A few months ago, I decided to look for part-time work in addition to my full-time job. The holidays were approaching and what better way to rack up the credit card bills even more than having some extra income. I thought I’d apply at a department store in my area. Even though I’d never worked in retail, how hard could it be to find a part-time job during the holidays?
“I’m going to pick up an application on my way home from work,” I told my husband. I certainly wasn’t going to fill it out there. You see, I should have been a doctor. It’s not so much my ability to memorize body parts but my handwriting. I could have made a career out of writing unreadable prescriptions. In order for anyone to decipher a simple word such as “the” I must write very,very slowly.
“We require all applicants to complete the application here — online,” a very pregnant Human Resources woman informed me. So much for my plan. But at least they’d be able to make out my name and phone number if they decided to contact me.
She informed me they were definitely hiring. In other words, I was in. She set me up on a computer and explained that there was a short questionnaire following the personal information section.
“It’s imperative you answer everything honestly,” she said. Major emphasis on honestly. Did I look like I needed to answer yes to the question: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
I typed and clicked my way through my education, job and lack of criminal history. Then it was time for the SHORT questionnaire: ANSWER THE FIRST SIXTY QUESTIONS, it read. How many sixties were there? ANSWER EACH QUESTION HONESTLY. Why didn’t they just strap me down and give me a polygraph?
“How’s it going?” the mother-to-be enquired.
“Almost finished,” I announced. She never said anything about answering her honestly. Just the questions. But I really wanted the job so from then on it was complete honesty.
Have you ever told a white lie?
Deja Vu! My choices were A- strongly agree or B- strongly disagree. I decided I’d have to check A. Who hasn’t told a white lie? If I go with B they’d know I was telling a big, fat lie.
Have you ever taken office supplies from the workplace?
I could start my own ballpoint pen company with all the pens I’ve taken from work. So I marked A.
Are you the life of the party?
I’m a fun person so I clicked A for strongly agree but then reconsidered. Life of the party to these people might be falling down, DUI drunk. But if I strongly disagreed than I was a total dud. And I’m NOT a total dud. So I stuck with A.
Do you enjoy meeting people?
I was beginning to think that I’d logged on to Match.com.
Do you talk to your co-workers about the job?
Who doesn’t? Are we supposed to pretend like we’re in a monastery?
I can sell anything in the world.
I couldn’t even convince my own mother to buy raffle tickets for a fundraiser I organized, so B it was.
I’m the greatest sales person.
If a customer decides against purchasing an item do you pressure them in to buying it anyway?
I pictured myself wrestling customers to the floor in order to seize their credit cards. I’m a small person so I definitely disagreed with that one.
“How’s that coming?” The mother-to-be was really mothering.
“I’ve no retail experience so I’m concerned about answering these questions honestly,” I blurted out. I knew she’d recommend me now that I’d used the H word.
But she seemed shocked and told me to answer the questions anyway. In other words: LIE. I was confused and didn’t feel like changing my answers.
The second set of questions seemed familiar. They were the first set asked in a different way. I would need to compare my second sixty with the first sixty to make sure they matched but I was exhausted and needed a drink. After all I’m the life of the party.
Three hours later, I was home.
“You should have never admitted you steal office supplies,” my husband said. “They’ll never call you.”
And they never did. But I did find work at another department store. It was easy; I just lied like crazy on the questionnaire.