You Have The Job, But First: Pee In A Cup

Here’s how my interview for this job went:

Interviewer: Hello.

Me: Hello.

Interviewer: What can you tell me about this job?

Me: Well, I understand it’s a very visible role – lots of conference planning, meeting and greeting international visitors, high-profile executives, liaising with the catering and planning departments, booking rooms etc, which all sounds pretty exciting [even though I secretly hate this type of job]

Interviewer: Well, I’m glad you said that, because that’s not what this job is about at all.

Me: ________

At that moment, my brain advised me it was OK for it to shut down and for me to just be myself, just so I could get through the interview and chalk it down to some fantastically-wasted time.

I referenced Harry Potter (and as a joke), made about as much eye contact as an escaped mental patient, and silently chastised my poor choice of interview attire (ruffly polka dot shirt with a red ribbon).

Then he asked me if I had any questions.

Brain: I’ve got one!

Gut: Don’t say it.

Brain: But it’s brilliant!

Gut: Too risky…

Brain: Naaaaaah. It’s fine! Going to formulate it in the mouth now.

Gut: No! Don’t do it!!

Brain: Try and stop me!

Gut: I can make a big fart!

(This happened in the space of a few micro-seconds. Guts and brains have a whole other timeframe for conversing).

Thankfully, my gut did not make a big fart. Instead I said,

“Actually, I do have a bit of a cheeky question (yes, I said cheeky) – what do you think prevents me from being the top candidate for the job? Is there anything I could improve?”

Well, this stumped the interviewer somewhat. He kept saying I could do the job, and the second interviewer (who was the on-site manager) actually went through my entire CV and listed my skills/parts of my duties from past jobs that would apply to the job. Wasn’t that something I was supposed to do?

I saw a more presentable, more expensively-dressed, suitably less-nervous (and taller) candidate in the other interview room. He was obviously going to get the job.

A few hours later, I got the call telling me I got the job.

Woohoo!

I asked about a start date, but was told I would have to pass a background check and drug test.

Me: What does that entail?

Agency: You have to pee in a cup.

Me: I don’t know…

Brain: You berk! She’s going to think you’re a drug addict, not a germophobe who continuously fails to predict the physics of the female urinary stream into a small container!

Me (quickly adding): …how to do that. It’s because I’m from a foreign country, haha. Ha.

Agency (laughing; understanding the perfectly normal and non-criminal implications of previous statement): Well, everyone has their own technique. You might have to hold it a different way – whatever feels comfortable.

Me (thinking that this is going to turn into an episode of Sin Cities): OK. Bye!

2 weeks later:

I finally get an email advising me I’d passed the initial background check (after having nightmares of failing it due to my “poor choice in television programs“.

I immediately make an appointment at the nearest Wee-in-a-Cup Center and hotfooted it to the bus station within an hour of waking up and getting ready.

The problem was I hadn’t eaten or drank anything, and all my morning ablutions had been done an hour ago.

My morning ablutions (it helps if you play this  in the background):

  • Wake up
  • ——PEE——
  • Shower
  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Put on eyeliner
  • Leave without tripping over things
  • Go back to turn off lights
  • Trip over things and leave.

Guess what happens when you wee 1 hour before taking a drug test on a very, very, VERY hot day?

After almost getting run over thanks to the idiotic placement of this center (right next to a highway like everything else), I quickly asked directions to a building which I was already in front of, and strutted on in.

Having been warned by my landlady not to eat any poppy seed bagels, I went the extra mile to make a good impression and dressed like a smart, old Southern lady (think soft, silk-collared, pearl-embellished blouse and a long, just-over-the-knee sack skirt), so that no-one would get the impression I was some sort of ketamine-addled miscreant  trying to piss like a racehorse all over the toilet seat.

The room was tiny. It was like a doctor’s waiting room but with no doctor. Just two toilets, which, to my horror, were NOT gender-assigned.

Despite the fact that I had an afternoon appointment, no-one else was there. I could wee in privacy! The nice lady took my info and told me the following:

  • Take this cup (more like miniature bucket – seriously, it was like half the size of a shopping basket)
  • Wee in the cup
  • Don’t flush or run the water (i.e. —DO NOT WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER WEEING—)
  • Come back and fill out stuff
  • Go wash your hands after handling all your possessions and even a strip of paper that she gives back to you that is now CONTAMINATED WITH NEAR-URINE.

I looked very hesitant at the “no washing your hands” bit. But she probably thought I was hesitant at the “having to go for a drug test because I’m a filthy drug mule” bit.

As a child, I once stood with my hands hovering over the bathroom sink at my local cinema as my mother went to advise a staff member that they were completely out of soap (in all 6 dispensers), and that I refused to leave or touch anything until my hands were sufficiently clean.

But, regardless, I went in there. Couldn’t go. What a surprise!

I trudged out of there in defeat. There were now a few more people in the waiting room, watching me exit, knowing the procedure, and making their assumptions. The lady directed me to the water cooler, and assured me this happened a lot.

Cursing my inferior Loop of Henle, I sat to the left of the reception window so I could be out of the way (and in a corner), but this literally put even more light on me as there was a huge glaring ceiling light that was so intensely bright it was difficult not to squint. It was also freezing thanks to the air-conditioning (which seemed to affect no-one else). I also successfully dodged a tiny spider (dangling on its single string of cobweb from the ceiling light) by leaning in a few different directions, and then eventually moving seats.

"That spider is really moreish"

To onlookers, I was a shivering, pale, squinting, twitching, musical chairs fan who was unable to pee and thought that there was some sort of magical fucking spider in the air that only I was special enough to see. Aces!

Luckily they didn’t grade my test on behaviour alone. After 8 cups of freezing cold water  I was finally able to dispense, wash my hands, make a joke about the needless humiliation of such an invasive practice  and then leave.

Unfortunately, it was now 1 hour before the Weeing Center closed, so everyone who forgot to turn up 2 hours ago were now waiting their turn.

Suddenly, everything in the room looked different – the walls, once puce-coloured, took on a bluer hue. I couldn’t tell whether my chills were from the aggressive air conditioning or the very, very urgent need to go, and the huge painting of a 16th-Century sailboat in a stormy, foamy, sea with flooded decks and gushing waters and gale-force winds was somehow the focal point of the whole room.

After I was finally able to give mercy to my bladder, it turned out that the shopping mall was right opposite.

Well, if I got the job, I would need new clothes.

Afterword: Guess what happens when you drink 8 cups of very cold water and only pee once, thinking it’s all gone?

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