Well, I had a job interview today at a print shop; it's the first interview I've landed since I got laid off three and a half months ago.

The ad in the paper reads: TYPESETTER/ MAC OPERATOR FT and/or PT. Exp in PageMaker & Photoshop. Exc typing skills a must, min of 60 WPM w/ accuracy. Gd Benefits.

I've been using Macs for twelve years, and PageMaker just as long. I started using Photoshop back in 1994. And since I have absolutely, intractably horrendous handwriting (I think the family recessive gene for dyslexia mutated into dysgraphia) I've learned to type pretty well. 45 words per minute if I'm flustered, 65 if I'm on a roll.

So, I said to myself, "Self! Call them! You need a job!"

So I phoned the shop yesterday. And the secretary took my name and number set me up for an interview today. I asked the woman whether the job was part time or full time and what the hours, pay, and start date would be. She didn't know. She gave me their address; the shop is a 48-mile round trip from my apartment.

"Self," I said. "That's way out in the boonies. You sure you wanna drive that far every day?"

"We need a job," I replied. "And no one's so much as sent us a rejection letter in the past three months."

"But you don't really know anything about this job," I persisted. "You're a night person, and you want part-time. What if they only want full-time? What if the pay's bad and the schedule inflexible?"

"Tell you what," I said. "I'll call later in the afternoon to check on the details of the job. Surely someone will be able to tell me something."

So I phoned them back late that afternoon. A different secretary answered my call. I asked her my burning questions. She had no answers. "I'm afraid I'm a fount of lack of information," she apologized.

So, early this afternoon I drank a cup of coffee, put on a nice dress, printed out directions to the shop (bless you, MapQuest) and fresh copies of my resume, gathered samples of the publications I'd laid out and designed, and headed off in my little Toyota.

I got to the print shop on time and went on inside. The secretary gave me a clipboard with a pen and application and took me back to a cramped, grungy break room to fill it out.

The application was double-sided, and included 1-inch-square boxes in which I was instructed to "describe in detail past work experiences and qualifications."

I've mentioned my horrible handwriting, yes? Handwriting that would make a pharmacist weep? So my details mainly consisted of "please refer to attached resume."

That completed, I took my application and resume back the main reception area, and the secretary took my clipboard back to the production area. She told me to wait for the production coordinator.

There were no chairs. An elderly basset hound/cocker spaniel mix named Molly padded out from a back office and sat up to beg for a treat. The secretary pointed me to a jar of treats on the counter. After I fed and scratched Molly, I gazed at the fish (oscars, I think) in a large tank, then looked at some nicely-done pen sketches of local churches that adorned the walls.

Finally, someone came out from production and took me back to the cramped, croweded Mac room to take a 20-minute typing and layout test in Pagemaker. I was given a Catholic church bulletin and was instructed to replicate it as best as possible in the time allowed. I think I did okay on the test, but not great; I spent too much time futzing with the tab settings.

When the test time expired, the production coordinator told me to print it out ... then asked me if I'd seen my application. I told her the secretary had taken it from me.

She hunted unsuccessfully through a couple of nearby paper piles, then said, "I'll just put your printout on Cathy's desk. She was supposed to talk with you after your test, but she had to leave. You'll have to call her tomorrow."

I blinked. I'd come all the way out here for an interview ... and my interviewer bailed on me?

"Can you tell me anything about the job?" I asked. "Hours, pay, schedule, start date, that kind of thing?"

"I really don't know," she replied. "Cathy knows. She'll be back tomorrow."

She escorted me out, and I went on my way.

So, in summary, after three phone calls and driving close to fifty miles for a job interview ... I've been told nothing of substance about this job. I don't even know if they're still looking for part-time people or not.


At least I got to play with the dog.