As part of the blog tour for Marked, I’ve been subjecting characters to difficult job interview questions (thanks to this article) to see how they would react. This time it’s Adam’s turn. Poor guy.
Alex: Thanks for agreeing to meet with me, Adam.
Adam: Yeah, well, Branen said it would be good for the department. You seem a little familiar. At least, your mind does.
Alex: I can’t imagine where we’ve met before. In any case, I’d like to ask you some personal questions and have you respond honestly. Is that okay?
Alex: It’s part of your job review.
Adam: Why are you lying to me?
Alex: (laughs) I should know better than that. Let’s just say I’m working on a project I don’t think you’d believe if I told you. It won’t hurt you or anyone you work with. I’m just trying to understand you a little better. Is that okay?
Adam: I guess.
A pause while Adam reads Alex’s mind, and Alex doesn’t stop him.
Adam: Crap, really?
Alex: (with a mysterious smile) Let’s get started.
Adam: If you say so.
Alex: What type of work environment do you prefer?
Adam: Really? You’re starting with that question? Um, someplace where I know what’s expected, where I have interesting problems to solve and things I can do something about, and, you know, where everybody doesn’t resent me. That would be nice.
Alex: Do you think everyone resents you now?
Adam: Of course.
Alex: That’s very interesting. Let’s move on to the next question. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
Adam: I’m a talker. I like to talk my way out of things, and if it takes reading someone’s cues in Mindspace or the real world to make that happen, I’ll do it. You throw a lot fewer punches if you talk well enough, even if you can’t get exactly what you wanted. A lot of times you can get what you wanted, though, even if everyone is screaming. Get them talking, keep them talking, and eventually you’ll be able to reach them somehow.
Alex: What tools or habits do you use to keep organized?
Adam: I used to try to keep everything in my head, but my memory’s not as good as it was once due to the drug problem, I think. It might just be age. I’m forty now, after all. In the last few years, though, I’ve ended up stealing a lot of Cherabino’s organization system. If you make a note of most everything, it’s harder to forget it. Makes for more paperwork, though. But I can do paperwork. I don’t like it, but I can do it if there’s a purpose.
Alex: In what ways do you raise the bar for yourself and those around you?
Adam: I try to ask myself what Swartz would want me to do. There’s not much I wouldn’t do for Cherabino if she asked me, but when it comes to me looking at myself in the mirror, I care far more about Swartz. If he’d be happy, I can be okay even if it hurts. Even if it’s hard. That way of thinking has gotten me through a lot of things I don’t know if I would have gotten through otherwise.
Alex: And the others around you?
Adam: That’s an odd question. Mostly, everybody raises the bar on me. But you get used to it, you know? You get to the point where you ask the questions yourself, and you ask them back to them.
Adam: You realize that’s my phrase. You can’t just copy it.
Alex: Can’t I?
Adam is silent.
Alex: I’ll ask one more question. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Adam: I feel like you should be telling me that, considering who your mind says you are.
Alex: Humor me.
Adam: If you say so. In five years, maybe I’ll stop wanting the drug so much. Maybe even cut down on the smoking, take up some kind of more regular exercise. People who exercise seem to run away from criminals easier than I do. And run after them.
Alex: So you’ll still be chasing down criminals?
Adam: I hope so. I like this job. It’s good for me staying clean. It gives me something to do, something useful, you know?
Alex: I do.
Adam: Tell me something. If you’re really who your mind says you are, why are you here talking to me?
Alex: Honestly, we needed a good blog post and you had a minute. I thought I’d stop by.
Adam: Not sure I completely understood that, but well, I guess it worked. Try to go easy on me, okay?
Alex: Sorry, I can’t promise that. I can’t promise that at all.
Alex stands up, and walks away. When Adam goes after her, she disappears into thin air.