Country of Origin: Pakistan
I’ve been in the telecoms field for the last 20 years and writing for the last five. During my professional life, I have sat through multiple job interviews, all held in quiet office meeting rooms. Dressed professionally, having already researched the company, I maintained a good and attentive posture and was aware of my body language. I stayed focused on the interviewer and paid full attention to their questions and responses, striving to impress with my personality, tone, manners, and knowledge.
But this time, I had a very different experience.
I live in Pakistan, and I had to give an interview for a remote content writing job in the USA. Due to the 11-hour time difference, the interview time was about 9.00 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time.
I was on my way to a mobile repair shop because that day my phone had suddenly stopped working. Luckily, I switched my Mobile SIM card to another mobile beforehand. I entered an ice cream parlor to grab a chair and a table for my interview and ordered a cup of pineapple-flavored ice cream while waiting for the call from the US interviewer.
I observed that the parlor had a lot of people in it. I was surrounded by tables packed with people talking to each other, enjoying their favorite ice creams, fruit juice, and milkshake treats.
My interviewer was a lady. As she was on a video call, I noticed that she was a white woman, about 43 years of age, working as an editor in the organization. She was punctual and called me at exactly 9:00 p.m.
Luckily, I had headphones with me. I immediately attached them to my phone and then started my interview. We were still introducing ourselves to each other when a waiter arrived with my ice cream and put it down in front of me. In Pakistan, most people can’t speak and understand English except those who specifically study it, so the waiter looked at me with a puzzled expression and went away.
Although I was trying my best to impress this woman with my writing expertise, I had to speak aloud and occasionally repeat my sentences due to a slow internet connection. As I continued to speak, I noticed that the people sitting around my table were staring at me. Some of them looked surprised, some were impressed, and some had mischievous smiles on their faces when they realized that I was talking to an attractive foreign woman.
The interviewer was detail-oriented and wanted me to explain my writing niche in depth. so I tried my best to make her believe that I was the best writer she could find on the planet, but it was not so easy. Meanwhile, my ice cream was melting before my eyes, and people around me were paying more attention to me than to their own ice creams.
To be honest, at that moment, I decided to impress them even more by using complex and difficult English words, so I started using these words frequently to show off my command of English to those around me. In doing so, no doubt, I let my usual attention to tenses and other grammatical rules go out the window, something my interviewer would have definitely noticed.
My interview lasted around half an hour and was punctuated by some interesting and amusing moments. For instance, I was explaining the difference between Pakistani and US cultures when I told the interviewer that it’s really awkward in Pakistani society if a young man comes to a family home and tells a father directly that he’s the boyfriend of his daughter.
Right then, when I looked around, the people in the vicinity were laughing at me. When I suggested that I could write an article on how to train children to protect themselves from sexual harassment, the folks around me stared.
I tried to convince the interviewer that I could write on multiple topics but that my niche is love and relationships. In doing so, I used romantic words like love, affair, and relationship numerous times.
When I finished my interview, the person sitting next to my table came up to me and asked me with a smile, “Brother, were you speaking to your girlfriend?”
I corrected him, explaining that she was my interviewer.
But I don’t think he believed me.
Thank you to Julianna Wages for their inspired edit on this piece and everyone else on the Lifestyle & Relationships team.
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