My first post-college job interview in Madrid was with a Swiss firm. Career Services at my college prepared me well. Three copies of my resume printed on Cranes 100% cotton paper were in a slim black leather portfolio. I looked polished in the requisite navy-blue suit, white blouse, stockings, and navy-blue pumps. It was 111 degrees Fahrenheit.
I sat in the waiting area of the office. The heat and lack of air conditioning made my confidence and any polish wilt.
The Swiss man who interviewed me was a bear of man. His meaty fingertips drummed over my resume, carelessly leaving sweaty prints on the fine cotton paper, I knew he wasn’t even considering me as a candidate.
As I answered his next question, he bit his lips to stifle a yawn, his nostrils flared.
I have a strong yawn-response and I covered my empathy-yawn with what I hoped was a confident jaw-lock, deep breath, and sunniest smile.
Death nell to my aspirations.
He stood up, wiped his brow with a damp handkerchief, and extended his arm toward the door.
“You are just too nice.”
I scrambled to put my resume in my portfolio case and to un-stick my sweaty legs from the office chair. I walked to the door and as I passed the Swiss bear, he looked down at me and patted my head.
“You, little one, are too nice. You will have to become mean to make it in this world - stop smiling.”
Nice? Maybe so, because instead of biting his paw off, I just let that yawn I had been holding in spread over my face.