You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
And in the military life, we get LOTS of chances for first impressions! Case in point...
Last week I went for a job interview. Not a career interview or anything, just an interview for a short freelancing assignment.
I was meeting the interviewer at a restaurant, and because I have a thing for being EXACTLY ON TIME, I got there early and wandered around the area.
And you can't wander around without coffee. I prefer a good cafe mocha.
Then, with ten minutes left to wait, I decided I didn't feel like walking about and showing up possibly sweaty and disheveled to the interview. So I sat and pulled a sock I'm knitting out of my purse. I balanced my small cafe mocha (with a shot of vanilla, of course) on my knee.
Of course, disaster ensued and I ended up with cafe mocha over the entire "sensitive" area of my pants and pooling on the seat underneath me.
Luckily I was wearing dark pants. Luckily there was a bathroom within a short walk. Luckily I carry an enormous purse with me (gotta put that knitting somewhere) and I scooted off to the bathroom with my purse held strategically in front so that it didn't look to those in front of me like I had peed myself (unfortunately, due to the pooling effect, it had a somewhat different look to those walking behind me. But since I couldn't see their reactions, I'm going to pretend no one spotted me).
Did I mention that I carry wipies everywhere with me? Yeah, it's a thing you learn when you're around kids for any length of time. Wipies, don't leave home without them.
So, I got to the bathroom and headed into a stall. I managed to sponge off the worst of the offense, but no matter how much daubing of pants I did, I couldn't seem to dry them off (six minutes until interview, by the way). I decided that making a good interview impression was worth more than my dignity and stepped out into the regular part of the bathroom in my underwear to dry my pants under the blower. Throwing caution to the wind, I threw open my stall door and stalked out, pants held before me like I meant some kind of business.
First - bad day to wear *ahem* underwear with no discernable butt coverage.
Second - This was the only bathroom left in America without a hand blower. And they were out of paper towels.
I did have a bit of luck here, as my pants were dark enough that you couldn't see the dampness (now that I had removed the horrible chocolate syrup stains in strategic places), but wet pants are uncomfortable as heck. I was also worried about humiliating myself by standing up and leaving a butt shaped wet mark on the chair.
I figured I could just make it a point to shove my chair under the table as quickly as possibly upon standing up. Or maybe I could conduct the interview standing up? Claim that I "had enough time sitting, thanks so much!" when the chair was offered?
In the end, I made it to the interview precisely on time and no one noticed my wet pants, or the butt mark on the chair. And we had a good laugh over my incident of concern with a cafe mocha.
Oh, and I got the job.
Even with my wet pants and the fact that I smelled like a barista, and most certainly the fact that I was obviously slightly out of sorts, the interviewer felt I had whatever it was they needed for that particular assignment.
I'm not sure, really, what it was that stood out (in a good way) about me at that interview, but I'm sure glad a little coffee didn't ruin that first impression!