“Hey, Joanna,” Antonio says. “You’re a recruiter, right?”

It’s 8pm on a Friday night and Joanna estimates she is one-third of the way to being drunk. She wishes she were drunker, as she anticipates that Antonio, like so many before him, is going to pick her brain to try to get a leg-up in some sort of career pursuit.

“Yep, it’s the pits.” She says this to try to stave off a serious and pupil-dilating conversation, which she is not in the mood for. She actually likes her job pretty much, most days.

Her ploy doesn’t work. Antonio says, “Can I ask you a question?” This as he settles into the stool next to her, which her husband Matt has vacated to chat with some regulars at the other end of the bar.

Joanna is not as tough as she likes people to think she is. She allows herself an inaudible sigh and says, “Shoot.”

“There are rumors about lay-offs, and I’m afraid I could be on the chopping block.” Antonio is a dispatcher at a local trucking company; Joanna vaguely recalls he previously held a mish-mash of jobs.

“That sucks,” Joanna says.

“Yeah. I think I should look around. I heard it’s good to have a LinkedIn profile.”

“Absolutely,” Joanna says.

“I created one. Would you take a look?”

“Now?” Joanna asks. Her tone sounds brusque even to her own ears, and when she sees Antonio’s disappointed expression, she backtracks. “I mean, I can do it now, but I have to go to the ladies room. I’ll be right back.”

When she returns, Antonio has pulled up his LinkedIn profile on his iPhone; he now hands the phone to her. She begins to read his Summary. A few seconds in, she knows she can’t do it with him looking at her so sincerely and expectantly. “I’m going to take this to the lobby,” she says. “Light is better there.” Antonio nods as she heads off.

Perched on a hard bench, she begins again.

Pressure-producing professional. Expert in sauces. Power-washing for all situations. Gum removal proficient. Dispatched hundreds efficiently. Managed urban projects with boots on the ground. Field goals achieved. Professional use of litter. Fish proficient. Landscaping and graffiti removal. Broken Widow familiar. Negotiator, snow removal. Well versed on Fish. Urban redevelopment cleanliness and safety. Non-profit restaurant familiar. Office and desktop skills.

“Oh no,” Joanna says out loud, and texts Matt: in lobby, bring me a shot of sambuca.

He’s there, Sambuca in hand, in three minutes.

“What’s up?” he asks. “Why you out here by yourself? Why the shot?”

Joanna shoots the Sambuca, fills him in quickly, and reads Antonio’s summary to him.

When Matt is really amused, he laughs with the abandon of a 3-year old, which he does now, for a full 30 seconds. Collecting himself, he says “Broken Widow? What is that?”

“I think he means Broken Window. You know, if a window in a building is broken and not fixed, someone will break the rest of the windows,” she says.

“Ahh, right. I’ve heard of that. A broken widow is much more intriguing though. Broken physically? Emotionally? Or maybe just broke because her dead husband left all his money to an animal shelter?”

“You’re not helping, Matt. What am I going to say to Antonio?”

“Come on, Joanna. You have to give this kind of feedback all the time.”

“Not at a bar when I’m two-thirds drunk.” The Sambuca has narrowed the gap between Joanna and full drunkenness.

“Tell him it’s very interesting, but you may want to polish it a bit. Tell him you’ll email him something over the weekend.”

“Yeah, that’s good. Thanks hon. Time for re-entry.”

Joanna and Matt walk back into the bar, and Joanna configures her face in what she hopes is a kind way as she heads toward Antonio.


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