I had to deal with a sick toddler and a vomiting dog while doing a video interview

A reader writes:

I am a mom to a 2.5 year old and, due to the obstacles of trying to work in a pandemic with a small child, sought a part-time role and started with a new employer in March of last year. I really like this company, and recent opportunities for growth and my interest in transitioning to full-time led me to apply to a new position here. This a very good opportunity, and I am more than qualified for the work. I was not surprised that I got an interview, which was yesterday.

Let me tell you about this not-great interview. It occurred via Zoom on one of my days off when I was at home. The night prior I ended up getting about two hours of sleep due to dealing with a sick toddler. The sick toddler (who of course seemed to be feeling just fine after that) was unable to attend daycare that day, and I was not able to find back-up childcare. I will take accountability for not rescheduling the interview due to this conflict, but honestly I was so tired and am so used to just powering through this type of sick child/no childcare scenario that it simply did not occur to me as an option.

I tried to put the kid to sleep before interview time, but he woke up at the last possible second. I proceed to interview with him sitting next to me on my couch. I did explain up front to the interviewers that my child was sick and at home with me unexpectedly, and that due to this I had barely gotten any sleep. Of course, about three times during the interview my kid interrupted, and while I was able to redirect him, it just seemed *not great*. And to top it off, my terrier, who was sitting in front of me just past my view of my computer screen, repeatedly vomited and ate it while I sat helpless to stop that cycle, all the while my child is asking, “What’s that? What is the dog doing?” I was simultaneously trying my best to answer interview questions and keep the toddler quiet and away from the sick dog, AND to not be completely grossed out by having to witness something very unpleasant making a mess on my living room floor. No, the interviewers did not know about the dog barf, but I’m sure my face wasn’t looking super calm/cool/collected. I was feeling a little helpless and overwhelmed.

I am such a good fit for this role, and feel that I made that pretty clear. I also feel like I answered the questions appropriately and thoroughly despite the disruption, but I am sure I came off as completely frazzled due my lack of sleep and the absolute circus of my house in that 25-minute time frame. I am worried that since this is a work-from-home position they are going to judge me on what may have come across as a bad work environment.

Should I follow up with an email reiterating that these were unusual circumstances for me and that I really feel that this position is a good fit? Should I follow up at all? If so, how do I even explain myself without sounding like I am making excuses, or pleading with them to believe me that things are not really like that all the time in my home? Should I do nothing and hope they discount the craziness of my circumstances at that time and put more weight on my resume and my answers to the interview questions? The team knows me, but not very well. I have had minimal interaction with this department, and we are located physically in different parts of the state. I did very recently win a company-wide contest they held by submitting a humorous story, so they know who I am through that. Part of me wants to just lean on the idea that they will think I’m funny and cool enough to take on to their team. I usually have a good read on how job interviews go in either direction but I am at a loss here. I’m afraid I really blew it even though stripped down to focusing on just the interview, it went fine. I could also be completely off-base on my read of this experience because I was exhausted.

Also: next time my dog throws up during a zoom interview, should I just stop the interview to deal with that?!!?!? Is there etiquette for this kind of scenario?

Oh noooo!

Definitely send a note apologizing for the distractions and emphasizing that it’s not at all your normal working environment but just a perfect storm of problems that struck at the worst moment.

That’s so often all interviewers are looking for in a situation like this one — an acknowledgement that no, this is not how you normally work. If you say nothing, they have to wonder if maybe that kind of chaos is so typical that you don’t even register it as something that might be concerning to them. But if you acknowledge something unusual was happening and explicitly say that it’s not normal, you go a long way to setting those worries at ease. (The same is true of things like being late to an interview or arriving with mustard all over the front of your shirt. Obviously you want to try not to have either to those things happen, but sometimes life hits when you least expect it to, and acknowledging that this isn’t your norm goes a long way toward smoothing that over … since otherwise your interviewer has to wonder if the reason you’re not saying anything is because your lateness/mustard isn’t an aberration for you.)

The fact that they already know you a bit should help, too.

As for the next time your dog throws up during a zoom interview … don’t stop the interview to deal with it! Obviously, if your dog were choking and in need of immediate help or there was another emergency that had to be dealt with Right Now for reasons of safety, of course you’d need to stop to do that. But if it’s just routine pet vomit, let it go and deal with it later. If you think the vomiting noises can be heard on the call, you should briefly address that so your interviewers aren’t sitting there distracted and wondering what that ungodly noise is — but that’s just a quick, “I’m so sorry, my dog has picked this moment to throw up, please excuse that sound” and then you continue on.

I hope you get good news about this job soon!

{ 242 comments… read them below }

  1. Veryanon*

    I don’t have anything to add except my profound sympathies on this completely off the rails situation. I hope you got the job, LW!

    1. Alanna*

      The one thing I’d add to Allison’s excellent response is that if there’s a second interview, do your absolute best to make sure there is zero chaos, including rescheduling if you need to if there are childcare issues. That would go a long way toward showing this was a one-off.

        1. CarlDean*

          Also insert video of that exasperated momma bear trying to carry her four cubs across the road. The last 3 years of parenting have been. A. Time. For sure.

      1. L'étrangère*

        And put the dog outside! Or lock him in the bathroom. Or whatever will get him out of your hair entirely, unable to make any noise.

        1. Kara*

          If your dog is the type to get loud when a closed door is between them and their human(s), try a bone or other long-lasting treat. Mine will happily lay at my feet and chew away.

          1. TrixM*

            And it’s honestly a good thing to “teach” your dog anyway – how to chill out in a small space from time to time while you’re still around but not in sight.
            There’s a lot of negative hype around crate training, but that’s exactly what it’s good for. Get a crate that isn’t too small, furnish it with a comfy bed/blankets and toys, introduce the dog to it, let them just go in and chill. When they’re spending time in there with no prompting, try closing the door for short intervals while you’re present, then try walking out for a few minutes. Give a treat if the dog remains relaxed. Ramp up the duratuin over time – if the pooch is comfortable in there for an hour, that’s great. Needless to say, it’s not about locking your dog up all day long with no respite.

        2. Sarah789*

          Right?? The dog should have been put outside/away/etc. before the interview started. I interviewed during the pandemic and there were no signs of life inside my home other than myself.

          It takes some preparation, but that is the key- PREPARE ahead of time. If I had an interview of my career linen up, nothing would interrupt me during that hour, short of a house fire. Everything else could wait because what I’m doing will impact the household, hopefully for the better!

          1. RebeccaNoraBunch*

            This is why I use doggie daycare. No human children, but my two little poodles would FLIP RIGHT OUT if I tried to put them in another room and lock them in. Lol, nope. But they can go to daycare and play with their friends while Mommy has an interview or an important meeting.

          2. Lozi*

            I think we can be kind and recognize that the LW was exhausted and is already beating herself up over this. I totally understand the impulse of a mom trying to manage it all and not realizing until too late that it’s a perfect storm.

      2. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. Move mountains to make sure you put your best foot forward if there’s another interview. Also, if you send them an email thanking them for the interview and expressing that this was a one-off, clarify that normally you do have daycare at which your child is fully enrolled. I would want to know that they had childcare for the future. I once told someone I didn’t have childcare yet but it was easy to sign up for at the school and that seemed to alleviate their concerns.

    2. Miss Muffet*

      One can only hope you’ll be able to look back on this and laugh – hopefully while in the new job. I always say ‘nothing happens till it all happens at once!’

      1. Just Another Cog*

        I am rooting for you, OP. I’m glad Alison offered a sensible solution to your explaining the unusual circumstances during your interview. (She always does!) I’m not surprised you won the company wide humorous story contest. The way you wrote this letter made me laugh out loud.

    3. Biology Dropout*

      Oh no!!! I would hire you though. And solidarity fist bump: it wasn’t an interview, but one toddler pooped and tried to take her diaper off every time I was on the call with a particular client. And another kid, during an interview for freelance work, screamed the entire call (no reason at all, she was just mad that I was on the phone) and during another call stripped naked and started jumping on the bed.

    4. Anne Elliot*

      “I think my core strengths are –”
      “Um, that I’m highly organized and –”
      “Uh, able to collaborate in a myriad –”
      “HN, HN, HN, GWAAAK!”

      I am SO SORRY but the visuals on this have me laughing out loud at my desk, so thank you for that. :D

  2. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Just sharing this here: I once was doing a live radio interview when I started to hear a constant ripping and scratching noise from across the room. I had no idea what it was and it went on for about 20 minutes, nearly the duration of the whole interview. Radio shows are pretty good about telling you when there’s background noise and they didn’t say anything, so I figured they couldn’t hear it and I just kept going since it was live radio. But the whole time I was answering questions, I was trying to figure out what was happening across the room — was something breaking through my wall? Was my house about to be invaded by aggressive rabbits? It was very hard to ignore it.

    After the call was done, I was finally able to investigate, and it turned out a cat (Eve!) had decided to fully remove the lining from the bottom of a chaise lounge, no doubt delighted that the nearby human was not interfering.

    This is not nearly as bad as this LW’s morning of chaos, but I share it anyway.

    1. annie*

      I have a cat who does this to chairs, we can’t figure out why. You can’t tell unless you get on the floor and look for it but none of our chairs have any fabric remaining on the part that faces the floor.

      1. Sloanicota*

        When people in my kitten fostering group write in to the listserv panicking that they have “lost the kittens” in their house, this is 99% of the time where the kittens are (a minority of the time there’s an access point into the wall somewhere during a rehab project or something, which is much harder to deal with). The kittens locate and/or expand a tear on the underside of upholstery and then climb up inside.

