by Melinda Gallo

Il mio primo colloquio

I've been working as an independent web developer/designer for many years and have not considered working for a company as an employee. After we got our new apartment, the proprietario (owner) of our place wrote me an email to tell me that he spoke to a friend of his who is a partner in a web agency in Florence. He sent me his email and told me to contact another guy at his company for work.

Initially, I exchanged emails with one guy in the company right before Christmas. He wanted my curriculum (résumé), but because I was so overloaded with work, I just couldn't get it to him. I told him that I needed time to write it in English and then translate it. I couldn't remember the last time I prepared a curriculum for a company. As a freelancer, I haven't had a need for it, so I haven't been updating it.

Then, my proprietario's friend emailed me and told me to contact the guy again and just come in for a colloquio (interview) without translating my curriculum. It wasn't until he said that his office was near Piazza d'Azeglio that my attention was peaked. Piazza d'Azeglio is about a ten-minute walk from my apartment.

I emailed the first guy again and told him that I'd like to meet, but then last Friday the president of the Web agency emailed me and said he wanted my curriculum. After I sent it to him, he emailed me back and said he wanted to meet me first thing on Monday.

A little before noon, I walked to their office in the rain. I looked at the names outside, but didn't see the company's name. I walked down to the next building in case, but then came back. I walked down the walkway to the front door and opened it. When I saw a woman, I asked her if I was in the right place. She told me that they didn't have a waiting room, but that she was going to let me sit in the middle of their open office space. She showed me the stack of magazines that I could leaf through while I waited.

A minute or two later, she asked me what my name was and told the person on the other side of the phone. She stood up and escorted me to the person's office downstairs. When I arrived, one man was sitting behind a desk while the other one was standing next to an empty seat. It was a converted cantina (cellar).

We shook hands and I sat down. The presidente of the web agency talked to me about his company. He didn't ask me much about my curriculum, but instead asked me my age, if I was married and where I was from exactly. When I told him that I was brought up in the San Jose area, his face lit up. He told me that he went to the first Web conference in San Jose back in 1995 and from there he started his company.

I looked around the office as he was talking to me and noticed a half-naked woman on a pin-up poster behind his chair, and a calendar with a scantily dressed Teri Hatcher on the wall behind the other guy sitting next to me.

Before I came to the colloquio, my friends told me, "Non parlare di soldi durante il primo colloquio." (Don't talk about money during your first interview.) So, I was surprised when he brought up the subject. I hadn't understood until this point that they were looking for a dipendente (employee) and not someone to work on specific projects as a freelance.

They seemed to be interested in me because of my experience. They told me that they have people who each do only one part of my job, but no one who is capable of doing it all. They seem to really need people to come and work there that they are willing to have me work only half-days if I want. The presidente said that he also liked me because I was from his favorite Californian city, San Jose, and that I was a bella ragazza (pretty girl).

He threw out a number at me, which sounded reasonable, but I couldn't decide to work for them so quickly. I felt as if they wanted me to decide on the spot, but I wasn't ready at all. First of all, after so many years freelancing, my freedom is hard to give up.

On my walk back home, I kept thinking about my becoming a dipendente again. I'm a little undecided, but definitely intrigued.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!