My Interview Was Canceled?

My friends received a copy of Fortune magazine, the issue with the Top 100 Companies To Work For. Saturday morning, I was flipping through the pages to see who was on the list.

My former employer, Wegmans, reached number 2 this year. In the past, they’ve been number 1, but they’ve also been other places in the top 10 in previous years. I spent almost 5 years working for Wegmans, the majority of my time spent behind a cash register as a cashier. For the last year of my time there I had health insurance, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act taking effect, and that also guaranteed me 30-hour schedules each week. Despite being a grocery store, and therefore viewed as not being a “real job” by some people, it was a great place to work and I would have stayed longer if things in my life went differently.

Further down on the list was Delta Airlines, a company with whom I had an upcoming interview. Delta came in at 63 on the list, and was the only airline company to rank in the top 100 at all. I read the article about Delta, which mentioned the kinds of stress and customers I’d have to deal with along with the perks I’d get for working for them. The stress sounded like my average Sunday or holiday, people would complain for something that’s out of my control, and then I’d have to offer an alternative solution that would get them what they want even if it’s not exactly what they originally hoped for. The perks include some of the usual benefits, plus I’d be able to fly for free or at a reduced rate albeit I’d be on standby and could get bumped from the flight I wanted to be on.

That free flight would be worth my time. I’m not sure how often I’d be allowed to fly, but all I needed was one flight, the one that would get me to Japan. If I could work for Delta and get out of debt, then put away a certain amount to get started in Japan, I wouldn’t have to think much about saving money for the flight.

I wasn’t dreaming about the flight as much as I was thinking that I might be able to practice speaking Japanese in rare moments. How many other people working there know even basic Japanese? It might not be something that will come up a lot, but when they do have a Japanese customer or passenger, I would be in demand.

Ultimately, it was a customer service job that involved lifting suitcases, which sounded better than sitting behind a desk without a view. It would be a constant reminder of my goal of traveling, and I would have a better understanding of what I’d face as a passenger before I embark on my first flight.

Yes, that’s correct, I’ve never been on a flight before. And my dream is to spend 21 hours in airports and on airplanes to go halfway around the world. Clearly, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into.

But this job was important to me. The free flight, the possibility of using Japanese, the physical labor involved, and especially getting to be around people, all of these things were reasons why I wanted to work for Delta. I was preparing for the interview ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute, I got my important documents together in a place where I would have them ready to go on the day of the interview. I did some research on Delta, so I would have some questions to ask about the company and the position. All that was left was to get dressed and head to the airport.

I got an e-mail today. “Your interview has been canceled, and no other interview slots are available at this time.”

I was in disbelief. I checked the e-mail address that the e-mail was sent from, because maybe it was a scam of some sort, maybe someone didn’t want me to go to the interview so they would have a better chance of getting the position. I read the e-mail a second time, even a third time. Do these things even happen?

The obvious reason why this happened would be that Delta filled the position. If that was the case, then it’s bothersome to be hanging on this long, from applying for the position to the digital interview and then to scheduling the face-to-face interview. I felt like I was on a really short list, like I was almost going to be employed again. How do they know if another person is a better candidate, if they just looked better on paper? I feel like I could have been exactly what Delta was looking for, if I had the opportunity to show them.

I have to wonder if recent events didn’t come into play. United Air’s scandal, where a flight was overbooked and a customer was beaten and dragged off the plane, could have easily affected other airlines. In this case, if the Delta flight that the interviewer was going to be on was already overbooked, it’s possible that the interviewer decided to free up their seat so as to not cause another overbooking scandal where people would need to be removed. In order to get the incident off everyone’s minds, there’s not a set date for a future interview so they can see if it snowballs into a bigger issue or if it is going to quietly fade off the radar. At least, that’s my guess as to what happened.

I replied to my cancellation e-mail, letting the person at the other end know I was sorry it was cancelled and that I hoped to interview again. I was curious as to why the interview was cancelled, but I didn’t ask for a reason because I figured I would get a vague response or it would be treated as if I didn’t really need to know.

This was a gamble for me, as I had an interview last week for a company that was willing to hire me on the spot. I was cautious about that, because while the job was a good fit based on my past experiences, it barely seemed like they were looking for skill and more like they were looking for someone with a pulse. I called that company, hoping the position was still available.

Needless to say, I’m desperate for work at the moment, and I shouldn’t have placed all my hopes on one job.  But I’m going to bide my time, because there will be another opening for Delta in the future, and that might be my time to shine.

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