Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Worst. Interview. Ever.

It's interviewing season at the law school right now. I was going to go into more detail about that, but I changed my mind, at least for now.

This afternoon I had a phone interview with a large firm in Southern California. I'm pretty sure the big firm path isn't for me, but the attorney I worked for this summer advised me to pursue opportunities in the biggest firms in the biggest markets available to me, so I figured I should at least apply. (In the off chance that they don't say no to me, I can always say no to them if I want to, right?)

Anyway, I scheduled the interview for this afternoon because Elliott was supposed to be with a babysitter, and that way I wouldn't have to worry about what to do with a fussy baby during the interview. I was especially worried about that because I knew that if she started crying during the interview, I would have to not only ignore her until I was done, I'd have to move to a different part of the house so that the I wouldn't have to be competing with a screaming baby for the interviewer's attention. That seemed like a bad idea to me.

Unfortunately, something came up, and Elliott was with me this afternoon rather than with a babysitter. And as expected, she woke up and started fussing about 30 minutes before the interview. I fed her, but that didn't help, so I put her in her little Bumbo chair on the table where she could watch me work, and that seemed to do the trick.

Elliott was still happy five minutes before the scheduled interview time, so I decided to leave her in the chair (although I put her and her chair on the floor in case I had to leave her unsupervised for a bit.) I was sure things were going to work out, but less than two minutes into the interview Elliott started to fuss.

I moved into the kitchen so that the interviewer wouldn't be able to hear anything, but a few minutes later Elliott started to cry and I had to move out into the yard. I think moving away from your crying baby is the most counter-intuitive things you can do as a father

Needless to say, I don't recall much of the interview. I remember answering questions, but my mind never left the living room. At one point, the interviewer was giving a fairly lengthy response to one of my questions, so I covered the mouthpiece on my phone and ran inside to check on Elliott. I felt like the worst parent in the world when I stepped inside and saw her sitting there alone and crying her little head off.

But it was even worse when I stepped back in a few minutes later and she wasn't crying any more. Instead, she was slouched in her chair panting with her eyes red and tears streaked down her cheek. As for as I could tell, she had cried until she couldn't cry anymore, and then she just sat there wondering why no one was coming to get her. I'm not sure if I've ever felt so bad in my life.

The interview ended shortly after that and I ran inside, pulled Elliott out of her chair, and sat with her in the rocking chair until Catherine came home 45 minutes later. As I write this, I'm pretty sure she's forgotten the whole thing. But I haven't, and I won't, either.

As for the interview, who knows. Honestly, at this point I'm not sure I even care.


Abominable's Main Squeeze said...

You're not the first parent who's had to let a baby cry. But it feels awful all the same. Rest assured, she will NOT be scarred for life. And you are NOT a bad parent. You and her mommy are the most loving parents ever and Elliott knows that. You did what you had to do.

me said...

This makes me cry a little bit. For Ellie-roo, but mostly for you because you'll remember and she won't.