4.p.m.: She sits across the desk from me, clearly nervous. I can't tell if she desperately wants the job or if she is uncomfortable being questioned. I ask the questions. She fiddles with her hands, takes a deep breath, blows it out, starts talking. Two minutes later I've stopped listening. She doesn't get the job.

6:30: He sits across the desk and asks the questions. I stretch my hands, take a deep breath. Ninety seconds later I know I'm not getting the job.

Alison KilpatrickBurtonsville

As I read "Life Is Short," I wonder what motivates the editors -- how they make their choices about what's published and what's not. Is it personal likes and dislikes? If there were different editors would the published stories be different? Maybe it's like life, especially life at work. A new boss takes over and there's a different direction, new emphasis and, of course, new favorites. Sometimes it doesn't make sense. Other times it's inane, idiosyncratic, curious, puzzling, touching, stupid. I guess that about sums up my life. I guess it works.

James M. MatayaAnnandale

Find a way to give insight into your life in under 100 words. Authors of selected entries will be notified and paid $100. Send text (accompanied by a home phone number) via e-mail (lifeisshort@washpost.com), fax (202-334-5587) or mail (Style, Life Is Short, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071).