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Coffee Shop Interview



I open the door to the Starbucks in downtown Los Angeles. Packed, as usual. Full of failed writers, failing writers, the homeless, and the soon-to-be-homeless. And me. Lingering in the doorway in a hand-me-down suit from my dad.

Scanning the coffee shop, I look for “Jason” who is supposed to interview me for an entry level job at his start-up company. No one in the shop makes eye contact. Terrific. Can we make a rule that no job interview should have to start with the applicant playing Where’s Waldo for the employer? Just then, a face looks up from a table in the middle of the shop.

“Hey. Steven?”

I put on my fake customer service smile and shake his hand. The eyes of the other patrons settle on me. A couple even take out their earbuds and I see the curiosity in their eyes. They’re ready to see a show.

Jason and I exchange a couple pleasantries. He is seemingly unaffected by the fact that we are being observed by a roomful of strangers. Clearly he has experience conducting job interviews four feet away from industrial sized coffee grinders.

“So Steven, tell me a little bit about yourself.”

Well I recently graduated college with a liberal arts degree and now I’m desperately trying to not move back in with my parents. My life consists of filling out applications for jobs I have no interest in and smiling at people like yourself. I opt for a more tactful answer.

“I recently graduated from college and I’m searching for part-time or full-time employment in the Los Angeles area and your company caught my eye.”

How was that? Jason seems to have bought it. I’m pretty sure even the guy sitting in the corner gave me an approving nod. Before I can say more Jason launches into his spiel.

“Let me tell you a little bit about our company…”

Terrific. Shed some light on this blossoming organization that apparently cannot even afford an office. I’ll just be here nodding politely as you explain how your tech nonsense can turn a profit despite offering nothing tangible to sell. And let’s just throw in a quick…

“Oh that’s interesting.”

“It really is. So you see Steven, our growing company desperately needs the help of an intern.”

“I’m sorry, did you say intern?” Did this asshole just say intern?

“Yes. Unfortunately we can’t offer paid employment at this moment but there is definitely room for growth. Plus we offer college credit.”

All I remember next is being in my car halfway back to my apartment with my necktie in the seat next to me. Last time I checked my landlord doesn’t accept rent in the form of college credit.

Steven Haas is an award-winning screenwriter, stand-up comedian, and author. He is the author of the satirical screenwriting guide The Screenwryter's Toolbox: Master Level Techniques to Take Your 'Career' to the First Level. Check him out on Twitter, his website, and PodBean.
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