        1. Catgirl*

          When my kitten disappeared we looked everywhere and finally found him inside the easy chair, he had torn open a hole on the underside and climbed inside. We were panicked thinking he was stuck and “rescued” him. He turned around and jumped back inside!

        2. WiscoKate*

          My cat did this as a kitten when I was out of state and had a pet sitter. She had managed to crawl into a suitcase I was storing under my bed. The poor pet sitter found her after 20 minutes but was in tears. I adore cats but they are sometimes little gremlins.

          1. Artemesia*

            Ours has learned to open all the doors and while we were in Europe our cat carer couldn’t find him — he has pushed out an under counter heater in the kitchen and crawled back under the counter.

            Lured out with food then the carer figured out how to brace the guest room where the cats were staying during our absence so they did not have free range to destroy the place.

            Now the ‘bad cat’ has learned to apply his door opening ability to all doors and so we have had to install toddler door locks on the lever door handles all over the apartment to keep him out of rooms we don’t want him in. Luckily the front door has a lockable key dead bolt.

            1. londonedit*

              We had to be careful with one of our cats because she was obsessed with getting in behind the big low-level drawer in the kitchen where all the saucepans lived. You’d open the drawer to get a pan out, and in the time it took to carry the pan to the hob and turn around, there’d be a fluffy tail disappearing down the back of the drawer.

              1. Little My*

                My cat is obsessed with getting in my open dresser drawers and then wiggling her way down to a drawer that is NOT open. So hard to get her out again!

                1. Gracely*

                  My cat OPENS dresser drawers! For like a month after she discovered how to do it, I was really confused about why my husband was leaving the dresser drawers open. Then one day I was sitting across the hall doing something else when I saw her saunter in and open the drawer. and snuggle down onto my sweaters. That’s when I realized my husband hadn’t been leaving drawers open after all.
                  When I told him about it, it turned out he thought *I* had been leaving the drawers open!

            2. IAAL*

              I changed my doorknobs from the lever type to a knob type when it became clear that one of my cats was about 2 days away from figuring out how to open closed doors. Later I had to get childproofing items for my kitchen cabinets because of the same cat.

          2. Time’s thief*

            When we moved a friend, who frequently fosters cats, offered to keep our clowder of 6 for a few days while we were in the worst of it. She has a dedicated room for cats but uses the closet for linens. It’s fine because she had cat-proof latches on the closet door to keep cats out. It worked for the hundreds of cats she’d fostered.

            Ours broke in within 20 minutes.

            At least now she believes me when I say our crowd is trouble.

        3. pagooey*

          Years ago, I got a new couch, and the delivery guys were also willing to haul the old one away. We pried the fat, mature cat out of the old couch’s under-lining…but didn’t notice my kitten in there with him. She made it all the way out to the back of their truck before popping out–while I was doing a head count inside and having a complete panic attack. One of the delivery guys came strolling back with the kitten; they thought it was HILARIOUS, but I still have nightmares about it. (Everyone was fine; kitten is now the fat, mature grande dame of the household and has destroyed a chair, an ottoman, and the box spring in similar fashion.)

        4. Ellen N.*

          A cat we adopted disappeared the first night. We looked everywhere. We finally found her when we opened the dishwasher n the morning. She had climbed in. We didn’t notice so we shut it. Thankfully we didn’t run the dishwasher.

          1. BlackBelt Jones*

            Similar to my story!

            Two or three nights after a “sympathy adoption”, I left the cat home alone over a few hours. I couldn’t find her when I returned, and I looked everywhere! I thought maybe she had sneaked out, somehow, when I left home. I was heartbroken.

            The next evening, I heard a faint “meow”, and my eyes went directly to her location. There is a brick-sized-and-shaped space between my sink and dishwasher. She had managed to back into the hole, and seemed afraid to come out. I guess she watched me running back and forth frantically for an entire day, hunting for her!

            Maybe cats have a thing for dishwashers?

            1. The Prettiest Curse*

              I think it’s significant that in both of these comments, the cats were new to the household. I once read that cats like to hide themselves (especially in small spaces) when they’re feeling insecure or uncertain – and they’re especially prone to doing that in a new environment.

              1. blam*

                Yeah, we had one that wriggled in behind the stove on her first night and wouldn’t come out for a full day. I can understand wanting a secure little hidey-hole in a new place.

        5. Jay (no, the other one)*

          The first time I visited my not-yet-in-laws, I found out that my sister-in-law’s cat liked to crawl inside the couch, having torn the fabric off the bottom. I’d never lived with a cat, and was HIGHLY surprised when the cat objected to my presence on the couch from *inside* the couch.

        6. allathian*

          When my aunt had to go to the hospital for a week, her cats spent the time in my sister’s apartment. It happened to be during her summer vacation, and she had no other plans, so the cats weren’t left alone in a strange apartment. But one day when she came home from her grocery shopping, one of the cats, a big Norwegian Forest Cat, had disappeared, somewhere in her one-bedroom apartment. Turns out that she had made a nest for herself inside my sister’s couch and ripped out most of the stuffing inside. Just goes to show that it’s not just kittens who do this.

          The story continues, because around the same time, my parents had adopted two kittens from the same litter. A week after my aunt’s cats left, my parents visited my sister and brought their two kittens who were about 5 or 6 months old. Well, they found a scratching board that my aunt had left behind and that smelled like a girl cat. The result was that my parents two male kittens started spraying around for the first time in their lives. As soon as my parents and their kittens got back home, my mom called the vet’s office and scheduled neutering for both of them… My sister had to throw out two pairs of shoes, and it took a lot of work to remove the stench, even when she used undiluted white vinegar.

          1. TrixM*

            There’s a product called Nature’s Miracle – available in many countries – that I highly recommend for pet stains and any odiferous organic stain in general. It uses enzymes and magic, as far as I can tell.
            I have no pets, and I literally used it this week. I’m staying in long-term accommodation, and something in the bedroom stunk of the previous occupant, although everything was spotlessly clean. After rewashing everything, I finally figured out it was the pillows! Washing them in 90C water, soaking in vinegar, drying in sun and air, only slight improvement. Getting the Nature’s Miracle and hitting it the pillows with that – finally! Non-smelly pillows, with only a very light lemon scent that’ll disappate or wash out.

        7. A Penguin of Ill Repute*

          We had a cat disappear into the wall the first night we moved into our house. Luckily for us, the wall was in the laundry room, which had been an addition at some point in our house’s history – the spot where she’d gotten into the wall was right below what used to be a window, now with an easily-removable shelf filling the hole.

        8. IAAL*

          I had a full-grown (and not small) cat wriggle her way into a rolled up area rug. I knew she could not have gotten out, but I couldn’t find her ANYWHERE.

      2. afiendishthingy*

        My cat did this to the underside of my box spring. the pieces of fabric hanging down make it harder to see him when he hides under there which I think may be by design! He is a scaredy cat.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          My late lamented cat did the same thing, except she would climb up into one of the gaps underneath the mattress when she wanted to hide.

        2. I'm just here for the cats*

          Our cat did this. Made a hammock out of the material and would lay in it. Couldn’t tell unless you touched it and then she’d meow.

          1. cat mattress*

            Same. Mine loves being in hammocks, but she’s so big the mattress material basically sagged to the floor anyway.

        3. Melitami*

          I have put fitted sheets on the underside of all the boxsprings in our house for that very reason. Easier to swap out if needed than the not quite fabrics that’s usually on the bottom. The cats were not amused that I thwarted their hiding attempts

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        If they’re anything like my Harvey, they delight in playing Cave Monster. He also used to burrow under his cat blankets in front of the heater.

      4. Our Lady of the Cats*

        Oh, I can explain!! My cat took down the entire under-fabric of the couch…. and created a lovely hammock for himself!!! If only we could attach pictures, I’d include one of him enjoying his new secret lair haha.

        1. IAAL*

          One of mine does this as well. Once I needed to take him to the vet, and in order to find him, I had to turn the sofa over!

    2. ferrina*

      My cat decided to climb a 6-foot-tall floor lamp in the middle of a virtual meeting. In full view of the participants. I was the meeting leader.

      Cats are the ultimate opportunists.

      1. JSPA*

        My cats opened up and climbed into the lining of the (very heavy) bed in a designated “pet friendly / pet equipped” hotel room. And then just hung out in the hammock they’d created, secure that nobody could grab them. When it was time to leave, I bounced on the bed, intermittently, at first gently and then with increasing vigor, until they decided to decamp. We left a very large tip and said nothing.

    3. Just Here for the Cake*

      I have my own story to share!

      Not an interview, but it was a very important meeting with many people on the call where I was presenting and had to have my camera on. My cat choose just that moment to become interested in the Christmas tree, which was right next to me. Why he chose that moment to try to climb it when he had been ignoring it for a solid month, I will never know. My cat is BIG, and at that point was a little on the cubby side, so as he got higher the tree naturally starting listing. I tried my best to keep my face neutral and continue presenting, while also holding the tree up and trying in vain to get my cat down. It was a time! I’m so glad I was sitting next to it and not across the room or something. Of course, he got down as soon as the meeting was over and never showed interest in the tree again.

      1. The cat jumped over the ficus*

        When my cat was a tiny ball of fluff, he used to climb my ficus in the background of video calls I was leading. I could see him in the background but was powerless to stop it. When he started growing I could see the focus swaying more and more – until one day, the plant toppled over and the cat with it (thankfully, during a routine meeting with a coworker).

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Sounds just like my brother’s recently deceased cat – the vacuum cleaner killer. He would pick the moment when you were on a work call at home to break into wherever the vacuum cleaner had been put now and figure out how to pull out the electronics in the newest one. In 12 years they went through eight vacuums – mostly in the last four years.

