Paranoia (016 of 170)

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Paranoia
by Joseph Finder
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Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.


Part One: 7 (Cont'd)

If anyone had bothered to look closely at the org chart on the corporate Web site, they'd have noticed my title was now Director of Special Projects, Office of the CEO.

An electronic and paper trail was being created.

Judith turned back to me, continued as if Wyatt had never been there. "If you're hired by Trion, you're to arrive at your cube forty-five minutes early. Under no circumstances will you have a drink at lunch or after work. No happy hours, no cocktail parties, no 'hanging out' with 'friends' from work. No partying. If you have to attend a work-related party, drink club soda."

"You make it sound like I'm in AA."

"Getting drunk is a sign of weakness."

"Then I assume smoking's out of the question."

"Wrong," she said. "It's a filthy, disgusting habit, and it indicates a lack of self-control, but there are other considerations. Standing around in the smoking area is an excellent way to cross-pollinate, connect with people in different units, obtain useful intelligence. Now, about your handshake." She shook her head. "You blew it. Hiring decisions are made in the first five seconds—at the handshake. Anyone who tells you anything else is lying to you. You get the job with the handshake, and then the rest of the job interview you fight to keep it, to not lose it. Since I'm a woman, you went easy on me. Don't. Be firm, do it hard, and hold—"

I smiled impishly, cut in: "The last woman who told me that ..." I noticed she'd frozen in midsentence. "Sorry."

Now, head cocked kittenishly to one side, she smiled. "Thanks." A pause. "Hold the shake a second or two longer. Look me in the eye, and smile. Aim your heart at me. Let's do it again."

I stood up, shook Judith Bolton's hand again.

"Better," she said. "You're a natural. People meet you and think, there's something about this guy I like, I don't know what it is. You've got the chops." She looked at me appraisingly. "You broke your nose once?"

I nodded.

"Let me guess: playing football."

"Hockey, actually."

"It's cute. Are you an athlete, Adam?"

"I was." I sat down again.

She leaned forward toward me, her chin resting in a cupped hand, checking me out. "I can tell. It's in the way you walk, the way you carry your body. I like it. But you're not synchronizing."

"Excuse me?"

"You've got to synchronize. Mirror. I'm leaning forward, so you do the same. I lean back, you lean back. I cross my legs, you cross your legs. Watch the tilt of my head, and mimic me. Even synchronize your breathing with mine. Just be subtle, don't be blatant about it. This is how you connect with people on a subconscious level, make them feel comfortable with you. People like people who are like themselves. Are we clear?"

I grinned disarmingly, or what I thought was disarmingly, anyway.

"And another thing." She leaned in even closer until her face was a few inches away from mine. She whispered, "You're wearing too much aftershave."

My face burned with embarrassment.

"Let me guess: Drakkar Noir." She didn't wait for my answer, because she knew she was right. "Very high school stud. Bet it made the cheerleaders weak at the knees."




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