Job Interview

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The woman gazed at the ident-block on the door’s security panel with a nervous expression. She had passed any number of such panels on the way up to this office, but none of them had read:

Sherman, Ariel
Chairwoman /
Fantasial Productions

It felt strange to Taraia to be interviewed by the CEO of a corporation for a job … especially when the job was really an entrance-level position. Her college advisor had told her that Lady Ariel was peculiar in this way; she wanted to get a feel for new-hires outside of the production aspects of her theatre’s show and night club. Was it because, again according to her advisor, promotions came from within the corporation, and so she might have closer daily exposure with the Boss than at two or three removes …?

From the corner of her eye, Taraia saw the Loxanian secretary at the reception desk glance up and raise a dark-green hand to the earbud she wore, glance toward Taraia, then nod and murmur a few words. A moment, then she nodded again and stood to come over to the door. “Feeling scared, Ms. Wolworth?”

Taraia nodded with a rueful face after a second. “Yes. I know it won’t be a disaster if I don’t do well in there; I could probably find something in my career track somewhere else. But this is the best place to work for in a cube of sectors, and the most demanding. I want to do well here, so I can advance my career elsewhere if I do move on to another place.”

“I understand,” the secretary said. “But let me assure you of three things before you punch the doorbell there. Primero, yes, this is a demanding place to work at, but it’s because entertainment needs to be as perfect as possible to keep the customers coming back. Even then, we don’t expect fresh new-hires to know everything beyond what’s in the texts at universities. If nothing else, you’ll have the usual 90 days probation to learn the peculiarities here, as well as our corporate culture.

“Segundo, you’re not the first person to go in there for a final review before getting hired. There’s been a few hundred before you, and all of them have emerged with their heads still on their shoulders. Lady Ariel is demanding herself, but she’s also polite and quite pleasant, and an excellent hostess. And you wouldn’t be here, preparing to go in, unless you’d made the shortlist for the job … which you’ve obviously done, since you’re here.

“And, tercero, Her Ladyship can see you right now.”

Taraia blinked blankly, then jumped a second later and swallowed. “She can see me???”

The secretary grinned at Taraia. “Mmhmm. What you can’t tell from this side is that this door is one-way transparent. You’ve been in her view since you stepped over here. And while she isn’t put out with you –” She touched the earbud and twitched a brow. “– Ariel does have a certain amount of time allocated to this interview; and she is quite aware of how it passes, being a cyborg. I don’t think she wants to use that block up waiting for you.”

Taraia nodded rapidly, shooting a glance at the quite opaque-seeming door. “You’re right, and thanks.” She drew a breath, and touched the gold button on the security panel.

As the leaves of the door slid into the walls, Taraia saw the familiar form of Lady Ariel Sherman rising and coming around her desk … with an amused expression on her violet-stained lips. She said, “Welcome to you, Ms. Wolworth. It’s good to meet you at last.”

“Uh … yeah,” Taraia said, feeling her face flush as she held out her hand to shake her host’s (and possible employer’s). “I apologize for keeping you waiting; I was having–“

“An attack of nerves, which I understand completely,” Lady Ariel replied with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Adam, my husband, can tell you that I always go through a case of stage nerves whenever I’m premiering a new act or a virt-vid. I can certainly excuse nervousness in your case. Come and have a seat, please.” She waved toward a couch on one side of the room. “Can I offer you coffee? Fresh-brewed just an hour ago, still good in the stasis pot.”

“Thanks much, ma’am.”

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