        1. Artemesia*

          There are a variety of devices to lock doors from toddlers and cats. It would take one vacuum disaster for me to deploy one of those.

      3. Corrvin (they/them)*

        Scene: I am on a Zoom call defending my portfolio. If I do not pass this defense I do not graduate. I am in my living room office, I am professionally groomed and attired, my background view is immaculate, etc. My dear sweet baby of a cat, Checkers Linsky, goes just off camera and pulls down an ENTIRE SHELF of books, and then, unharmed, proceeds to warble and wraowl as loudly as he can while galloping up and down the stairs at the other side of the room. My saint of a partner grabs him and takes him to the downstairs bathroom, at the other end of the house, where he can still hear me presenting and thus wraowls LOUDER. And he doesn’t stop for the entire 25 minutes of my presentation.

        While the committee was discussing my work without me, I went and got him out of the bathroom, and he sat on my lap being a silent little gentlecat while they gave me the news: I passed and would graduate at the end of the semester. Checky has chilled out considerably as he ages, but is still an absolute menace whenever someone is on a call.

    4. That One Person*

      My cat only wishes I could be so distracted when she finds hanging tape on an opened box or bag!

    5. LimeRoos*

      Adding another funny interview story – not animal related though.

      I had just moved to a new state and was doing a lot of phone screens. We were in a small apartment, boyfriend doing something in the kitchen, I’m in the living area in the same space doing a phone screen, when suddenly there’s an ouch and a crash and the glass covering the kitchen light had fallen and hit boyfriend in the shoulder and broke on the floor. We were maybe halfway through talking, but I asked if I could call her back momentarily because our kitchen light had just fallen on my boyfriends shoulder. She was totally cool and said yes, and everything after that went well and I ended up getting that job. Side note – make sure your light fixtures are secure because oof they are heavy and painful.

      1. whingedrinking*

        I was once working on a paper at 1 AM and considered going to the kitchen to get a cup of tea, then decided to finish the paragraph I was working on first. Two minutes later I heard a bone-rattling crash from downstairs, where the lighting panel in the kitchen had fallen down. It left a dent in the stove as it fell. I am very, very happy my skull wasn’t under it at the time…

    6. The OG Sleepless*

      I was on the phone with a veterinary technician at Animal Poison control about a patient, when in the background I heard this horrible, unnatural, distressed yell. The tech immediately started stammering and sounding a bit flustered, and finally asked if he could put me on hold. He came back and apologetically told me his cat had just vomited.

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      Ah, like our late, dearest Harvey, whose first act upon seeing our brand new bed was to tear the lining off one end of the bottom of the box spring, then climb inside. Had to remove the whole damn thing.

    8. If you give a mouse a Zoom call…*

      Shorter, and with a smaller audience, but I was home with COVID but teleworking from the couch towards the end of my recovery and my cat apparently decided I was not recovering fast enough and/or not eating enough. The cat marched in to drop a live mouse in front of me right before the meeting leader threw the call to me. I did not catch the mouse right then- though did manage to apologize for my delayed response and a brief why before answering. Later that day on another call with the lead I mentioned I did end up catching the mouse and releasing it and the lead replied “so you *did* say mouse earlier!” He thought he had mid-heard.

      1. ferrina*

        Oh man, my cat would do this to me while I was in high school, usually right before I left for school. I think he was training me to be a better hunter? But it definitely forestalled questions.

        “Why are you late for school?”
        “I had to catch the mouse before it got into the air vents.”
        “…..carry on.”

      2. pieces_of_flair*

        A friend of mine was attending an important Zoom meeting from his basement when he saw a mouse dash by. He instinctively reached down and grabbed it. Then he just sat through the rest of the meeting holding a live mouse in one hand.

        1. Pdweasel*

          My tortie, Luna, gets miffed anytime she’s not the center of attention (such as when I’m on a call). I was on a telehealth appointment with my therapist and had already shooed Luna off the counter, taken away the documents she was ripping up, and put the lid on the kitchen garbage can that she’d been trying to get into. All was well until suddenly, there was a crash in the room behind me and the sound of multiple books & papers hitting the floor. I was like, “I don’t even want to know.” And my therapist was about in tears, she was laughing so hard.

    9. The Eye of Argon*

      I never worked from home so my cats never embarrassed me in front of my coworkers/boss, but did/do zoom calls with friends and family. My cats resent me paying attention to something that isn’t them and try to stomp all over the keyboard. If they didn’t succeed in closing windows, putting the thing into airplane mode, or other shenanigans, they managed to point their behinds right at the camera. I eventually got one of those keyboard protectors that look like a shelf that sits over the keyboard, which put an end to the button-mashing, but the mooning continues.

      1. Bookmark*

        My dog also resents me being in too many zoom meetings, particularly ones where I am an active participant and talking a lot. His solution is to pretend he’s a puppy even though he’s 6 years old, and barks at/chases his tail incessantly. He is amazingly persistent about this (because, of course, I have to ignore the behavior to avoid rewarding him) and will continue doing it for 15-20 minutes at a time. It is incredibly distracting. The worst part is that videoconferencing programs/headphones have gotten so good at filtering out background noise that often nobody but me can hear what’s going on. I have occasionally had to send colleagues video proof later to explain why I was having such a hard time focusing on our conversation.

        1. Ellen N.*

          You might want to try our dog trainer’s recommendation, a penny can.

          Put a few coins in a soda can then tape it up. When your dog does something really bad shake the can hard. They hate the noise and will stop what they are doing.

    10. ThatGirl*

      A week after starting a new job in Jan 2021, with everyone still full time working from home, I was in a zoom meeting when my dog threw up, peed on the carpet and then had a seizure. I was on mute and turned my camera off but I 100% did not absorb anything from it, between trying to make sure he was no longer seizing, cleaning up, texting my husband and messaging my new manager.

      (The job is going fine; the dog recovered but unfortunately passed in Dec of that year.)

    11. mli25*

      Two cat stories:

      For 3 months during a home renovation, the cat and I spent 5 days a week in the office. He enjoyed making video call appearances and would sometimes walk across the laptop. He turned it off more than once from randomly pushing buttons.

      My parents cat, circa 2000. My dad was on roof of our two story house, with a ladder leaning against the house. He hears a meow and lo and behold, the cat had climbed up the ladder and was on the roof. The cat managed to get down by himself (according to my dad)

      1. ferrina*

        A neighbor’s cat climbed on the roof of my house (he must have climbed a tree to get up there). He couldn’t figure out how to get down, so he started meowing at my window. I had to open the window, grab him and carry him through my house to let him back outside on the ground. My own (indoor) cats were very confused.

        1. Cyndi*

          My parents live in a duplex, and the family who lived in the other side until recently had a cat who liked to get out their window, sidle along the ledge to my parents’ half of the building, and hang out watching my mom go about her business through the windows. We never found out his name (my parents weren’t on good terms with those neighbors) but I always called him Creeper Cat.

    12. serafina*

      My cat woke me up this morning by flinging her beloved compressed catnip toy in a nipped out frenzy by flinging it all over the house. *THUNK* *THINK* *crazy cat noises* *THUNK*

      One of my cats usually make an appearance on my work zoom calls when I am working from home. My director, a fellow animal lover, refers to them as my “At Home Supervisors”. Hahaha.

      1. cncx*

        I called my cat my intern and repeatedly complained that all millennials do is sleep on the job and who hired this guy.

        When he acted a fool on zoom (frequently)I said HR was dealing with it.

        I no longer home office. He is why.

    13. Asenath*

      The loveseat I have had through four cats has always been a refuge for cats. I can lift up a fabric panel covering the back, but there’s some wood, probably an essential part of the structure, that they can get past and I can’t. Once a cat gets in there, all I can do is wait for it to condescend to emerge. Bits of fluff and foam often appear on the floor, and of course the exterior upholstery has the scratched bits covered by double sided carpet tape. I noticed only the other day that another spot was under attack. They have a scratching post and two smaller scratching pads, which they sometimes use, especially the one that produces shredded cardboard, but there’s nothing like a piece of furniture. When I hear odd noises, it’s usually the younger of the two currently in residence. I think she gets bored easily and looks for challenges. Her current favourites are cupboards and drawers, and she can open almost all of them, but I can hear her opening them. Usually she only digs out soft quiet things, like underwear or towels. I’m not sure if I should install child locks, or just let her amuse herself, and pick up after her.

    14. Pam Adams*

      I’m trying to do Zoom calls with students and one of the dogs keeps barking. He’s on the bed and has a toy- he just wants to bark!

    15. Bunny*

      Alison, I am a news radio vet. During the pandemic, the US Senators, Governor, major heath experts, ect, who all zoomed me first had to greet my giant tuxedo cat, who wails like John Lee Hooker.

      It was a cat’s TIME.

    16. My Dear Wormwood*

      I was interviewing an astrophysicist and trying to get my head around gravitational lensing for a news article when I had to break off and shriek “stop licking the bin!” at a toddler.

    17. cncx*

      My cat doesn’t like people talking in his house and will scream bloody murder if I am on any kind of a call. Had an interview during the pandemic quarantine days where he lost it howling for so long and so loud that the cat of the man interviewing me came into his home office to see what was up.
      Really minor compared to poor OP I know, still my cat is the reason I can’t home office.

    18. Pallas Perilous*

      Our old cat once ripped a hole in the fabric on the underside of the couch, crawled up inside the frame…and got…lost? It was a long and confusing evening that ensued when, hours later, I sat down and the couch started meowing in despair.

      Eventually we had to poke her butt through the fabric with a broom handle until she rolled back to the hole and we could yank her out.

      We stapled it up and she did it again a week later.

