You know when you’re at a social event and everyone has to tell their most embarrassing moment? I don’t think I actually have a most embarrassing moment, but I do have this little story to tell.
During my years in health care management, I managed a family practice with 5 physicians in a rural Missouri town.
It was me, the 5 docs and 20 female medical and office staff. There were two long hallways on each side of the building both lined with exam rooms. My office was at the front of one of the long hallways near the reception area and waiting room.
One particularly normal day, I had several interviews scheduled for a receptionist position – two in the morning and two in the afternoon. It was mid-afternoon and I was having some computer problems, so a technician was in my office working on my computer.
A call came to my office to let me know that my 3:00 interviewee had arrived. I left my office and went out to the large waiting area and called the name of the interviewee…
“Linda Johnson?” I said.
As usual, and as can be expected with such a large family practice, the waiting area was completely full.
Right in front of me, a gal in old jeans and a t-shirt made eye contact with me and began to get up. My first thought was, “Wow, so much for first impressions…..she must really want the job.”
Linda came towards me. I shook her hand and motioned toward the door. As we entered the long hallway, my office was immediately on the right and I said to Linda…
“Linda, I’m having my computer worked on and there is someone in my office right now. Dr. Tegtmeyer is gone today. Do you mind if we do this in one of his exam rooms?”
Linda looked at me with a slightly puzzled look, then simply said, “Ok.”
I opened the exam room door for Linda, she entered, and I followed, closing the door behind me. Linda paused in the middle of the room. There was a moment of silence — the kind of silence that is just a little bit too long, officially making it the awkward type.
Then Linda said, “Where would you like me?” She moved toward the exam table and as I pulled a stool over to sit on it, I said, “That chair over there is fine.”
I could tell that Linda didn’t want to sit in the chair, which believe it or not, I thought was odd at the time. I remember thinking, “…This gal is really nervous for her interview.” She finally sat down and I sat down across from her.
Awkward eye contact…more awkward silence…at this point, I’m thinking “I hope I can make this quick. She’s just not a good candidate.”
I had her resume in my hand with some notes and questions for the interview. At the top of the resume, she had listed the high school where she graduated, which was in Texas. I also went to high school in Texas so I thought that would be a nice ice breaker to the interview.
Beginning the official interview, I smiled and said, “So, I see you went to high school in Texas….whereabouts in Texas?”
Linda looked blankly at me. Her eyes squinted and her face contorted into complete befuddlement. Then she said, “Uh….[looooooong pause]…..I didn’t go to high school in Texas”. Surprised, I looked down at the resume.
“You’re Linda Johnson right?”
“No! My name is Linda Jameson and I’m here for my annual pap smear.”