Job Interview by Dimitre Zlatinov



"What brought you to the South Hemisphere?"


"My shadow?"


"Your what?"




I was at a job interview with another department of the bank. Applying for jobs internally was considered a sign that one wants to grow in the corporate ladder. For me it was a way of escaping from my desk for a couple of hours. Nothing else. So, every week I was trying to apply for as many positions I could find on the internal job circular. And I have to tell I was very good at picking positions for which I would be invited to an interview. Others were not so good and that made me a subject of constant envy.


"I don't think that I understand you," said one of my interviewers, a blond lady in her early forties. We were at the end of the interview. 


"It's simple,” I said. “From where I come from the sun rises from east and moves south until it goes down west. So, my shadow first faces west, then northwest, north, northeast and finally east. It never faces south, I mean during the day. So, it was my dream as a child to go to a place where my shadow would face south…"


"And that's why you moved to Australia?"


"Yeah, that’s right," I answered.


"What reason could that be, to move continents just because of the direction your shadow?"


"Any reason is as good as one sees it, don't you think so?" I smiled at the lady.


“Where are you originally from?” she asked.


“Bulgaria.” – I said.


“It was part of Soviet Union, isn’t it?”


“That’s Belarus.”


“Is it?” she tried to smile. “Anyway, you arrived in Australia, jumped off the plane and saw your shadow facing south."


"It was raining this day actually."




"It rained for ten days. I thought the sun would never come out again…because of me. I can tell you that I hardly slept and eat these days,” – I paused for a moment. “And, on the eleventh day, the sun appeared. I ran down on the street and…"




“I nearly died by what I saw.”


“And what did you see?”


“My shadow kept facing north?”


There was a very long pause.


"I have never heard anything more preposterous than this? You think this is funny?" – asked the lady.


“You want to say I’m a liar?” – I protested vigorously.


There was another long pause.


"And you work for the bank?"


"That's correct."


"Your work performance is…?" she looked at the pile of paper on the desk in front of her.


"I'm one of the best in my department. Every year I get 'exceed expectations' in my performance review."


"Have you told your colleagues about your shadow?"


"Why are you asking me that?"


"You see…when somebody says such a thing…this could…"


"Pose some danger for the team." - I finished her thought.


"I could see this as a problem in my department…knowing the people there."


"I'm good with people,” I said. “If you prefer I won't tell anyone."


“Is your shadow still doing it now?”


My second interviewer, a gentleman in the black suit finally opened his mouth. The lady looked scornfully at him, but he pretended not to see her. His curiosity was too big to keep his mouth shut any longer. He knew that I had blown out my chances to get the job and we would hardly meet again. And he wanted to know. God, I could see the sparkles in his eyes. I could see how he itched to tell everyone he knew about me – to his mates in the pub, to his family friends at the dinner parties, to his colleagues at coffee brakes - a story like this doesn’t come to him often. And bigger and juicier this story was - more interesting he would be. I looked at his eyes and felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for the lady too. She felt very important in her position of a medium level manager. She had worked her ass to get there. And she thought herself important. She thought she got power over me - she believed she could make me or break me. It was entirely in her power vested to her by the bank to decide human destinies. And she really believed in that. Shit! I felt like crying at this moment. But I pulled myself together and even smiled.


“Yes, it is. I can easily demonstrate it to you. We just have to go out.”


“No, it is not necessary,” said the lady with icy voice.


I looked at her.


I believe this is the end of the interview?"


"Yes, it is. Thank you very much for coming. We'll get beck to you by the end of the week," she says.


“Thanks you for inviting me!” – I said.


They took me to the door and shook hands with me.


On the street, I looked at the building I just left. On the third floor, I saw the gentleman in the black suit at the window. I could swear that he was trying to see the direction of my shadow.

I looked at my shadow. And, as I expected, it pointed north. I smiled. Then I looked up at the window and waved to the gentleman. But there was nobody there.





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Dimitre Zlatinov