I HATE INTERVIEWS. I’d rather go to the dentist than to one of these things. But as I sat in one of the most impressive offices I’d ever set foot inside of, I knew that this particular interview could either make me or break me.
This job right here was the key to my future. It was the stepping stone to getting back on the real course my life was meant to be on, instead of this little detour it had taken over the last six months.
To do that, however, I had to survive the cut. I wasn’t the first to step inside this office this morning. I’d been waiting out in the lobby for the past two hours and seen many come and go. But as I finally took my place front and center, opposite a desk that looked more expensive than everything I owned, I knew this was it.
I needed to project confidence, be eager—but not overeager—and manage to land the opportunity of a lifetime. Sure, no problem. I could do that.
“Mr. Romero, so sorry to keep you waiting.”
At the sound of the office door opening behind me, I turned to see the man I was here to interview with today step inside. I’d done my due diligence in researching Mitchell & Madison Attorneys at Law, but the impact of Logan Mitchell in person caught me completely off guard.
In a grey suit with hair black as coal, the man was striking in a way that left you almost dumbfounded, as he crossed the room and made his way around the desk to his chair.
I smoothed my hand down my tie, the confidence from my little pep talk seconds ago quickly vanishing, as I tried to remember all of the reasons why I was the best fit for this job.
Mr. Mitchell took a seat and reached for the black-framed glasses on his desk, then he picked up my resumé and scanned the document. I was glad for the reprieve, because I needed the extra seconds to pull myself together and remember how to, oh, I don’t know, speak.
“Okay, Mr. Romero. Gabriel, is it?”
“Yes. Gabriel, but I usually go by Gabe.”
“Okay, Gabe.” Mr. Mitchell gave me a tight smile that did nothing to help ease my nerves. “I’m Logan Mitchell, one of the owners and partners here at Mitchell & Madison, and as you know, I’m looking for a new personal assistant.”
I rested my hands on my thighs and resisted the urge to wipe them dry, as I tried to remember everything I’d read and learned about this place.
“Your resumé looks good, if a little sparse on the experience side of things. But I’m more interested in what you have to tell me about yourself than what’s on a piece of paper. So for the moment, let’s do that, and see how we go.”
Okay, well, that was kind of refreshing. I’d expected to have to go on the defense about my lack of job experience, since I’d been busy doing other things over the past three years. But talk about myself? I could do that. I knew I could do this job and do it well, and now I just had to convince him.
“First off, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a privilege to even be considered for a job at a firm as reputable as this one. As you can see on my resumé there, I’ve been a full-time student for the past three years at Northwestern University.”
“I did see that.” Mr. Mitchell leaned back in his seat and steepled his fingers over his chest. “I went there myself, as did my brother, who is also one of the owners and partners here.”
I knew that. I’d done my research. Logan Mitchell and Cole Madison had both graduated from Pritzker School of Law. It was ranked one of the top fourteen law schools in the U.S. So it was no surprise that they had gone on to build one of the most successful law firms in the country. A place anybody would be proud to work at, myself included.
“I read that. It’s one of the other reasons I was so excited to receive a callback. I like the idea of working for a fellow Northwesterner.”
Mr. Mitchell’s lips twitched as he eyed me from behind his glasses. “You said the past three years? You’re no longer in school?”
“I’m not, no.” I’d known this question would come up, and even though it was a difficult one, I’d crafted an answer I hoped would satisfy. “Due to unexpected circumstances, I had to withdraw from my course early. But I hope to one day to be able to go back, maybe at night, and finish my degree.”
Mr. Mitchell’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t push for any more than that. “I hope so too. Let’s get started, then, shall we? Why don’t you tell me why you want to work here? Beyond the two of us being fellow Northwesterners, that is.”
I aimed my most winning smile his way and did my very best to project confidence as I ran over my spiel in my head. There were a few reasons I wanted to work for this company, and this man in particular. Some of which were professional, and one very important fact that was extremely personal—not that I was about to bring up his marriage and personal life. That was just a bonus, something I came across when I was researching him.
Right now, it was time to sell him on me. To let him know that I’d put an effort into today, spent time learning about the company I wanted to be hired at, and give him no reason to question the fact that I was the perfect fit for this job.
