Harold wondered what had gone wrong. He’d dressed nice for the interview. He’d been as close to charming as it was possible for him to be. They’d even laughed at some of his jokes, and he’d tried to restrain his natural cynicism, as it was never welcome at interviews. Just enough snark to be funny, but not enough to make anyone uncomfortable.

His answers had been good and thoughtful. They had asked ones that he’d been prepared for. He’d sent out hundreds of resumés, so when he finally got an interview, he’d prepared for it extensively.

But they still went with someone else, despite the fact that he’d done well. It burned him up. And he wasn’t someone who usually got angry. He might say some things under his breath, but he almost never got overtly angry about anything. He knew it wasn’t a good thing, but generally, it worked well.

So, he decided that he’d go and talk to them. They were free to think he was a nutcase now. They hadn’t come through with a job for him, so what did he need them for? Maybe those people talked to each other, and maybe they’d be able to give Harold a bad reputation, but oh well. The savings was almost gone, and he’d pretty much given up on finding a good job. There were plenty of crappy jobs around, and he was pretty sure that those HR departments didn’t talk to each other.

A few days later, Harold got dressed up again and went down to the place where he’d had his interview. He took the elevator up to the office of the insurance broker where he’d applied. He’d already begun planning how he might be able to get past the receptionist to see the HR guy, but in the event, he didn’t need to. He came out of the office suite before Harold even went in.

In spite of his rage, Harold couldn’t help being polite. He stopped the other man and then asked quietly if he could have a few words with him. The man didn’t even recognize Harold and seemed a little surprised that this stranger would ask for his time. But he agreed and led Harold to a sitting area over the main foyer of the building.

“It seems you don’t remember me,” said Harold, “but I was an interviewee for the data entry job.”

The other man rubbed his chin, scowled briefly, and then looked at Harold in recognition. “You’re right, I didn’t remember. But now I do. What can I do for you?”

Harold smiled in as reassuring a way as he could, “I just wondered if you could give me any insight into my interview. I know this is unusual, but I wonder if there was something I could do better with in the future.”

“It’s a little unusual, but people have asked for feedback before. I didn’t think it’d be from you, or for this particular job, but people ask.”

“So, you’re willing to talk to me?”

“Sure. But there really isn’t much to say. I’m sorry, but that’s true.”

“I did that badly? I thought I’d done all right.”

“It was pretty clear that you think you’re too good for the job.”

Harold kept quiet, though he was raging internally. He was too good for a data entry job, but that’s what came up, so he’d applied.

“Most people who think they’re too good for a job really aren’t. A few actually are. I don’t know which you are. But it’s a guarantee that whether it’s true or not, they don’t do a good job of it. They won’t really ever even try, and they’re just going to hate you and themselves, and the job, and their rent, and the economic situation generally… whatever.”

Harold was already feeling full of hate. And he was also seeing that the guy was probably right. He’d thought he’d been able to hide it, but he did feel too good for the data entry job. And he did hate the economic situation that had forced him into applying. He hadn’t spent that much time thinking about it, but he also kind of hated his rent.

Harold thought that all these feelings were really justified. But it didn’t change the situation. He didn’t feel like it was wrong of him, but he also couldn’t really blame the guy for not hiring someone who’d hate the job.

So, he sighed and thanked the HR man. Then he packed up his stuff and walked back out of the building. He took the stairs down feeling depressed. He knew that almost every job he applied to now would be something he felt too good for. He decided that he just shouldn’t make jokes at all. It was the jokes that gave him away.