Friday, September 14, 2012

Je Suis un Singe

You know that feeling of hopelessness you have when you're speeding down your friend's hilly driveway on a razor scooter at 50mph and it's the first time you've ever used a scooter and you don't know how to stop and you know that no matter what you do, you are inevitably rushing full-speed and head-on into a painful situation?

That was me today.  And all of yesterday.  Also me when I was 15 with the scooter, but that's another story.

Here's the sitch:  

Wednesday evening I got a call from a man at one of the places I interviewed but didn't get the job.  He said that a friend of mine (who did get the job) had recommended me for a job involving customer service for Canadians, and that they needed French-speakers.  During the course of the brief phone call, I heard myself agree to an interview and he gave a bunch of information, all of which leaked out my ears except "And part of the interview will be in French."  Of course.  What did I expect, Swahili?

Now, aside from the two years in high school and the one semester I took in college, the only French-speaking experience I have is a day in Paris, and random conversations with my mom.  While I can get by in basic conversations, I don't really speak French.  I speak Franglais.  You can't do customer service with frustrated customers whose native language is French when you speak Franglais.
Tra la la... c'est moi, c'est moi!
No speaka-de-Fronch!
The moment I hung up the phone, I dashed to the bookshelf that (thankfully) contains all kinds of readers, stories, dictionaries, and grammar exercises for learning French.  I planted myself on the couch and yelled in slight hysterics for Sam not to bother me (which was irrelevant because he was quietly studying in the other room).

The next day I woke up and decided it had been some kind of weird dream, and I didn't actually need to interview for a job.  I thought "Heck, I just won't go."  But instead I dragged myself again to the couch to do pages from a review workbook.  All day long.

By bedtime I was on the verge of panic.  It wasn't so much that I wanted the job and I knew I would fail, it was that I felt that by accepting the interview I had led them to believe that I spoke French super well and then I was just going to go in there and stare blankly at the French guy's face with my mouth hanging open and drool hanging from my chin.  And that's just embarrassing.

This morning I wasn't hungry for breakfast and went through the morning routine like I was preparing for a funeral.  On the way out the door I freaked out one last time, and Sam tried to reassure me by saying that, for arguments sake, Lamarckian Evolution is a scientific truth, and that this interview was the leaves at the top of the tree, and that I, as a short-necked giraffe, needed to stretch and stretch to reach them.  I probably wouldn't reach them now, but if I kept stretching and trying, eventually I would get the leaves I wanted.  (Get it?  Get it?  Geez, my whole life is obscure.)
Let's fast forward.  So I got to the place and, despite wanting to barf and run away, I went through the motions.  Most of the interview was in English, which was awesome.  Finally, the native speaker (from Paris) asked me to tell him what I put on my resume/CV, so I told him a few things.  Then he asked where I learned French, and I told him about school and my mom.  Then he asked where my Mom learned French.  I wasn't sure of the answer, so I said she learned it from a friend (safe bet, right?).  He then asked if I'd been to France and I said yes, Paris.

I thought I did okay.  And then he asked me to write some stuff from my resume in French.  Yikes.  Let me tell you, writing a resume in French is different than English.  And I tend to use big/persuasive/whatever words in resume to make it sound awesome and impressive that I can't even think of close synonyms for in French.  And I don't know how to say "database" or "volunteer" or "intern" or "inventory" or anything relevant, really.

I think that was the only way I really felt that I made a fool of myself, because I'd talked up the writing skills.  Shouldn't've done that, eh?  (HEY! I speak Canadian!  Ok yeah, that was lame.)

I don't expect that I'll get the job.  I don't even think I want it, really, because then it'll be the same thing as today every day.  But I've stretched my little neck, and I'll keep stretching, and one day (soon I hope) I'll get the job I need and want.

1 comment:

LP said...

I love that Lamarckian evolution is even part of your daily conversation.

I wish you good luck in the job search, but not too soon because I enjoy reading your posts.