No, really, I choked at my interview!
As most of you following our blog know, our adventure started as a result of a blessing in disguise. My job was eliminated, we sold our house super fast and hit the road on our adventure. We’ve seen lots of national treasures and I’ve continued the job search process.
The search process is a tedious one. It’s months worth of communication with recruiters. Emails followed by phone calls followed by video interviews followed by initial on-site interviews followed by final on-site interviews. One position I have been working through this process for is at Centura Longmont. I first learned of the position late October/early November, so I’ve been working on it for a long time.
The day had arrived. I was in Longmont for my final interview and it started out great! Interviews don’t really make me nervous, I just show them who I am so we can both determine if there is a fit. I was able to connect with the different constituencies in great ways. One of the board members was even a fellow Bison while one of the other execs was a Gopher! Much of the process was being led by Martha H. (external recruiter) and Sue F. (internal recruiter). They participated in each session and helped to keep things moving along.
Lunch was scheduled to be one hour with me and the recruiters. Basically a working interview lunch. Needless to say, we were about thirty minutes behind at the time. We were talking a fair amount and the two of them were asking questions. I, of course, wanted to be able to answer as much as I could. I was chewing a piece of meat when I was asked a question. I wanted to answer and swallowed before I had completed mastication…and choked. At first I thought it was just an esophageal constriction and a little water would help. Then I realized I wasn’t moving any air.
My paramedic self kicked in. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been on choking calls. Usually with bad results. I gave the universal sign to Sue and she could see the panic in my face. She stood up as I did and came over to me. I think the immediacy of the need to help was a bit overwhelming and she yelled for help or a nurse. Now mind you, we are in the hospital cafeteria! No one was coming quick enough for me. I grabbed her hands and wrapped them around me. Together, we did the Heimlich and freed the food. I was shaken and my voice would barely crack. I excused myself for a couple minutes and walked off the adrenaline. Sue had saved my life!
The rest of the interview continued without a hitch. I was able to sneak away and buy Sue some LifeSavers at the gift shop. The next day was a great interview at the corporate headquarters. Centura is a great organization with great people. I hope I get the chance to work with them, but I know I’ll never forget this interview!
While choking at an interview is a crazy story all by itself, there is more. When I was able to tell Maureen what had happened, she teared up. Not only was she scared for me, but she had also been reminded by Facebook of an event 6 years ago to the day. Exactly 6 years prior, I had successfully performed the Heimlich on a guy at a dinner at church. Call it Divine intervention, karma, a sign or whatever you want. I think it was a another reminder that as much as I want to be in control, I’m not.
You never know when others will need your help. Help them when you can. You never know when you will need others help. Accept it when you can!