Last week, Jeremiah and I dropped by a computer store to buy network cables in the town where he attends college and I often do part of my grocery shopping. I'd been in the store one time before and had been struck by the tech's down to earth pleasantness and their over all reasonable prices. In fact, there was something faintly familiar about the place, though I'd never been in there before.
When we'd been in before, on Jeremiah's behalf, Gary had asked if they were hiring and the tech had said no. When we were pulling out of the parking space onto the street, Gary had said, "I have a good feeling about the place. Jeremiah should work there."
I'd shrugged it off, but hadn't forgotten it when Jeremiah and I stopped by. So when the same tech came out to chat with us and Jeremiah was asking him several questions about a tower they had on sale (thus unintentionally indicating his knowledge), I made sure to state that he had built his own system a few months ago. In truth, he's built three systems and is on call to help friends and church members with theirs on a regular basis, but there didn't seem to be a graceful way to include this in the conversation.
In the middle of this, the owner, who I had not yet met, came out. I then realized why the atmosphere in the place was so familiar. He had been a young tech at a store I did a lot of business eight or so years ago with when I was building computers for friends who didn't have any (back when the average price of a new computer was a thousand or more dollars, but you could build your own for less than three hundred). Once they learned what I was doing, they used to cut me deals on components (many of which were "pulls" from recycled towers). They were good people and always willing to answer my questions, no matter how much time it took.
I don't think this fellow recognized me and that was fine with me. But it was eerie watching him stand there casually talking computers with my son who would have been about eleven the last time I had done business with that store. Again, a sense of meant to be washed over the moment.
Jeremiah and I returned to the mini van and were buckling up and talking out our next stop when a sharp rap on the window startled us both.
It was the manager of the computer store. I glanced at the floor between the seats. No, I hadn't left my purse (You have to know me to appreciate this). Jeremiah shrugged and lowered the window.
"Are you looking for work?" the man asked.
I bit my tongue to keep from "helping", though I confess a few phrases of "he's really good at" got past my lips before I managed to catch that flying tongue again.
Jeremiah indicated that he was interested and the guy invited him to come in and talk to him. Again, I had to resist the urge to follow him and help. (If anyone out there needs a walking resume, let me know. I think I might have a future in the field).
Instead I went grocery shopping and returned thirty minutes later to pick him up.
He was reservedly excited. The man's wife, who manages the business end of things, would have to be contacted. She might not want a college student, who would have other priorities. But the owner liked him. Interestingly they are homeschoolers too and the owner volunteered that this would help Jeremiah's case. Also he commented that Jeremiah's social skills were better than any of the techs he'd interviewed so far (the kid has great people skills). Apparently they'd had an influx of brilliant hopefuls who had no social skills and this job isn't all working on computers in a back room. Also interestingly, one of the reasons he was hiring another tech was because he was opening a store in the town where Jeremiah will be going to college next fall. He indicated that if they hired him, he'd be happy to transfer him to that store when it's time.
So we left, enthused, but trying hard not to get our hopes up. When we didn't hear from them for a couple of days we decided that they'd chosen someone else.
As you already know, Friday, on my terrible, horrible, awful day, Jeremiah was laid off by the grocery store. We thought about the computer store, but dismissed it, and Gary and I began talking to him about getting back up and dusting himself off. His father's wisdom was impressive: All this means is that you're now free to go get a better job.
Taking a shot in the dark, Jeremiah contacted the tech who'd spoken with us first and let him know that he was now even more interested in the position.
On Saturday, when we waiting for the Wayne Kerr concert at WOW to start, Jeremiah's cell phone vibrated. I saw him holding the phone to his ear and squinting as he tried to listen to the caller over the voices of the three thousand teens around us and not lose his seat. Then I saw the smile, saw his mouth moving.
He wore an interesting look of thoughtfulness when he told me that the owner and his wife want to see him today for a formal interview. "Guess I'll have to find a shirt with a collar," he said.
Stunning news by itself. So stunning that I all but jumped out of my chair, volunteering to buy him clothes for the interview. He's been fighting this transition to adult-type clothing for some time, his favored look being black t-shirts with cool band names, pictures of guitars, and nifty sayings on them, jeans, and tennis shoes.
So his dad took him out last night and together they pieced together a decent looking out fit for the interview. This combined with a truly grown up (read short and carefully styled) hair cut he decided to get on his own early last week, presents us with a whole new image to work with--a young man going out the door for his first real job interview. A young man who is on his way.