The Interview

By the Cooper family


A woman applies for a job that appears to require almost superhuman capabilities. As the interview progresses, we realise it is what mothers do all their lives.


Mr. Mater
Mrs. Child


(Stage: Bare, except for a desk center stage with a chair on either side.  The secretary sits on stage left side of the desk. Mrs. Child enters, stage right, somewhat tentatively, looks round, sees secretary.  Approaches.)
Mrs. Child: (clears throat) Excuse me.  I’m here to apply for the position you advertised.
Secretary: (looks over the top of her glasses) Hmmm. Yes -  well, I’ll see if Mr. Mater can see you.
(Exits through door, stage left.  Comes back with Mr. Mater, then exits.)
Mr. Mater:  Good afternoon, M’am.  What can I do for you?
Mrs. Child:  (nervously) I read your ad in the paper and I’m here to apply.
Mr. Mater: Wonderful. Please have a seat. (indicating chair on stage right side of desk.  He takes other one.)  And your name is …?
Mrs. Child:  Anita.  Mrs. Anita Child.
Mr. Mater:  Ahem! Yes.  Well, Mrs. Child, let me just briefly go over the job description for you. (Reads from paper.)  Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.  Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable long hours, weekends and some 24 hour on-call shifts.  Some overnight travel required as well as extensive courier duties.  Are you still interested?
Mrs. Child:  Oh, yes!
Mr. Mater:     Well, then, let’s investigate your qualifications.  First, physical stamina.  Do you possess the endurance of a pack mule?  Can you go from zero to sixty in 3 seconds flat, in case the screams from the backyard aren’t just someone crying wolf?
Mrs. Child:  Well, I don’t know really.  I’ve never tried.
Mr. Mater:  That is something you’d need to practice.  Now, emotional stability.  Are you prepared to be regarded as indispensable one moment and an embarrassment the next?  Are you always able to hope for the best while being prepared for the worst?  Are you able to deal with highly unpredictable and volatile behavior while maintaining an air of calm wisdom?
Mrs. Child:     I think perhaps I could.
Mr. Mater:     Do you have any experience organizing social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks?
Mrs. Child:  A little….
Mr. Mater:  (breaking in)  Are you willing to face stimulating technical challenges?
Mrs. Child:  Like what?
Mr. Mater:  Oh – small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets, and stuck zippers.  You must handle assembly and product safety testing of half a million cheap plastic toys and battery operated devices.
Mrs. Child: (doubtfully)  I guess.
Mr. Mater:  And how are your secretarial skills?  You must be able to screen phone calls, maintain calendars, and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Mrs. Child:  Oh, my!
Mr. Mater:  Some nursing experience is required to care for minor injuries and illnesses, with enough knowledge to know when to call in the professionals.
Mrs. Child:   Nursing experience?
Mr. Mater:  And finally, janitorial duties, including floor maintenance and cleaning work throughout the facility.
Mrs. Child:  My goodness!  There are certainly a lot of responsibilities.  Is there any possibility of advancement.
Mr. Mater:  Absolutely none.  Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.
Mrs. Child:  Well, what kind of feedback will I get?
Mr. Mater:  Very little, but you will be held completely responsible, in the eyes of the world, for the quality of the end product.  Now, do you have any relevant experience?
Mrs. Child:  None.  Will that be held against me?
Mr. Mater:  No.  Unfortunately, no experience is required.  But there is on-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
Mrs. Child:  Oh.  But a position requiring this much skill must pay very well.
Mr. Mater:  (chuckles)  Get this!  You pay them!  And offer them frequent raises and bonuses.  A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 on the assumption that college will give them financial independence.  When you die, you give them whatever is left.  The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
Mrs. Child:  (incredulously)  Really?!  What about benefits?
Mr. Mater:  (smiling)  While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursements, no paid holidays or sick days, and no stock options are offered, this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and … free hugs for life if you play your cards right!
Mrs. Child:  (standing abruptly)  How could anyone possibly qualify for this position?
Mr. Mater:  I’m afraid they can’t really.  But there is perfect help available for those who ask.
(Mr. Mater indicates upwards.  Mrs. Child looks puzzled at first, then catches on and also looks upwards.)
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