to get a job?
Biking to a job interview today was a nine-mile ride to Woburn that took about an hour-about a half-hour less than it would have taken me to use public transporatation (not including wait time) Throughout my interview, I could see that the human resources woman’s lips remained pursed as I described my bike-safety advocacy efforts to her.
“that’s really great,” she said, “and while I don’t doubt your capabilities for the job, your biking concerns me..”
“Oh, really? How so?” I asked,
“..only because this job requires long hours, and I’m not so sure you’d want to be bike-commuting at night, or in the winter”
biking at night! I thought. It’s one of my favorite joys of biking. It’s when I get to look like a walking-traffic-cone; whipping out my blinding 1-watt PDW Radbot 1000, 900 Lumen Headlight, and slapping on my orange reflective construction-vest. Winters? Bring out the studded-tires, balaclavas, and ski-gloves! I’d be honored! But then she finished what she was saying:
“And I’m especially worried, because I grew up in Arizona, and the last experience I had riding a bicycle was in middle school. I was waving “hi” to a friend while riding around the block, and “BAM,” I got hit by a car. I’ve been afraid to ride a bicycle ever since.”
Oh no. I thought. She’s been scarred by biking for life, Also, that is why you always “Look both ways.”(I did not say this out loud)
What came next was my awkward attempt to sympathize with her bicycling misfortunes and try and convince her that just like cars, some accidents like her’s could have been avoided, even on a bicycle. But she wasn’t buying it. She squinted, and the interview ended shorty thereafter.
While it’s not the first time people I know have thought of me as “crazy” for commuting everywhere by bike, this is the first time I’ve run a problem in the job-hunt. While I understand how an employer would want to make sure employees have reliable forms of transportation, it’s surly unfortunate that for many people bicycles conjure up memories of a childhood “toy” or, in this case, a childhood nightmare, rather than a reliable form of transportation.
No, I’m not ready to compromise my moral integrity, but I do wonder how experiences like mine have affected the way other bike-commuters approach job interviews. Thoughts welcome.
On a more positive note, the weather today was outstanding, and I could not have chosen a better day to ride out to Woburn. I rode gloveless for the first time since October, and just a few weeks ago the blizzard we experienced
is melting into the muddy season: