Sit down, boys and girls, and make yourselves comfortable. I’m going to tell you a story.
A story about the time I nearly threw up on the MD of Ogilvy Cape Town, one of South Africa’s biggest and most successful agencies.
Oh yes. That happened.
It was just another windy day in the Mother City and I had spent the whole day inside a hot, stuffy room with no fresh air and no antihistamines to protect my sensitive sinuses from dust.
I had a headache. And I had it bad.
I sat in my car in the parking lot at Ogilvy. My interview was in fifteen minutes and I was crying and BBMing my friend Claire.
“Cancel,” she said.
But one does not simply cancel an interview with Ogilvy. Not fifteen minutes before the meeting.
So I took a sip of water, swallowed my tears and my stomach contents, and limped unhappily through the doors.
Where security stuck me in an elevator.
I shut my eyes for the whole ride and concentrated very hard on breathing and not fainting. The HR lady escorting me probably thought I was having a nerves-induced panic attack and she patted me nicely on the arm.
“Please don’t touch me!” I cried in my head.
She left me sitting in the waiting area for ten minutes, or just long enough for the headache to envelope my entire body in cold chills and pain shivers.
Gavin Levinsohn met me in his office.
“Would you like something to drink?” He asked me. (I’m paraphrasing here. He probably said it much cooler than that.)
“Water,” I croaked weakly.
And then we had the interview. I spent the whole time sipping furiously at my water, trying to keep the vom in my throat from actually up-chucking.
I was concentrating so hard on not being physically sick all over his shiny, important desk and his shiny, important shoes that I had no energy left to be nervous.
And no energy to think up things to make me sound employable or, you know, any good at what I do. .
Afterwards he thanked me for being so honest and commended my confidence (ha!). He also called me fantastic. So.
Much better interview than the one I had with the company I work for now. By the time I walked out my face was blood red and dripping sweat on their floor.
Not actually. But almost.
So that’s the story of how I nearly vomited all over Gavin Levinsohn.
And for the record, I love the company I now work for. They’re awesome because they hired me, lobster face and all, and sometimes they let me hold all the awards they’ve won and pretend I’ve just won an Oscar.