    19. Gatomon*

      My cat spent years tearing into my box spring after I finally was able to afford a bed frame, all so he could hide inside. He loved to work on it at night while I was trying to sleep, making the whole bed jiggle!

    20. MassChick*

      Why do cats love the do this? My boy has de-pantsed all the dining room chairs and all the chairs/couches he could crawl under. When time came for replacement, one of the criteria was the couch had to be low enough to block his access to the underbelly.

    21. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Oh the lovely ‘oh I can’t see the cat what’s he doing NOW?’ moment! I think I recall you having multiple cats in which case I really shudder to think of the number of things they can get up to when you’re working!

      (William Catner will eat plastic, and the wicker sewing box if not watched. He stays away from furniture entirely but do not leave a plastic bag out..)

  3. singularity*

    This sound so stressful, I’m sorry this happened. I agree with Alison, ignoring it can make it weirder, so if this combination of ridiculousness ever happens again, I’d acknowledge it and try to move on if possible.

    Maybe in the future you could put your dog somewhere else, just during the interview, so that it’s out of sight and unable to make noise or vomit in the background? That’s my only bit of practical advice, other than I understand the stress of finding childcare.

    Good luck with this job! *fingers crossed*

    1. mlem*

      That was my immediate thought — close the dog out of the room *unless* that will cause worse distractions. (My cats are mortally offended by closed doors and yowl if they encounter one. That being said, if I had a high-stakes video interview to deal with, I’d at least consider closing them a few rooms away or something like that if I could.)

      1. NeedRain47*

        Yeah, don’t know of any pets who will be chill behind a closed door while the human is present on the other side, I suspect that would be worse for a lot of us. (My 19 yr old cat has been known to yowl during interviews, but as long as I sit somewhere where he can’t climb up next to me, ignoring it works fine.)

        1. korangeen*

          My two cats thankfully are indeed chill behind a closed door, usually. I typically close them in my bedroom when I have any job interviews, therapy appointments, or other meetings that I don’t want them interrupting. They’re happy to take a nap on the bed for a while. I’m glad they’re not yowlers!

        2. Bookmark*

          My dog, who is in all other ways extremely high strung, will happily chill out in the bedroom for a couple of hours if I’m in important meetings while working from home. As long as I don’t try to open the front door, and nobody rings a doorbell, and none of the neighbor dogs start barking or walking too close to the bedroom window (but he would do all those things were he not behind a closed door, and at least the sound is slightly muffled…)

    2. Random Dice*

      Also, for the toddler – an iPad with Cocomelon on headphones, and a lollipop. Especially if your usually strict with TV and candy.

  4. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

    As someone who did countless virtual interviews last year, with a puppy, I can sympathize!Most of the interviews I had done he was fine. After one similar vomiting incident, I stated putting him in his kennel for the interview.

    If your dog is kennel trained or there is a place to safely confine the dog, I think that’s the best way to make sure the dog as safe and you aren’t going to be unexpectedly distracted.

    1. SofiaDeo*

      Yes, I am told by numerous trainers that every dog should have a crate, and be crate trained. If for no other reason that when they need rest/quiet, a crate in a corner somewhere with a blanket or rug is a nice quiet place. And if they are sick, they won’t usually be sick *inside* the crate, they step out of it. There are some “crate end tables” sold in pet stores if space is really tight.

      Another thing I figured out, for all you new dog owners. My trainer emphasized I needed to “reward” behaviors that I wanted my dogs to do. So I started praising/petting them every hour or so, when they were lying quietly. When they are misbehaving, they get told “no” and I either leave the room, or put them in another room and shut the door. They quickly learned that lying quietly would earn them praise! I don’t have large dogs and they aren’t destructive chewers, so this won’t work for everyone. But it seems to me, dogs are often like toddlers in that they want our attention, and figure out pretty quickly what gets us to react. So if causing a ruckus while I am trying to cook or fold laundry gets them removed to another room, but lying quietly gets them a pat/scratch plus a “good doggie” when I am done, they quickly learn wait.

      1. CarlDean*

        I’m a lawyer who has been doing remote court appearances for the last 3 years, with three dogs (!) two of which are puppies (!!!), and crates are a life saver (and career saver).
        But, I get that you can’t just train an older dog to be in a crate.

  5. howlieT*

    If it cheers you up LW, I had a mock interview as part of a retraining course I was doing this time last year during which my cat decided now was the exact moment she should jump up on my lap and start singing the song of her people to the interviewer. I apologised, acknowledged her to shush her, and then went on with my answer. Because it was a mock interview we got immediate feedback on the same call, and I got praised for my handling of surprise cat interruption because “when you’re working from home sometimes life happens!”

    Hopefully your interviewers think the same!

    1. SpaceGirl*

      In 2020, both my husband and I interviewed for new jobs – first time doing remote interviews for both of us. It was also the first time our cat, Hugo, had the opportunity to participate in job interviews. He showed up for both. He will wail at a closed door, so all we could hope was that he wouldn’t be super obnoxious if allowed into the room. For both interviews, all he did was pop in to say hello, then he was successfully shooed away. :) Husband got the job, I didn’t get mine, but it wasn’t Hugo’s fault. (And a great new job for me came along 6 months later!)

    2. Double A*

      Yes, in my interview for my current job, the video conferencing on my computer, which I had tested and was working just fine, crashed right at the start of my interview. I was able to reconnect quickly using my phone and apologized for the issue.

      Since it’s an entirely remote position, I think my ability to quickly troubleshoot was probably actually a selling point.

    1. Kiwi*

      I’ve had this happen! The manager I was on the call with clearly heard it too – we both froze and he was very understanding when I said I had to go deal with it.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        All these remind me of the old Sylvia cartoon where she’s writing “Can’t get up in the morning? Tried alarms without success? Send for Sylvia’s tape, ‘Sound of Two Cats Upchucking.’ Guaranteed to have you out of bed and alert in seconds!”

        1. Damn it, Hardison!*

          I long ago lost track of how many times I have woken up in the dead of night because somewhere in my house a cat was vomiting. Apparently my hearing is very highly attuned to that particular sound.

        2. Tabby's Mom*

          I’m not sure if the fact that my cat vomits silently is a good or bad. Usually I find out that she’s vomited because I step in it :(

        3. Princess Sparklepony*

          No lie there. I think there is money to be made as an alarm app. Dry cat vomit is hard to clean up, best to get it when it’s fresh!

    2. Jojo*

      I was coming here to say the exact same thing. My cat vomited while I was presenting to an executive on a work call. Add in a toddler, and I think I would have had a breakdown right then and there. I hope you get the job…and some sleep.

    3. Massive Dynamic*

      Sameeeeeeee, in a meeting with a client. She started with the barf yodels right down at my feet, then the heaves/vomit, then loud meows for attention and acknowledgement of her recent life struggle. I can’t even remember if I said anything or not but there’s no way it wasn’t heard.

      1. pagooey*

        The barf yodels! Yes–what’s that about? I assume it’s the feline equivalent of a frat boy weaving around and saying “Dude, oh man, I don’t feel so good. I think I’m gonna hurl–“

      2. Joielle*

        Literally LOLed at this description. I WISH my cats would do the barf yodels. We get no warning and then BAM, vomit wherever they’re standing at the time. Usually on something difficult or inconvenient to clean.

        1. blam*

          Ours doesn’t normally do the yodels, but one time he did and I picked him to try and figure out why he was crying. I’ve never put him down again so quickly in my LIFE.

      3. TinySoprano*

        Oh the barf yodels! My childhood cat did such distinct barf yodels that I used to call it “doing the ya-ya” when I was a kid.

    4. Alex the Alchemist*

      My cat had severe separation anxiety when she was a kitten. This resulted in her jumping onto my back and sinking her claws in when she found me in another room from her. This happened once while I was in the middle of a work presentation via Zoom. I’m happy to say that I maintained a complete straight face until I had finished my presentation, and then I immediately told her how I don’t appreciate the surprise acupuncture.

      1. Reed*

        My cat decided I was the climbing wall she must conquer while I was attending an online seminar recently.

        Except, I didn’t maintain a straight face at all. I yelled like fog horn.

        You are my hero.

    5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah – cats just love to show off for the camera. I was just reminded of the cat of my hubby’s former manager. This cat was a rescue, neutered late, and very attached to cleaning that spot on camera, right behind the manager’s head. And apparently the cat would go on for 30 minutes plus grooming that specific, special area.

  6. Sloanicota*

    I would add, I’d have different standards for an interview than the rest of ZoomLife. I would absolutely step away from any other meeting, or go cameras-off, to deal with these things. It’s just unfortunate that an interviewing mindset is “seeing someone at their absolute best” with the assumption that they’re probably *less* on the ball than this in their general day-to-day. That’s why I wouldn’t have stopped to deal with the dog unless I actually thought I could resolve the entire situation in five seconds or less with zero recurrance.

    1. ferrina*

      Exactly. I’d interrupt a regular meeting, but not an interview. When the interviewers have so little information on you, this can be a game changer.

  7. Llama Lover*


    I’m only laugh crying because it’s SOOOO relatable. Best of luck, OP. I really hope they pick you. (And I can totally see why you won the funny story contest!)

  8. Just Another Tired US Fed*

    LW, consider using a virtual background next time. Sorry all this happened to you and hope you gt the job!

    1. Velociraptor Attack*

      In my experience working from home with a sick toddler, the virtual background just invites a really fun game where they move their head back and forth so it shows up and then disappears and then shows up and then disappears. Over and over and over again.

      1. Free Meerkats*

        We had a supervisor using a virtual background during a managers’ meeting and it decided the hard hat on a shelf was him. So we spent the entire meeting with a talking hard hat.

