breaking the Target silence

so, children, today let’s look back over what’s happened, mellow on it, and move on.

my last post was put up the day before my big Target interview. that day i flew in to Minneapolis, was picked up at the airport by a guy with my name on a piece of paper, and taken to the Raddison Hotel. it was lovely and a little overwhelming to be given a king-size bed.


i woke up at seven last tuesday morning and got all prepped up, going over my responses to the usual questions and putting putty stuff in my hair. at 8:30 i was picked up in the lobby by two Target employees, and the pair took me on a hike through the skyways, which was unfortunate because i thought we’d be outside. i had heels, an overcoat, a scarf, and we were indoors. i showed up a sweaty mess, mortified.

thankfully the first thing i had to do was take the SATs; seriously, there were math and verbal sections. now, the woman i’ve been referring to as Target Lady has been telling me that this is not a test, per se, but an “assessment of how a person learns.” then the Target soldier that escorted me to this point asks if i had been told about this. “Not a test, but an assessment,” i parrot to her. she chuckles. i flinch inside. “It’s a test,” she assures me. “Then the last part is a personality test.” i flinch again. then i sit at the computer for about an hour and click my way through fractions and reading comprehension.

after my non-test testing, i’ve regained some composure and have my first interview. i meet with the creative manager, who looks startlingly like Silent Bob. he’s very nice, engaging, shows me a lot of what Target is up to, and explains the job. i’m totally buying it. we chat design and part ways another hour later. it’s now about 11am. Target Lady and i finally meet, she’s gorgeous and seems very fun. she’s very encouraging, but keeps asking me “how it’s going” and i’m not sure how to answer. to say it’s great might be cocky; to say it’s not is weird. so i go with a humble middle ground, saying i’m enjoying myself and enjoying learning about the work. she seems satisfied by that.

she took me up to see Silent Bob’s boss, with whom i discover i have much in common. we’re both from Chicago, have lived in Boston, and she’s familar with three of the firms on my resume. all good signs. we have a very lively conversation in which i explain how i’ve had so many jobs in so little time, and how that’s led to me either being entirely cog in the system corporate or a solo flyer. i’ve never led a team, and looking back i think that, ultimately, was my downfall.

Target Lady picked me up from boss-lady’s office around 1pm and she walked and talked me to the front door. we expressed the usual closing remarks, nice to meet you, thanks for the opportunity, etc, and she told me to call Friday for an update if i didn’t hear from her by then. at this point i’m realizing that i’ll know by the end of the week what my next big direction will be. Wunderman at this point had given me a soft offer, laying out the package for me but not asking me to formally sign anything until the big dogs in New York approved the deal. so as i said to my HR person at Wunderman, this was not a plan A / plan B situation, but two plan A situations. it would be decided this week what would happen.

i bummed around downtown Minneapolis for a couple hours, got some lunch and called some people from a Barnes & Noble cafe. i wasn’t feeling particularly confident about everything, but hearing myself talk about my work helped me realize that even if i don’t get this job, i might still be a worthwhile designer.

i called the transportation company and had them come get me at 3:30 instead of the arranged time of 5pm. i got to the airport early, got to my gate, got comfortable, and read for a while. the flight home was uneventful, my mom was there to get me at O’Hare and we talked about everything on the way home. the next three days were pins and needles, i was high strung and paper-thin as i tried to imagine every senario. some of my good friends at work asked about things, and i made a point to avoid speculation, promising to share the news when it came.

thursday there was a voicemail on my phone, Target Lady asking me to call her back. the last time Target fell through, i received the rejection on a voicemail, so i assumed this might actually be the call with the offer. Friday i called back and she said they enjoyed meeting me, enjoyed my energy and passion, but were looking to go in a different direction. they were looking for someone with other experience. “Other?” i asked. “As in, more experience, or difference experience?”

“Well, different, I guess,” Target Lady offered.
“I didn’t get much feedback from them.”

which was, to me, almost insulting. if you don’t tell me where i’m lacking, how can i fill the gaps? tell me what’s wrong, so if i really want to work there i’ll fix it and call you again. instead, Target Lady suggested i keep checking the Target site and let her know if i see anything else i would want to apply for. Target Lady is “my recruiter,” after all.

right. like i want to get strung along a third time.
that’s kind of unfair, i won’t deny it. i totally am taking it personally that they are HUGE and maybe can’t pay attention to every little thing.

it’s funny, though, now that i’ve accepted the Wunderman gig (still a soft thing right now, but hopefully in about a week the ink will be dry) some of my friends are telling me they didn’t see me as a Target person in the first place. and i’ll admit, some things about Target are frightening. like that the building they occupy (the one of eight i was in) is run like a city, with it’s own dry cleaner and post office. it’s very button down and professional, meanwhile i’m sitting here in my jeans and pumas. i think this place suits my personality more, whereas Target’s work would suit me a lot more. right now our clients are Applebees and Jack Daniels, ConAgra foods. i would have loved to have clients like the Target House.

ah, well. that’s the Target story.
heartbreak on valentine’s day, it’s so poetic.

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