I had taken the day off from the maintenance crew because I had an interview with a public-relations firm. I sat in the lobby in my itchy suit, my tie choking me like a silk noose.
As I was re-reading my resume for the thousandth time, the door opened and the hiring manager called me in. I stood up and offered her a sweaty hand. She shook it and winced.
She led me into a glimmering conference room. A row of sharply dressed executives sat at a long table.
“Please, have a seat,” a man said, motioning to the head of the table.
“Thank you.” I sat down, setting my resume in front of me. My sweaty palm left a noticeable handprint on the table’s glass surface. I immediately tried to wipe it off with my sleeve.
“So we understand you have a Journalism degree,” one of the executives said.
I nodded. “That’s correct. I graduated a few months ago.”
“And do you have any public-relations experience?” another executive asked.
My palms started to gush even more sweat. I hated this question. This was always when my interviews fell apart.
“I do have knowledge of public-relations concepts and values,” I said, sitting with my back straight. I opened my mouth to say more, but stopped.
The executives looked at each other.
“OK,” one said. “Tell us a little about your work history.”
This was another hardball question that tended to unravel my chances of getting the job. But this time, I was prepared with an answer.
“Well,” I said, “since graduation, I’ve been pursuing a career in the green industry.”
One of the executives raised his eyebrows. “The green industry?”
“That’s correct,” I said. “And as we all know, going green is important in today’s environmentally conscious climate.”
“It says here you’re employed with Benito’s Landscape Service,” one of the executives said, holding a copy of my resume.
I swallowed. “That’s correct.”
“And it says your position is a day laborer who specializes in mowing lawns.”
“Correct, yes,” I said.
The entire room stared at me.
“So you mow lawns?” the executive asked. “That’s your current profession?”
“Technically, yes,” I said. “But I often spin it as working in the green industry. You might even say I’m rebranding myself.”
The executive blinked several times. “Rebranding yourself?”
“Precisely,” I said. “And I believe my ability to put a positive spin on the narrative demonstrates my natural propensity for public relations. Wouldn’t you agree?”
The executive continued to stare.
I pointed to the door behind me. “Should I see myself out?”
“Please,” the executive said. “All the spin you’ve been spewing at us is making me dizzy.”