        1. Essess*

          Reminds me of the story of a manager during lockdown that accidentally triggered the ‘potato’ filter and couldn’t undo it and was stuck doing the entire meeting as a potato.

    2. KateM*

      It wouldn’t have helped in this case, but true, next time dog could be vomiting where interviewer could see it.

    3. Just Another Tired US Fed*

      I know virtual backgrounds are not perfect, and can be distracting in their own right. I personally don’t care for them, but wanted to offer something that would perhaps help LW. I wish them the best!

  9. MicroManagered*

    I did explain up front to the interviewers that my child was sick and at home with me unexpectedly

    I answered the questions appropriately and thoroughly despite the disruption, but I am sure I came off as completely frazzled

    follow up with an email reiterating that these were unusual circumstances for me and that I really feel that this position is a good fit

    OP I manage an all-remote team and am currently hiring a new person, so I’m up to my eyeballs in resumes and interviews… These 3 things together (and it’s important that it’s truly ALL 3 of them) could actually show you are a GOOD candidate who knows how to deal with the unexpected but still has an understanding of professional norms and expectations. If we assume your answers were as solid as you describe, it sounds like this went better than you think.

    Fingers crossed for you!

    1. RunShaker*

      I’m thinking along the same lines. LW is able to take unexpected work things in stride & when as needed power through the tough times. My fingers are crossed and I’m cheering for you!

    2. Lulu*

      I agree! I was just doing interviews last week, and when someone had technical difficulties it didn’t bother me because part of what I’m assessing is your ability to deal with technical difficulties. So if I see things getting thrown at you, and you’re handling them capably, all the better. (Unfortunately our candidate was dealing with tech troubles having to do with having his computer charged (and then his phone charged), which really should’ve been dealt with as part of the interview prep… that didn’t come off so well.)

    3. Smithy*

      Yes, I agree that very often it’s those combinations that either mitigate or devestate how situations are perceived. I was recently part of a video interview for a position that is externally facing – but not where the “camera ready” expectations are social media nfluencer level. So the fact that this person’s camera angle, lighting and video quality wasn’t good, wasn’t great but I was still inclined to give the benefit of the doubt.

      However, part of this interview was to prepare a slide show to accompany a presentation, and they didn’t prepare the slide show. So instead of a presentation paired with slides, we just got a monologue on the topic. Again, I’m not here to write off someone’s interview for their camera angles even if the choice is one I’d probably correct from a direct report (think only seeing the top 80% of the face, with the mouth going in and out of view). But when you pair it with other concerns, it creates a larger worry.

      On the slip side, for mitigating factors – combined professional follow-up will help balance out disruptions. And while no one ever wants to hear it, if you’re interviewing somewhere that writes you off 100% because of that….it’s also probably not a great sign.

  10. Phony Genius*

    A good interviewer who sees all this going on, if their schedule is flexible enough, should offer to reschedule the interview for some time in the immediate future. (If the schedule is too tight or the candidate declines to reschedule, then so be it and just do the best you can with it.)

  11. Falling Diphthong*

    Zoom, and I think other video conferencing tools, often have pretty sophisticated “amplify what the person talking into the microphone says, remove background noise” algorithms. To the extent that noises you want to add (e.g. background music from a speaker) get removed. So it’s possible that the pet vomiting passed unnoted.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I also have a headset with a microphone that’s really good at that. Which is extremely fortunate because since a month or so before the start of the pandemic I’ve had a very active construction site right outside the window by my desk.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        omg, really? For the last 3 years? You poor thing! I thought things were bad here, where the house next door has been getting repainted for even longer, but the noisy days are infrequent. (The scaffolding and mesh curtains went up and blocked my morning sunlight, and every few months the workers come out for a week or so. Recently there was a big push and the whole thing is now a lovely color … except the front, which hasn’t been touched. I am not exaggerating: the whole thing started summer of 2019.)

        1. Wendy Darling*

          Yeah, they tore down the existing building (loud), tore up some parking lots (LOUD), and built a whole-ass apartment building out there! They’re almost finished outside now, finally, which just means that instead of power tools the noise is them pumping planting soil onto the second-floor patio (surprisingly loud!) and testing the fire alarm system by just letting it blare for 6 hours.

          My suffering is almost over and I’ve been parlaying it into rent reductions for the last few years, so there’s that.

  12. MyDogIsCalledBradleyPooper*

    Oh no, I hope a some point you can laugh at this with your new co-workers over coffee sometime. I would send in a short note thanking them for the opportunity and include something about the bad timing and chaos and apologize if it was distracting. Sometimes how you deal with situations like this can provide an advantage.

    I was interviewing a candidate from out of town and had her scheduled to meet with various people throughout the day. We stepped out for lunch at a local coffee shop and when we got the bill I realized I left my wallet in my desk. I was embarrassed, she grabbed the bill and said this one is on me with a chuckle. Seeing how calm and easygoing she was in minor disruption put her to the top of my list. She could have reacted poorly as there was no expectation that she would be paying for lunch. I would tease her on her work anniversary that its customary for her to buy me lunch.

    1. Phony Genius*

      If I may ask, how quickly did you reimburse her? Because any place I have ever worked would not consider it a joke for a candidate to pay for their own job interview. Even under those circumstances, I would have to send the reimbursement the same day (and make it clear before she pays that she’ll be fully reimbursed).

      1. Properlike*

        I’ve noticed a trend of funny anecdotes being followed up by questions (and assumptions) that the sharer/OP/LW of said anecdote has somehow acted badly.

        Can we all promise to assume competence from here on out unless incompetence is directly stated?

        Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

        1. Just stopping by*

          Agreed +100. Why is everyone looking for a “gotcha” these days? By and large the commentariat here is solid. Why immediately pounce assuming it’s a bad actor?

      2. DisgruntledPelican*

        No places you’ve worked could humorously acknowledge an innocent and easily rectified mistake an entire year after it happened? Those are not places I could work.

  13. Wendy Darling*

    I used to work in a pet-friendly office and brought my very polite little dog to work with me every day. We weren’t supposed to bring animals into conference rooms, but people were pretty whatever about smuggling them into the little 2-person phone rooms anyway. But I’m a rule-follower so I never brought my dog into them.

    One day I got stuck in traffic and was running late for a Very Important Phone Meeting. I didn’t want to take the time to stop off at my desk, so I JUST THIS ONCE brought my dog into the little phone room with me to take this one meeting.

    And so of course halfway through the meeting I hear HORK and look down and he’s puked on the carpet. That was, of course, the ONLY time he ever threw up at work. I had to finish my meeting next to a pile of dog vomit and then dash to my desk to get cleaning supplies and clean up after him. Luckily I was so paranoidly over(?)prepared that I had enzymatic carpet cleaner at my desk…

  14. ICodeForFood*

    Best of luck to you, LW… and we DO need an update! My fingers are crossed that your update will be “I got the job!’

  15. Dona Florinda*

    Oh, no! Yeah, being a remote position, you really should try and explain that your house is not usually like this.

    But if the interview part of your interview went well, it’s a good sign. My situation wasn’t quite that extreme, but I even wrote to Friday Good News about being interviewed soaking wet because I was caught in a storm (hair dripping and all) and still got the job, so just assure them that no, whatever happened was not normal, and hope your work and skills will speak for themselves. Good luck!

  16. Fluffy Fish*

    OP you are human and sometimes despite our best efforts out human failings happen. A good employer will absolutely know this, and yes especially with that follow up email, not hold it against you.

    1. Sabine the Very Mean*

      On the contrary, I’d actually kind of get a kick out of it and I would like not think this was a person’s normal. I’d love a funny sort of self-depreciation (okay not that far) note from this candidate. “As you can tell, I’m able to navigate emergent issues and dog mess without missing a beat.”

  17. TypityTypeType*

    I hope you get that job, LW! I bet a followup note acknowledging that no, this wasn’t normal will reassure the interviewers.

    (Reminds me of when I bought a set of tires for my car, and about a block from the store, the right front tire fell off and bounced away. When I called the store, they were oddly unmoved. “A tire you guys just installed fell off! In traffic!” “Oh, sure, OK. We’ll come pick you up.” I wouldn’t want anyone to panic, of course, but the effect of their eerie calm was to suggest that this happens all the time and they’ve gotten used to it.)

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Oh man, I have experienced the same kind of attitude from service providers when weird things happen, and their over-chill reactions make me wonder the exact same thing. I feel much more reassured about their quality or reliability when someone acknowledges how unusual/inappropriate/unfortunate the incident is – and then calmly handles it.

  18. François Caron*

    I would recommend sending the potential employer a link to this page! It couldn’t get any worse!

  19. PsychNurse*

    All I can say is that you have all of our sympathies, and someday– maybe when your child is 19– this story will seem funny. Whether you get the job and it’s perfect, or you have an amazing “I missed my dream job because of this disaster,” you will come to see it as one of those classic nightmarish situations that binds us all as humans.

    1. The Eye of Argon*

      Some day down the road when someone she knows is bummed out because an interview went poorly, she can talk about that time when Junior was sick at home and kept distracting her and the dog kept throwing up during the interview.

      Hopefully she’ll get the job and it will be a “don’t give up hope just because the interview was a 3-ring circus.” But it’ll still work as a “well, at least my interview wasn’t THAT bad!” story.

  20. ferrina*

    I am sure I came off as completely frazzled

    Are you sure? Often we can be terrible judges of how we come across to other people. I worked with someone who would go through the WORST day and somehow come across as cool and competent (even while she openly said her internal voice was screaming cuss words). On the flip side, I worked with another person who would become instantly unreliable as soon as anything went wrong in her personal life. She would have described herself as very competent.

    May just have to do your best from here forward and see how this plays out.

