Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Dodgy Job Interview

As I may have mentioned, I’m entertaining the idea of continuing my life in Russia even after the government cuts off my life support. I don’t have high hopes for gainful employment with my subpar language skills and my desire to continue writing, but I am putting out feelers nonetheless. Luckily, my flatmate has more connections than the mafia, which led to a phone call asking if I’d be interested in working as a full-time English conversationalist for a prominent businessman. I accepted the interview and then did a bit of online reconnaissance—it seemed I was vying for employment under the oligarch who created the largest meat production company in Russia. A logical career move for a vegetarian.

The interview began with a few cursory questions that would be illegal in the US, including my age.  The interviewer then volunteered her own, which I think she threw in just to brag. Even though she said she was 37, she looked a good five years younger than me. Next, we moved on to information about the job itself, including the not insignificant detail that this was a live-in position.

Me: I’m sorry, what was that?
Interviewer: Don’t worry, his country estate is only 15 or 20 kilometers from Moscow, and obviously you’d have access to his driver.
Me: And does he live with his family? Or would it just be the oligarch and I?
Interviewer: No, the chefs, maids, drivers, and his personal trainers also live there. And his much younger girlfriend.
Me: Of course.

Having made it through the first line of defense, I was next introduced to his corporate secretary. I was expecting another miracle of Soviet science, but instead, I met a man older than my parents with near perfect British English.

Secretary: So where are you from?
Me: A small city north of Seattle.
Secretary: Ah, so basically it’s the same as Moscow.
Me: Wellllllll, not exactly.
Secretary: Of course! Same climate, and after the Spaniards, we were the next to explore America.
Me: Were you?
Secretary: Yes, we started in Alaska and moved down to California.
Me: Did you? … Well I guess I’d say Moscow is more like Washington, D.C. or New York.
Secretary: No, Washington has so many blacks.
Me: Right…

When the secretary noticed I’d studied in Chile, he made a flawless switch from English to Spanish. My brain was slow to catch up, and my Spanish came out with an unexpected mix of Russian conjunctions, but he had no such problems.  He waxed eloquent on the years he spent in Cuba and reminisced about “building communism with Castro.” Call it paranoia, but something tells me that man’s skill-set is more in line with espionage than secretarial work. I should probably flee this situation post-haste, but I think we all want to see how this plays out.  Returning to my carnivorous ways would be the least of my worries if I moved in with a Russian billionaire.


  1. Um, how could you even think about leaving this situation?! If this is not the plot for a grand novel, then I don't know WHAT is.

  2. Have you heard the episode of The Moth where a women decides to live with a prince?
    I think you'll enjoy this...

    1. New life strategy: What Would Patti Smith Do? Awesome.