The interview took place in February and I am still waiting to hear.

I heard about the job in Japan doing co-ordination and administration for an international exchange program. It seemed like a perfect fit after all of my years studying Japanese and my Bachelor of Commerce. I bought a new suit, got my roommate to drive the two hours to Montreal and I was all set.

I entered into this opulent hall of a big hotel downtown. There were about ten other people ready to get interviewed but by the time it was my turn they were all gone and I sat alone. I had been waiting an hour. Finally, someone called me in.

It was a smallish room with a raised desk. High atop their chairs was three Japanese women over fifty. In the back was an older Japanese gentleman, who was the only one to laugh at my jokes. The others just replied by writing in their little notebooks more furiously.

"I would like you to limit your responses, try not to talk for too long" one began after I handed them the photo of myself.

uh...sure, of course, no problem

Question One: "Now the first question is the hardest. What will you do if you don't get the job"

Grad school or a possible move to Toronto.

Question Five: "What will you do if small children point and laugh at you?"

Uh, well, heh heh actually that happened while I was in Japan. I would just understand that it is a different culture and they aren't used to seeing people that look like me.

"We didn't ask that. We asked what you would do."

Well, I wouldn't actually do anything, I would just smile and understand.

Question Eight: What would you do if one of your Japanese co-workers started spreading rumours about you and your male houseguests, and your supervisor approached you about it?

Well, I would tell the supervisor my side of the story and explain that in North America it is acceptable to have male friends but if he found it inappropriate, I would not invite them.

At the end, they asked me to read a Japanese story about onsen. It went fine. The lady put out her hand to get the paper back and I thought that she wanted to shake my hand. As I shook it, I knew I made a mistake. I giggled and apologised. They stared daggers at me. I then scuffled out.

In my roommate's car, I immediately started quietly crying while looking out the window. He tried to be consoling, but that was it. It was the worst interview ever and they have still not yet told me "yes or no".

Update -- they put me on a waiting list then I rejected THEM. THANK GOD!

"So I'd have to say that, although interaction with the faculty is at a minimum your first two years, in the end it was really worth going to UIUC."

"That's great. Hey, why don't I tell you a little about the company now."

*nod* (Hmmm. I'm feeling a little lightheaded. I probably should've eaten before I got here. Well, no matter. I'm sure it'll clear up after a little while.)

"Basically, we believe that every employee is flurble within the structure of the enterprise. We try to yarp murble's skills to their greatest potential..."

*nod* (Whoa. What's that odd tingling sensation? Something doesn't feel right. I probably shouldn't have had that cup of coffee on an empty stomach. But I've done that before and nothing like this has happened... Okay, conceal and continue, conceal and continue.)

"...on each job. While we try to grmprlr flurg mrglralr, you might be arglghm krzrlk travel grblurm krarkle mfaz..."

*nodnod* (Uh oh. Tingly feeling spreading. Limbs asleep. I have the bad feeling that this is going to get worse before it gets better. Maybe if I try shifting positions...) *lean forward* *nod* (...Nope. And now I look like I'm fidgeting.)

"...wah wahwah wah waaaah wawah waah wah waaah..."

(Oh shit. Losing peripheral vision. Seeing in black and white. I'm going to black out. I'm going to black out during the first promising job interview I've had in months. Okay. Don't panic. You have to let him know about this before your head smacks against the desk.)

"...bzzz bzz bzzzzbz bzzz bz bzzz--"

"--I'm sorry, I dunno wazz wrong *pant* but I seem to sunn'ly feel very dizzy *pant*...zz never happened to me b'fore..."
(Except after I've gone through the mile run in gym class...)

*concern* "Bzz bzz wah brzz glass of water? Brz bzzr doctor?"

"Yesyes, a glass of water would be *pant* very good. No, I donthink a doctor is nezzzzary. (This is really hilarious. I'm dying in a job interview. The economy really is murder.)

*leaves to get water*

*hands on knees* *pantpant* (Take it easy. Forget about the damned interview. Don't hyperventilate. Vision clearing. There. Getting better. Yay, I'm doomed.)

*returns with water* "Here you are. Are you sure you're okay?"

*gulpgulpgulp* *pant* "Yeah..." (Wow. It's like a fog lifting. It's clearing up, just like that.) "Yeah, I'm really okay now. Wow. That was really odd. That's never happened to me in my life, out of the blue like that. Heh. But I suppose you've had all sorts of strange things happen during interviews."

"Actually, that's the strangest thing I've ever had happen to me."

"...Oh."

"But you're okay now."

"Yeah, actually, I am."

"Well... okay. Why don't you tell me a bit about this first project on your resume..."

"After careful consideration, we have decided to pursue other candidates who more closely meet our requirements."
Such as maintaining consciousness, no doubt.

(*sigh*)


After experiencing a very similar episode many years later, I have now come to realize that what I'd actually had was a panic attack.

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