    1. Maglev No Longer to Crazytown*

      Absolutely this. I applied and had a remote interview for a dream job. I had been fighting some sinus gunk for a few days but had negative COVID tests (so far). I felt like I struggled to string basic words together during the interview, much less show mastery of complex technical concepts required for the job. I felt completely unintelligible. And physically worse after the interview, and ended up going to bed early that afternoon. And the next day woke up in the morning unable to get out of bed due to shaking, wobbling, and wooziness, called in sick and went back to bed for another 24 hrs. At which point when I got up, I tested highly positive for COVID. I beat myself up horribly after I recovered at how I threw that interview down the toilet, because the only things I remembered was that I was completely delirious, and make the lead interviewer almost cry at one point with MY follow-up questions.

      I am currently working at this job, loving it, and cringe whenever I cross paths with my interviewers (they were hiring managers but not the team I work with routinely). I am secretly horrified every day with the vague memory of the interview from hell.

      1. Alanna*

        This is reminding me that in an interview very early in my career, I had a bad cold the night before, took some kind of NyQuil-esque “please just let me stop blowing my nose and sleep” pill, slept straight through my alarm, and was still in a deep slumber when the phone rang.

        I somehow pulled it together, fought through the metric ton of mucus still in my head, and got the job, maybe because my in-person interview a few weeks later went much, much better?

  21. Spicy Tuna*

    My sympathies to the poster and I sincerely hope that her good record of work with this company and the fact that she is a good fit for the skills will overpower the temporary chaos.

    I once had an interview at my dream company, scheduled for 9/11/2001. It was cancelled, for obvious reasons. A few months later, the company called me back to reschedule the interview. En route to the interview, someone ran a red light and t-boned me. This was before EVERYONE had cell phones, so by the time I was able to contact the company to let them know what happened, it was 5 minutes past my interview time. They rescheduled for a third time and I had to cancel because I had a seizure the night before and concussed myself when I hit the floor. I had never had a seizure before and never had one again. When I finally had the interview, I did poorly, didn’t vibe with my interviewer and didn’t get the job. The rejection letter they sent me came from some random person in the department that I hadn’t interviewed with and was riddled with typos and misspellings. I overcame the urge to send it back with corrections in red pen and regretfully accepted that I was never going to get a job at this company.

    1. allathian*

      Oh wow.

      On 9/11/2001 I had arrived about 10 minutes early for an interview. I sat in the foyer of the office building where they had a TV tuned to a news channel, it may even have been CNN. They were showing reruns of the planes hitting WTC when they interrupted the reruns to show live pictures of the collapse of the first building. This was an interview for a second shift job and in the afternoon my time. I got the job, even if I remember nothing from that interview because I was so shocked by what had happened. After the interview was over, I stayed for about 10 minutes more in the foyer to watch the most recent updates before heading home. (I had a cellphone, but it was a dumb Nokia, and I could basically call, text, and play Snake on it.)

      1. NotRealAnonforThis*

        Those dumb Nokias were about the height of 2001 though. I’d completely forgotten about Snake!

  22. Lcsa99*

    I just have to say you’re my hero for dealing with this with such a cool head and taking it in stride. Interviews are so stressful and to deal with all of that on top of it? I am in awe.

  23. Pandemic parent*

    Just commenting as a fellow mom to a 2.5 year old (aka a spring 2020 baby aka the WHAT TO EXPECT DID NOT COVER THIS microgeneration) to express solidarity. We have been THROUGH some stuff, and you are a rock star for handling this interview without running screaming.

    1. Yoyoyo*

      SAME. Reading this, I was thinking that I probably wouldn’t have even thought to reschedule the interview either. I’ve had to get so used to just handling whatever the crisis of the day/week is without any help and without having slept (my 2-year-old is in a very rough sleep patch) that I just run with it. I haven’t been firing on all cylinders lately so it wouldn’t even occur to me that the interview could be rescheduled…just another thing to get done under extraordinary circumstances.

      1. All Het Up About It*

        Hindsight is always 20/20, so now of course it seems obvious attempting reschedule would have been a good idea. But as others have said above, the interviewer(s) could have made that offer when the call started or if things were very rough. That they didn’t means either 1) that things were not nearly as bad as the OP thinks and/or 2) they didn’t think of it either, so they won’t judge the OP for it.

      2. MsSolo UK*

        Yeah, if I wanted a full night’s sleep before an interview, I’d either have to book a hotel room or constantly reschedule until we hit the one night every two months she actually sleeps through (we’ve already had this month’s sleep and I’ve got an interview next week, so c’est la vie!)

    2. Dog Vom Mom*

      LW here! Thank you for this validation. I am so accustomed to zoom meetings with my kid on my lap being an absolute norm in my life that I thought it wouldn’t be a worst-case scenario if it happened (ha!). I found out later one of the interviewers has a toddler as well, so I don’t think that part was as bad as I feared. Sadly, I did not get the job, but after two follow-up emails, I don’t think it was my interview that did me in.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Fantastic username!

        Don’t know the sector you work in, but we deal heavily in problem solving and someone encountering an issue out of their control in an interview and keeping going? I’d actually raise them higher in my estimation.

  24. ABCYaBYE*

    LW, I’m so sorry this happened. It sounds like the imperfect storm, but it sounds like you handled it beautifully. I was on the other side of this situation not that long ago, minus the dog getting sick. The candidate that we were interviewing apologized at the start because she had her young, sick child at home with her and had to do that because her partner was out of town for work. A couple of times during the interview, we had to pause so she could address the child, and you know what… it was a great interview. She handled it gracefully, as it sounds like you did too, and in spite of the challenges she faced, we walked away from the interview feeling like she was a great candidate. I’d second Alison’s advice to send a note, but wouldn’t dwell on it. Dealing with that imperfect storm hopefully shows the interviewers your grace under fire and they probably have given it much less thought than you have.

  25. Ellis Bell*

    Oh, gosh OP. It sounds like too much of a funny set of coincidences for anyone to jump to assumptions that it’s like that every day; particularly if you acknowledge the perfect storm of it all. For me it was when you said “..all the while my child is asking, “What’s that? What is the dog doing?” This is both hilarious and clearly indicative that this was not the normal work day for you!

    1. ferrina*

      This actually is indicative of some people’s not abnormal. I worked with someone who would regularly stop working because her childcare stopped working. And her childcare would fall through a several times a month. And her kids were in elementary school. And she wasn’t a great employee to begin with. She just expected other people to work around her life.

      I was pretty darn flexible, but it quickly got to the point where all of her coworkers were regularly covering her work with no change in sight.
      LW doesn’t strike me like this person, but these people are out there.

  26. MCMonkeyBean*

    Maybe I just don’t have enough experience with dogs but I feel like I have to disagree on the last point, just because of the use of the words “repeatedly” and “cycle.” To me that sounds like the dog vomited at least three times or more. If your pet just throws up and then moves on and goes about its business then sure deal with it later. If your pet is vomiting *repeatedly* then yes I think you should stop the interview and make sure they are okay!

    1. FisherCat*

      I feel like this is a know-your-pet-in-particular situation. My current canine companion would never do this, and if he was repeatedly vomming it would suggest he was quite ill. I had a yellow lab in a previous life who was an avid, ahem, recycler. He would absolutely do this and I wouldn’t be alarmed.

      1. irene adler*

        My dog, who is quite old, has periodic ‘spells’ where she exhibits signs of senility.
        They last up to about 2 days.
        And they always start with vomiting. Three times. With a period of time between each occurrence. We’re not done cleaning up until after the third go-round.

        And I know not to panic when these ‘spells’ happen.

        Side note: In case anyone has concerns: Her vet is thoroughly aware of this.
        (And I am following his instructions when these ‘spells’ occur: make sure she remains hydrated. Offer food if she wants it. And keep her in restricted area where she cannot cause harm to herself.)

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Not limited to Labs – my parents had a Keeshond (that I’m still convinced thirty years later was part goat – this dog ate any and Everything vaguely edible) that would also do this.

        Yeah, it was super gross. And it’s also a know your dog thing.

    2. Anonychick*

      It sounded to me like the reason the dog kept vomiting was that he kept eating the…nope, you know what, I’m done typing that word! It’s starting to make ME nauseated! But anyway, I got the feeling the “cycle” was “dog does the icky thing” —> “dog eats the result” —> “eating the result causes the dog to do the icky thing again” —> this is the song that doesn’t ennnnnd….

    3. ecnaseener*

      That was my thought as well, as an interviewer I’d hate to think a candidate was letting that happen for fear I’d judge them for taking 2 minutes to deal with it!

      Especially if it was on a rug. I’d feel so bad for you sitting there watching the stain set!

    4. Modesty Poncho*

      Yeah, this is the only thing for me, and I grew up with a dog. If you have the kind of dog who will eat their own puke and puke it back up, I’d 100% pause the interview to get the problem a permanent stop. If the dog were leaving it alone, I’d agree with leaving it to clean up afterward.

      Relevant Hyperbole and a Half in name.

    5. Dog Vom Mom*

      LW here. The dog was fine. The problem was he kept re-eating the thing that was making him sick. Once I was able to separate him from the… situation… the cycle stopped.

  27. ShysterB*

    Hand on my heart, and swear to god, five seconds after I started reading this post, my dog stopped next to my chair at the dining room table, looked up at me, and then horked at my feet.

    Fortunately, I was not on a video conference. By the time I got back from fetching cleaning supplies, she had cleaned up the mess and was pretending it never happened.

    1. Turtlewings*

      The one and only time my late beloved dog bit me, she was sick out of her mind with pancreatitis and furious that I was physically restraining her from eating her vomit. (AGAIN.) Dogs are freaking weird.