“As I’ve thought about my next move, career-wise, it’s important to me to work for a company with strong values. Values that are similar to my own. I know you went up against the big pharma companies in a lawsuit against Berivax. You did a lot of good for a lot of people, and not many are willing to stand up against the big companies for fear of losing. You did it anyway.”
Mr. Mitchell said nothing in the face of my praise, and that was understandable. He knew how badass he was for winning that case. Hell, it had made his company shoot to the number one spot among law firms in the country. But still, it was worth mentioning, in my opinion, as was what I said next.
“I’d also like to work for a company that has a positive work environment, and I can’t think of anything more positive than what you did for those families.”
“Agreed. That was a very good day and years in the making. It took a lot of hard work, long hours, and dedication from many people here at the firm. My personal assistant included.”
In other words: You get this job, you’ll be expected to work when I need you to work, no questions asked.
Mr. Mitchell sat forward, his eyes cutting to the resumé in front of him. “It says here you were the event coordinator for Queertopia in 2020 at Northwestern.”
I was wondering if he’d bring that up. I’d hoped he would, because it not only showed another commonality between us, but also my kickass organizational skills.
“Yes. I was involved in 2019 and again in 2020. I’m an extremely organized person and naturally obsessive about timetables and schedules.”
“Maybe I should get you to talk to my husband. He’s always late.”
“Oh, okay. I’m always on time. Usually early, if I’m being honest.”
“That’s not a bad habit to have. Please, continue.”
Right, what was I talking about again? Oh, that’s right, myself.
“I enjoy working with a diverse group of people who each bring something new to the table and listen and respect one another. I get along with practically everyone, and I’m an extremely hard worker. I will always try my very best to do or get whatever it is you need, and if there’s something I can’t do, then I’ll find someone who can help me. I believe I would be a great fit for you, and I would enjoy the opportunity to prove that.”
He nodded and looked at me over the top of his glasses. “And what about weakness? What would you say is one of yours?”
I hated this question. Why would I want to tell him what I’m not good at? It was a trick, one disguised to trip you up and leave you tongue-tied. But I’d come with a game plan that would hopefully win him over, because I really wanted this job.
“I guess one of my biggest weaknesses is that I’ve always had a lot of curiosity and energy, and sometimes that leads me into taking on too much at one time.”
Mr. Mitchell picked up the pen on his desk and wrote something across the top of my resumé. Then he sat back in his chair and looked me over with quiet contemplation.
Be cool, Gabe. Keep it together. You haven’t messed up once. Don’t start now.
“I like you, Mr. Romero—Gabe.” He tapped the arm of his chair. “This job won’t be easy.”
“I don’t want easy.” In fact, I was hoping it would keep me so busy I could forget the reason I needed it in the first place. “I want to work somewhere that I can be proud of and that I can enjoy day in and day out.”
Mr. Mitchell sat forward and handed me my resumé. “Take this out to Tiffany at the front desk. She’s going to tell you where to go to get your drug test. Once that’s cleared, she’ll give you a call so you can come in and get everything set up with HR.”
My jaw practically hit the floor as what he was telling me began to register.
Holy shit. Did I just… Did I just get the job?
“Gabe? Was there something else you wanted to ask?”
I took the piece of paper from him and shook my head. “No. I’m sorry.” I couldn’t help the smile that stretched across my face. “I just… I wasn’t expecting an answer right now, and I’m very happy.”
“Ah, okay. Yes, well, Sherry won’t be happy that I didn’t go through the rest of the bunch sitting out there, but like I said, I like you. I’ve sat through more interviews this morning than I care to ever again, and you’re the first person I didn’t want to strangle.”
My eyes widened as a devilish grin crossed his lips, and I had a feeling that this version of Logan Mitchell was the true version. Not the cool-as-a-cucumber professional who had just grilled me.
He chuckled. “I think you’re going to fit in here very well, Gabe. As long you don’t go home and get high as a kite tonight.”
I almost choked. “Of course not, Mr. Mitchell.”
“Mr. Mitchell makes me feel…old, and I hate that. If you’re going to work for me day in and day out, you can call me Logan.”
“Good. Well then.” Logan got to his feet and held out his hand for me to shake, and it took everything I had not to jump up and fist-bump the air. “I look forward to seeing you next week. Have a good weekend.”
Uh, I was going to have the best weekend ever now. His decision to hire me had literally just changed my life, and that, in my opinion, was cause to celebrate.