In a job interview, you can sometimes tell when the people interviewing you aren't really interested in you and are just marking time and asking polite questions until the interview can end.

Maybe you said or did something early on, and you can see the doors closing behind their eyes. Maybe they were never truly interested in you as a potential employee -- they had their choice picked out a long time ago, but company or organizational rules dictate that they have to bring in a certain number of warm bodies for interviews before they can officially make their decision.

You never had a chance with them, not really. You never had a real shot at this job -- a job which pays less than your old one, but which requires more technical skills. A job which, after six months of unemployment, you really, really need for the psychological fortification of knowing that you're a productive member of society. But most of all, you need it for the income.

Boy, do you need it for the income.

And you knew the moment you stepped in the door, dressed in your interview best, that you didn't have a chance.

I had an interview like that earlier this week. And it's been bugging me ever since, because there's this nagging little voice in the back of my head telling me that maybe, just maybe, if I'd known the right thing to say or the right way to smile, I could have made them interested in me.

Last week, though, I had what I thought was a very good interview for a job at the research division of a local hospital. They'd gotten something over 100 applicants, and they'd brought four people in for in-person interviews. After I talked to the various researchers I'd be working with, they told me they'd make their decision by late this week. I felt really good about my chances.

Today, while I was out, my roommate intercepted a phone call for me at 1:30 p.m. from the hospital's HR person. She left her name and number, but no message.

I found out she'd called a little after 4 p.m., and promptly rang her back. The HR department secretary coldly informed me she'd already left for the day, and wouldn't be back 'til Monday. And she'd left me no messages. I left a message with the other lady who coordinated interviewing me, but she hasn't called, either.

Ack. Now I'm going to be on tenterhooks for the next three days.