      1. Not like a regular teacher*

        Since getting a kitten last year, I never have to clean up my older cat’s barf anymore because the younger one “takes care of it” for me! Ew, but also, thanks?

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          My older dog is weird and fastidious and is SUPER grossed out by all the gross things that normal dogs eat, but the puppy can hear the cat barfing two floors away and BOOKS to the nearest gate blocking her way to hope that someone will let her go help clean it up.

  28. anonarama*

    I’m so sorry. In the spirit of commiseration at one point in the pandemic, my son walked into my office while I was leading a training of 100+ people and projectile vomited all over me/my office. These things happen all we can do is move forward

  29. Properlike*

    I’m curious where this might fall on the “Ask a Manager Condoms Scale of Embarrassing Interviews?”

    1. Bookmark*

      Yes! I was going to suggest the LW look up that letter and its happy ending update to help with cultivating a sense of hope that this may end up a funny story someday.

  30. learnedthehardway*

    OH wow – I hope that your interviewer(s) have the experience to understand that you performed under a LOT of pressure and make allowances for that.

    I interviewed someone in the past few months who had 4 kids at home with the flu – ranging from 2 to 10 yrs old. He managed to make it through and got the offer, so there’s hope!

  31. irene adler*

    It happens both ways.

    I was being interviewed when the interviewer’s dog started barking. Loud and long. Not to the point where we could not hear one another. Made me smile! I liked hearing that.

    (dog never appeared on camera so I assume it was in another room)

    Interviewer was so very apologetic. I could tell she was fighting the urge to go to the dog and quiet it. I assured her it was okay by me to just let dog bark -if she thought the dog was not in any sort of trouble. He wasn’t.

    And we finished the interview. I think she felt like this interview was less than professional because of the dog. I thought it made her seem more relatable and easier for me to talk to.

  32. Suz*

    LW, I’m sorry this happened to you. I can sympathize. Just today my dog barfed while I was in a meeting. Then my other dog proceeded to step in it and track it across the room.

  33. Popsicle Debacle*

    This is not at all as serious as the OP’s interview but I’ll share my story of the time my son ate all the popsicles while I was on an important phone call trying to sort out immigration stuff with my spouse’s new boss/department.

    First, wishing you all the best OP! I hope you can update us with good news very soon!

    When my son was a toddler and I was a SAHM, we were living in Europe but working toward returning to the US. My husband got a job as a professor (yay!), but there were visa complications. He was not a US citizen, and we had already started the emigration process as a married couple. Professor jobs start promptly, and we had only a month to get it done AND the married couple immigration stuff conflicted with the visiting professor stuff, so we had lots of phone calls with the university where he would be working, with politicians in the new state, and with immigration folks.

    I was on one call for a long time (landline so a cord and limited mobility), and our 2.5-year-old just could not. I desperately wanted to keep him quiet both to get the info I needed and to avoid whining child sounds that I feared would make the university give up on us (it was very complicated and difficult to sort out the VISA). And I could not move very far to find things to entertain him. He figured out how to get a chair over to the fridge, open the top freezer door, and get a popsicle out. He could not open it, so he brought it to me to open. I did. Big grin from him! And he did it again. And again! All the while grinning from ear to ear because he knew he was not supposed to do that. He ate the whole box!

    1. All Het Up About It*

      Thank you for sharing this amazing popsicle story!

      OP – Good luck, and I think that most likely it is not as bad as you fear. My first and only Zoom interview, I had connectivity issues, and then when they asked if I was on Wi-Fi, I said I didn’t know. (What?!?! I absolutely knew I was on wi-fi!) I beat myself up about my response, and that I hadn’t tested the connection and did I answer the questions wrong because I didn’t ask them to repeat themselves when maybe I should….and then got the job offer within 48 hours so give yourself grace, because many people will give you the same.

  34. ecnaseener*

    I don’t know what it is about the phrase “your lateness/mustard isn’t an aberration for you” but it cracks me up!

  35. irritable vowel*

    I think if this had happened pre-pandemic, your interviewers might have been a lot less understanding, but now? Everyone gets it. Remember that guy who was interrupted by his toddler while being interviewed live on air for the BBC, and it was an international sensation? That’s just everyday life for so, so many people these days. Good luck with the job!

  36. Ho-ho-holey hose*

    Oh that sounds so rough, but also I’d say that everyone has become so much more used to unfortunate chaos days as a result of the pandemic. We have all been there when a co-worker had a last minute childcare issue and is trying to balance a toddler while running a meeting…I think if you explain you will get much more sympathy and understanding than in the past.

  37. Miranda*

    Storytime: I had been job-searching for a few months after grad school after getting fired from my first “big girl” job with a toxic boss (who probably discriminated against me due to my neurodiversity, but that’s another story). I had scheduled a phone interview for a job, but the day before my father was hospitalized (I lived with my parents) and I completely forgot about the interview. The interviewers called me in the middle of lunch and I had to rush home to do the interview with no prep. I just looked back and I don’t think I even apologized for getting the time wrong in my thank-you note for them.
    I got a second interview, and later, the job. These things happen. If it’s a good place to work, they will understand.

  38. LemonBarFanatic*

    OP, I feel you. When my youngest was a toddler, she chose to strip off her diaper and poop in my office once while I was in a video call with several people. Thankfully the pooping was off-camera, but she did run into the frame naked for a brief moment. On another call, where I was conducting an interview, said child ran into my office and climbed on my lap wearing nothing but her diaper. I tried to shoo her away, but even with the background blur on, she still managed to wriggle her way in. The person I was interviewing thought she was adorable, though. :)

    I would just include a mention of the situation in a thank-you email, like Allison suggested. Nothing long, just a quick “sorry for the chaos, not my normal environment.” We’re all people, we all have life stuff happen. And since you are already working at that company and won the award, that will go a long way. Best of luck to you!

  39. Caroline*

    Oh no!! What a nightmare, I’m so sorry.

    The fact that you explained upfront what was going on does help. Today I did some work that involved working through a witness statement in a very, very serious case, where the lawyer conducting the interview via Zoom somehow didn’t feel that their whining, fretting, barking dogs, dogs who barked and played with very squeaky toys, leading to random interjections and regular circling back to try and find their place with what they were speaking to the witness about, was a problem, and my main frustration and real stabbiness was on account of the obliviousness on the part of the lawyer, who seemed… amused?

    You were not oblivious and you did your best within the situation. Sure, it’s not ideal, sure, maybe you’d do differently if you had another opportunity, but the acknowledgement and apology go a long way, imo.

  40. Skye*

    Apologies for going off topic! But can anyone clarify the typical formatting structure of AAM posts? Sometimes they’re in italics, which is quite difficult for me to read, and other times they are blockquoted. Do certain types of letters facilitate a certain format?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They used to all be italicized but after a site redesign a few months ago I switched them* to blockquotes based on reader feedback. This one shouldn’t have been italicized — muscle memory on my part, I’m guessing — and I’ve fixed it!

      * The switch was only for posts from that point forward, not for posts from before to that point (since changing 15 years worth of posts one by one would be a massive undertaking).

  41. A Program Manager*

    Oof, been there with the sick dog scenario. It was out of frame of video, but my aging dog took a nice dump on the carpet directly behind me during a vendor meeting. It happens. Good luck with the interviews!

  42. Hacking cat momma*

    I disagree about ignoring the pet puking. My cat did the same thing during my final interview with the CEO, and it’s hard to ignore! The interviewer immediately noticed the horror on my face, and i asked for 1 min to deal with it. I just put her in the bathroom, explained what happened and was able to continue the interview with collected thoughts, not distracted by hacking and worrying if i look distracted by said hacking.

    As the interviewer, unless you can be stone faced and collected, I’d also prefer to know how you handle unexpected crises! Staying calm, dealing with the problem, and moving on are all solid responses. Probably a lesson there in reading your interviewer, too, but a quick “sorry about that, i needed to move my cat/dog” would suffice in all but the most rigid environments.

  43. bamcheeks*

    During the full lockdown part of the pandemic— no school or childcare at all— I was CONDUCTING an interview and my 2yo escaped my partner and wandered into my office, with no nappy or bottoms on, and simply POOED ON THE FLOOR. Never happened before or since. We were audio only— I can’t remember why, I think one of us was having internet problems, so I only had to keep the horror out of my voice and not off my face too.

  44. BellyButton*

    OMG, Poor LW! This is one of those things that wakes you up at 2:00 in the morning and you can never forget.

    I was once on a Zoom interview when some dogs got onto my property and started killing my chickens. I ripped off my headphones and ran outside without saying anything or excusing myself. They weren’t there when I got back, and despite sending a heartfelt apology email I never heard from them again.

  45. ResuMAYDAY*

    Tell them that if you get this job, your next humorous company story will be the behind-the-scenes description of this interview!

  46. New Mom*

    OP I’m so sorry! As a fellow toddler mom who is on the job hunt, I feel you. We are in a club.

    I had a job application disaster a few weeks ago. I have a toddler and a newborn so it literally took me two weeks of 30-60 minute increments to fill out the extensive application and I decided I was going to submit one morning so I woke up early to finish and double check everything and my toddler ended up having a rough morning so the time I had set aside for working was spent with toddler as I sent ESP daggers at my husband to “take him to daycare NOW!” And when they finally left my newborn started crying through the baby monitor. I was so flustered that I quickly submitted my documents (there were like 6) and then I immediately realized I had forgotten to include one of the documents.
    I scrambled to find an email since the application was through a third party. I explained I had forgotten one attachment and then sent it. Then…I noticed I had saved two different cover letters with almost identical names (newborn mom brain?) and of course I had sent the earlier, incomplete version that literally said [insert stats here] and I just burst into tears. I had wasted all that time and not surprisingly, no one even responded to my application.

