Ugh, my nerves were all over the place. I ended up re-writing my cover letter prolly 6 or 8 times Saturday morning before finally heading up to Boston with my belly full of butterflies--and Smores Cereal :)
The setup for the whole event was pretty cool. They had very impressive LEGO models all over and filled the place with people wearing LEGO shirts. It was nearly impossible to tell who was from LEGO and who worked at the college hosting it.
So I show up and register and am told to go into this room where I can mingle with some of the other applicants and LEGO folk. They had two buckets of brick which they explained could be used if I needed to "warm up" for the building challenge which was about to take place. OMG, if only they knew that I had been up the whole night before building like a bandit, trying to prepare for anything they could throw at me...lol
I ended up swimming my hands through the pieces anyways. At first it was just for a soothing moment of Zen, but then it ended up turning into a full-blown building event once a little kid that someone had brought along started building with me. We had a blast. He had a modified foam beer can holder over one of his wrists which he said helped him build. It's always fun to see Budweiser helping to foster children's imaginations.
As we're building, one of the LEGO shirts comes over and joins us. Then this other girl in a LEGO shirt stands behind him and watches too. Then another applicant sits down at my table too and began to build. We all had some small talk and smiles and then another LEGO shirt comes out of the blue and asks me if I'm ready for my building challenge. Oh, ya betcha!
I get escorted with applicant #10 to another room. (They gave us all numbers during registration-I was #9. Damn, I wanted to meet #2 so badly!) There were two chairs at a table with two separate covered buckets each containing 2000 basic bricks.
"Don't worry about color--We're more interested in how you build and what you build rather than how well the colors match up" announced Pat who was in charge of the competition. He then says "The theme is sports. You have 45 minutes-Go!"
Sports?!?! Of all the frikken topics, I get SPORTS???
#10 immediately lights up and starts feverishly building away. Again, I start swimming my fingers through the bricks before me-but this time I'm swimming like I've just been shipwrecked with my fingers searching for a lifesaver of an idea to build.
I had to have wasted 5 minutes of my time just thinking. I looked down at the green base plate and immediately thought about building Fenway Park. I mean the baseball diamond was already there. All I'd need to do was build the walls around it. That was too easy, though and I knew it would be tough to make it interesting given the bricks I had to work with. So scratching my head and kinda sneaking out a smile and a laugh in the otherwise sterile room, I figured why not build a mascot. I have lots of yellow and black brick--I'll build a bumble-bee mascot.
Ok, ok, I know you're prolly thinking who the hell are the Bumble-Bees??? I have no idea either, but I figured it had to make sense somewhere in the country. Maybe it was an expansion team along the Mexican Boarder. I didn't care-it was going to work! :)
45 minutes later, Pat comes back in and starts talking to #10 about his creation:
"So, it looks like you made a baseball park-is that the green wall here at Fenway?" LOL...OMG, I thought that was too funny that he had actually built what I almost built. It was pretty decent, but again, the details were hard to make out and with the exception of the green monster the colors definitely worked against it. He asked a few questions and then invited the guy to head back to the mingling room where he was welcome to check out some more of the models before he could head home. He says "will be in touch soon." #10 leaves relieved.
Then Pat comes over to me. I can't help but smile cuz I did not build the basketball or baseball they were prolly expecting. My mascot was kinda dopey looking with arms hinged by his side, looking up with big eyes to a wacky basketball hoop I built at all different angles off his back. I also had a basketball and launcher to toss it up at the net. I explained how every team needed a mascot and how mine was meant to really get the crowds going.
HE LOVED IT
He asked a few more questions and then gave me the same spiel as the guy before me, except that this time he added: "I'd like you to meet my friend Dan before you head out." Woo-Hoo!
So I head back to the other room filled with numbers and shirts and start to watch one of the video kiosks they had set up. After a few minutes, one of the shirts speaks to me.
"Hallow, I'ym Dahn. You must be Jahymee" (my attempt at writing a British accent tainted by California sun) I quickly seized the opportunity and said, "Lemme guess, you're from Maine, right?" He laughed and said, no no, and how he was from England but now lives in California. I furthered my banter and said, "So you must be one cool dUDE!" (again, my pitiful attempt at writing Dude with a hint of Monty Python raising the intonation) He laughed and we started talking. He really liked what I had to say and was thrilled that I had pictures to show off the stuff I've built.
Soon, the girl who originally just watched me build with the Beer Foam kid came over and asked if I minded being on camera. I said sure and she set me up with this other LEGO girl who asked me a few more questions on camera. After that was done, Pat returned and asked me if I would mind seeing just one more person before I headed out. He seemed to feel bad keeping me inside on such a beautiful day. Oh, how he had no idea how much fun I was having!
So I leave the room for one last time and end up going out into the hall and off to an office. The door shuts and Marcus asks me to sit down.
"Congratulations Jamie. My name is Marcus and I'm with Human Resources. Whether you realize it or not, this is your second interview. You've made a good impression on a lot of people here. You should know that a second interview not only means that you're a serious contender to be a finalist for the Master Builder position, but it also means that we would consider you for other positions within the company."
Whoa-this was further than I've ever gotten with my attempts to apply at LEGO. I was psyched!
The interview went very well. I was comfortable, yet enthusiastic. I think he sensed my energy and liked it. He also commented on how he liked my cover letter and resume. It was all too surreal.
So he ends our conversation by saying that he'd call me that night between 6 and 7pm to let me either way. OMG, I was a wreck leaving that place. I had to make it 5 hours without knowing how I did!?! Lol, you would have laughed you ass off seeing me doing the nervous/happy dance listening to the Volkswagen song while I drove away. I was a complete weirdo.
I was extremely lucky to be surrounded by a few cool friends while I awaited the news. My friends Matt, Tim & Howie and Matt's friend Benoit, all had to put up with me and my giddy nonsense for the whole afternoon.
Well, wouldn't you know it, the call came while we were at the Cambridge Side Galleria-and went to VOICEMAIL??!? Doh! I couldn't believe it. I looked at my phone and saw one new voicemail. I rushed out of the store and ran around like a crazy old prospector while looking for a stronger cell phone signal. I called and heard the message:
"Hey Jamie, it's Marcus from LEGO. I just wanted to let you know that we'd really like you to come out to California as a finalist for the Master Builder position..."
I started bouncing. I was literally bouncing!! I couldn't contain my excitement. I mean to beat out all those other much more talented builders and become one of only two finalists from New England for a chance at a dream job that only 6 other people in America currently have--I WAS LOOPY!
I'm still on a high.
I'm going as a VIP to California for a chance at my dream Job!!! Woo-Hoo!!!!