“What’s it like?”
“Who cares? They may not even answer me. “
They did answer me. The founder and I exchanged emails and she wanted to interview me. That’s when my father really started to worry and went to do some Internet stalking. “ They seem legit,” he said. The only things I knew about the job were a) that it had something to do with rock and roll and b) it has something to specifically do with women in rock and roll.
“Yes they do.”
“But have you looked at the pictures.” I was hoping he wouldn’t see the pictures but I guess he had.
“Yeah. They are super cool!”
“ Cool is not the word for it.”
“Dad, you were a Kiss head. They did all sorts of things on stage.”
“True. But they were famous.”
He eventually decided that it as just rock and roll and allowed me to go to the interview. I think part of him wanted to follow me. Thankfully, he had work. I was on my own.
She asked to meet be at a café on 17th and Seventh Avenue, I believe. I tried to look professional and edgy at the same time. I went for all black and a gold necklace. I can’t remember what shoes I was wearing. As a rule I get everywhere at least fifteen minutes early. Usually it’s more like a half-hour early. I showed up twenty minutes early and wondered what to do.
Should I sit down? Should I order something? Should I wait outside? If I order something is that rude? If she sees I was here early and didn’t get a seat is she going to think that’s weird? Should I walk around the block a couple of time? Should I come a minute late? But that would look bad. I won’t do that. Should I just stand here? How will I know if it’s her? How will she know it’s me? I was sweating.
I remember texting my mom and asking her what the proper procedure was. She called me crazy and told me to just sit down and order a coffee. That didn’t really work for me. I also wasn’t sure if I should order anything. Especially if I order it before she arrives and then she is going to offer to pay most likely and I found that weird. I decided I was going to wait in the front. The place was pretty crowded and so I would pray that it stayed that way and tell her that I just arrived and was waiting for a seat to open up. While I waited I scoured the company Facebook to see if I could find her and maybe I could recognize her. The only picture I had time to find was of her crawling around on the floor with a white fur vest and microphone in her hands.
She recognized me, thankfully. You wouldn’t be able to tell that by night she was some kind of fierce rocker chic. She was wearing a white trench coat with pale flowers on it over a peach shirt and beige slacks. I immediately gave her my whole spiel about arriving and seats and whatnot. “ Oh I live across the street, it does get crowded, don’t worry about it, let’s go to the back.” I walked behind making sure that I still smelled like Betsey Johnson perfume and not sweat and utter fear.
She found a table in the middle towards the back. I always hated sitting at tables that were in the middle of the room. I felt as though everyone was either on top of you or looking at you or both. My nerves were elevating. Of course I was on an interview for a job I wasn’t going to be paid for, but I wanted it.
“So tell me about yourself?”
My least favorite question.
“Uhm, well I just finished my first year of college. I was in Binghamton. Now I will be going to Baruch, as I told you via email.”
“ Yes you did. Why?”
“ Why did I switch? Oh well I thought it would be better for my career to be in the city. Binghamton didn’t have a very good journalism program.”
She ordered a coffee. I actually think it was a cappuccino. I asked for water. I did not know what was appropriate. Since then, I’ve learned it’s okay to order coffee.
“So you want to be a journalist?”
“ Well, I’d like to write. Journalism seems like a good field. More magazine stuff though.”
I was certain that I was developing a nervous stutter and that I didn’t sound very well-read.
“ Well, let me tell you a little bit about what we do.”
So she began. She founded an organization that was devoted to promoting female musicians. Basically it was a collective of female musicians. The organization was a nonprofit and they had certain bands that belonged. They would set up concerts and tours and promote these bands on social media and whatnot. The founder, well, she was one of the bands. Her band’s name was G-Spot. She said it very nonchalantly and I choked a little bit on my water. Not because that is not a kickass name but because here was this woman who I did not know and who may turn out to be my boss and although I did not know much about her the one thing I did know was that she sang and played instruments in a group of people under that name. I thought it was pretty cool but also I thought that maybe I should become a little more of a badass myself. I made a mental note to do that.
If I got the job, I would be hired to manage their social media efforts and if I wanted to I could work with the other founder and write articles and blog posts for them. It sounded like a pretty sweet gig to me. We spent the rest of the time talking about the job and about PR and about the organization and about music and about my secret dreams to be a rock star. She offered me the job on the spot. I was pretty elated. I would start the following week.