  47. Steph*

    I’m so sorry, OP! In the company I work for now, hiring committees are told NOT to hold any Zoom-related shenanigans against candidates, so maybe the people interviewing you have the same policy? I really hope so! And my guess is that you probably seemed much more put-together than you felt. Crossing fingers for you!

  48. Lyngend (Canada)*

    The LW reminds me of the trouble I had interviewing. I couldn’t connect with [zoom/teams?] either through the app, browser, or phone connection on my cell phone. Ended up being a 3 way call. I apologized for the tech issues, and I got the job. I even got hired at a higher salary band then the starting rate.

  49. Cmac*

    In the early days of COVID lockdowns, I was on a call (cameras off) with our CMO and our Executive Director. My cat started puking RIGHT next to me accompanied by a long, loud series of gagging sounds. I could tell the execs on the line could hear, because they kind of stopped speaking mid-sentence. I had to explain that sorry-sorry-sorry, my cat’s vomiting at the moment. Sorry about that. Um. Okay, let’s move on.

    1. Relentlessly Socratic*

      I was on a call with my CMO–cameras on. My cat jumps up on the desk to visit the call, as he is wont to do, then cuddles down on the desk below the camera level. Usually he takes a nap knowing that I am a captive audience.

      He then decides to do a HECKIN’ CHOMP on my hand while I’m talking with said CMO. My poker-face could not stand up to that!

  50. Mamacita is loco*

    I lost my job as a result of COVId cuts in 2020. I interviewed for a remote, part-time position in March 2021. I was running on fumes and utterly defeated at not finding new employment. My mortgage was past due, credit card bills were piling, you get the picture. Of course, my child was out of school because everything was virtual.

    I made my daughter lunch and told her it would be punishable by death (not really) if she was to enter my room during my interview. The interview starts without a hitch, but then I hear the door crack open. My daughter comes in with her food and asks if she can say hi (at that point and time, zoom seemed like her very own reality show). I excused myself and asked her to go out of the room. But the door never latched again because then came the parade of jumping pets followed by daughter acting as either a cat, dog, or a goat. I was mortified, and I surely thought that was it.

    March 2023, I’ll be with them 2 years. They felt I was authentic, and they said that COVId definitely taught them to be more empathetic. There is hope!!!

  51. Dog Vom Mom*

    Hi! LW with my update: I immediately followed up per Alison’s advice. I also told my supervisor the story, partly to commiserate and partly to see if she had heard anything about my interview being horrible, which she said she had not. Sadly they did not hire me for the position. I actually followed up a second time because I know that the department I interviewed for plans to hire for that same position again in the not-too-distant future and I would still like to be considered. I again apologized for the hectic interview (still didn’t mention the dog vomit) and asked if there was anything I needed to work on to be considered again. They told me, “don’t doubt yourself,” and encouraged me to apply as more positions open. I think that some other factors came in to play, the major one being that I haven’t even been with this company for a year. So hopefully everyone is being honest with me – and I have no reason to think they aren’t, it’s just that this experience has really shaken me – and I can snag this position next time around. And next time I see anyone from that department in person I am absolutely going to tell them what happened during my interview because I think they will be entertained.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      OP, we are rooting for you! I hope you are able to give compassion to the part of you that feels so shaken!

  52. Ahdez*

    I have learned that Zoom is actually better at filtering background noise than I expect. My kid walked up to me while I was on a video call and loudly announced she was pooping. Even though no one visibly reacted, I felt like I had to acknowledge it, but once I did, everyone said they hadn’t heard what was said! That was almost more awkward for me…

  53. WorkingMom*

    LW, I really hope you get the job. Alison’s advice is great. However, I hope after this you seriously reconsider your support system. Aside from paid/professional options like baby sitters. Where was the kid’s father?? Do you have family in the area? any friend who could come help? I suppose you told them you had a job interview when you asked them to help you with childcare…and they still said “no”?! Also, it seems this was barely a 30-minutes commitment, seriously nobody could come help (first of all, the father)? It’s really shitty from them…aaaand people being this shitty to working mothers is the real problem here.

    1. The Eye of Argon*

      That seems a little harsh. The OP could be a single mother. We don’t know if she has family in the area who would be available during working hours, ditto friends. Sitters might not want to take a sick child, especially at the last minute. She might not have wanted someone else coming in the home to be exposed to Kiddo’s germs, or bring in their own germs to spread around.

      Working parents definitely have a tough row to hoe these days, but it seems like this was more a combination of bad luck and bad timing rather than deliberate shittiness.

  54. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I’ve had interviews run by me where my cat has decided to barf on the floor loudly and all I could do is facepalm and go ‘sorry, that’s the cat’.

    Interviewees I’ve had? Well I’ve seen plenty of cat butts, heard children (siblings?) fighting in the background, loud construction noises in the background..basically as long as you acknowledge it and apologise it’s actually ok.

    As long as you’re not puking yourself (please reschedule interviews if you’re feeling sick), are missing items of necessary clothing or doing rude things yourself you’re fine!

    (And on related note, I’m on a Teams call and the cat is doing the barf yodels today…)

    1. Wendy Darling*

      Pre-pandemic I used to petsit for my parents every few months and every time I was on a Teams call my dog and their dog took it as their cue to play-fight at top volume, ideally with a very loud squeaky toy in the middle of it, either in or immediately outside the tiny room I worked in. But if I closed the door, they both immediately stopped what they were doing and sad-faced at me through the glass door. I’m pretty sure they just wanted to feel included…

  55. Somehow_I_Manage*

    “it’s just routine pet vomit, let it go and deal with it later”

    The sound advice we need in these times. May we all identify and sidestep the pet vomit in our lives.

  56. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    How OP did it I’ll never know because me, my Wi-Fi would have “gone out” right in the middle of all that.

    Interviewers are going to have to just…understand sometimes. I have a large dog and he spotted a cat out the window during a zoom staff meeting once, then my bosses and colleagues wanted to see what was going on out the window. So I had to show them. Different scenario of course, and when you panic trying to find mute, you lose.

    I’m with others who have commented above, if you yourself aren’t sick, no one walks behind you naked, YOU’RE not naked, other stuff behind the scenes ain’t so bad.

  57. GrapefruitKitten*

    This reminds me of the time that I sat down to take an online test in college (with tight timing) and my cat proceeded to throw up ON my desk.

    Pets: good thing they’re cute

  58. David's Skirt-Pants*

    Hiring manager’s perspective here (and I realize others’ mileage will vary): I love kids and pets–they are *the best* thing about Teams/Zoom interviews. Kids also get sick and interrupt (even when well!) so this would not faze me. Even the dog-throwing-up thing. Life happens. My dog snored all the way through the interview I held this morning and she’s snoring now. I’ve been told it isn’t audible on camera; I guess I’m hoping for the best?

    I really hope we get an update. Fingers crossed for you!

  59. TrixieD*

    I was wondering if anyone else had ever been through something like me–guess the answer is yes.
    In April of 2017, I had a phone interview one morning at 10 a.m. I let the dog out on the deck and completed a few tasks. When I went to let the dog in, he was nowhere to be found–my son had inadvertently left the gate open that morning, so our Golden Retriever/Chow mix, Buddy, had a carpe diem moment and took off. He was gone for 45 minutes, and when he came back, he was covered in mud and muck and filth and was literally dragging tree branches by his tail. I have never seen a more filthy dog in my life. It was almost 10 a.m., and I didn’t have time to deal with him, so I put him in the kitchen, and pulled the baby gate closed so he would stay confined while I was on the phone interview. He knew he was in trouble though, and proceeded to bark and whine and try to jump the gate. I kept telling him to sit and stay and be quiet, and sure enough, the phone rang. Time for my interview. In desperation, I let Buddy lay by my feet at the kitchen table. With one foot on top of his filthy soaked fur, and a chair over his head to keep him from bolting, I began the interview…and that’s when my bird, Carrington, decided it was time for The Carrington Show. The minute my phone rang, he started yelling, “Hello! Hello! Hello!” I had to keep muting the phone to tell him to be quiet, and the second I would unmute it, the bird would yell, “Buddy SIT! Buddy STAY! BAD DOG! BAD DOG!” I couldn’t move the bird. I couldn’t move the dog. I couldn’t move myself. I was totally trapped, and tried to sound engaged and intelligent while my dog created a puddle of muck beneath my feet, and the bird performed a monologue of Carrington’s Greatest Hits behind me. He yelled for the kids, imitated the beep of the microwave when it’s done cooking and made the sound of the garbage truck when it’s backing up. At one point, the dog tried to slither out from underneath my feet so he could go lay on my couch, and I had to holler at him and pin him back down again–which reminded Carrington that he had completed that portion of his monologue, so he started it all over. I would mute the phone, and yell, “Carrington! Shhhh!” In total defiance, the bird would yell back, “WHAT?!” I apologized to the interviewer, but I’m sure she thought I was conducting the call from a zoo, what with the cacophony that was going on behind me. Needless to say, the dog got the scrubbing of his life, the bird was in deep shit, I had to steam clean my floors, and, I’m happy to say, I GOT THE JOB.
    It will be six years in April. :)

  60. TeaCoziesRUs*

    OP, I am so very sorry for your experience and hope that the interviewers decide to give you a second chance! AND I am so incredibly grateful that you wrote in because the comment section has me howling and crying with laughter! I am bookmarking this for those days when nothing is going right, so I can read of cats reminding us that WE are really the pets, dogs reminding us they are eternal toddlers, and toddlers forgetting to pretend they’ve been taught manners. AAM’s commentariat is already my favorite on the Internet. This simply cements the status.

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