Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Year of Gratitude - Day One Hundred Seventy-nine

Day 179 - Hope in Spite of the Fears
I was up and ready early.  I had plenty of time to take care of emails and other online work after I shaved and showered before I needed to drive to the hotel.  Again, I was about to interview for a position that, by itself, does not interest me.  My focus would be on remaining open to the opportunities the universe was bringing to me in response to my needs.
I didn’t have to wait long for Sarah to arrive in the lobby to begin the first of two interviews, and as I took my seat across the table from her, I felt calm.  Sarah is a professional.  She maintains an easy economy of energy in both conversation and movement - highly polished and poised, though not generous.  She asked a lot of behavioral questions (“Tell me about a time when...”) relating to the position as well as general hospitality issues.  Having coached others on these types of questions helped me give answers I felt comfortable explaining, and I tried to take my own advice of spending only 30 to 60 seconds on any response.  Only once did I have to ask her to restate the questions to ensure I had answered it fully.
I felt good about the exchange; we weren’t going to be best friends by the end of the interview, but I had the sense she would not be difficult to work for.  We spoke for about 90 minutes, and then she took me to see Dave, the managing director (“General Manager” at other properties).  
Dave has a self-confidence that is at once compelling and disarming; I imagine he could also be quite intimidating under the right circumstances.  He greeted me warmly, and as we started in on the meat of the conversation, he asked about my resume - he didn’t see the flow of my employment history logically moving toward this position, which is obviously a step backward in my career.
As we discussed my resume, he asked me if I knew his dear, close personal friend who was GM at the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown - a man by the name of Reggie.  Uh-oh.  Dave’s best friend was the worst GM I have ever had the bad fortune to work for, or at least that was how I felt when I left (and I haven’t had a worse relationship with a GM since).  
Dave explained he had originally planned to share Thanksgiving with Reggie and their respective families.  Oh, dear.  I explained that Reggie and I had only worked together for a short time, and that I had grown up a lot since those days.  I told him the (true) story of the last time he and I disagreed on something, and that I felt we had a mutual respect by the end of the discussion.  I hoped that was enough to avoid any adverse decisions based on a conversation between the two of them, which I have no doubt would happen (though I do doubt I’ll ever know).
The conversation felt very easy; there were several moments when Dave would say something encouraging, like “Exactly” or “I agree,” and I felt as if we were making a connection.  By the end of the interview, when he was saying goodbye, he told me he “enjoyed it.”  I had no reason to think he didn’t mean it.  He told me I should hear within 48 hours.
I finished the day with mixed feelings: on one hand, I felt everything went very well and I had done a good job with the interview; on the other, I wondered if both Sarah’s efficient style and Dave’s close friendship with a man I once loathed would work against me for this position.  At the end of the day, I had to leave it for the universe to work out.  I had done my part.

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