I was going to write an entry about how I’m adapting to a new-old routine, which would playfully explain why I’ve been absent from blogging and also why I am currently in the throes of an existential crisis. But frankly, I’m tired of all that! Let’s have some fun.
I will, however, add that I think one of the reasons for my recent depression was a very poor diet. I decided to commemorate my leaving Astoria with a takeout extravaganza. This turned out to be less of a celebration and more what my stomach has been training for for the past 25 years. Since moving back to my parents’ house, I’ve been drinking water and eating salad like some human or something and it’s made all the difference in the world. Cheers to you, FDA. Make no mistake, folks, they ain’t lying.
Anyway, onto today’s topic. A lot of those closest to me are on the job hunt and, suffice it to say, they are finding it to be a grind. We all know the old paradox: you need experience to get a job, you need a job to get experience (plus, in today’s economy, some witchcraft and a rosary might help, just so you have all your bases covered…or do they cancel each other out? I should learn math). It took me two years after college to find a “real” job (the quotes are based on the somewhat misguided colloquialism that blue collar work isn’t real work and the fact that I don’t think my current job is that real). I had some admin experience by the time I got to this point through internships and the like, so it wasn’t hard for me to land the interview.
However, if you couldn’t guess where this was going so far, and if you’ve never met me or read anything on this blog, you might be surprised to learn that I do not interview well.
I’ve gotten better. You live and you learn. I read advice articles and whatnot. The funniest thing was that the number 1 piece of advice on most of these articles was “be yourself.” Over the course of my job search, I learned the best course of action was to most certainly not be myself. I am the person who will get the job done, but when most of these extroverted HR whackos interview you, they also want someone they can have fun in Vegas with. Hey, I could go to Vegas! Someone needs to hold everyone’s stuff.
Anywho, here are 5 times out of many when I walked out with a more than fair degree of certainty in my failure as an interviewee.
Where am I, again?
Interviewer: So, do you know what we do?
I had no idea.
This was part of a freak two-week period where I just had a marathon of interviews. I was tired from the 2-3 hour commute and from the essence of complete hopelessness that filled the air. So here I was at another agency possibly vaguely related to my career goals for a low-paying assistant position (or maybe it was a receptionist position?), not ready for anything other than another rejection.
She explained what they did. It turned out to be incredibly boring. But that doesn’t mean you should miss the lesson here, kids. Do your research.
I like to think, though, that since the interview was cut very short once it became obvious that this wasn’t my passion, the interviewer was able to use the extra time to accomplish amazing things.
Look Good, Feel Okay
I had landed an interview at a fashion firm (I hope you weren’t drinking anything as you read that, and if you were, I apologize for the spit take). I’m not a fashion person. I hate shopping. But this was one of the first positions I interviewed for that had any creative aspect to it whatsoever. So, I had dressed for what I thought might be success.
I walked into the conference room to meet my interviewer. He gave me the once over.
Him: Well, the font on your resume was pretty.
It was the shortest interview I’ve ever had.
The interviewer introduced himself to me. He was really, really good-looking. You can see where this is going.
Him: Hi, I’m Adam.
Me: *long pause* I’m Jill.
Him: Is that tape?
He pointed to the hem of my pants, where the duct tape I had used to shorten them in a pinch was falling out.
Me: Yes. Yes, it is.
Some things never change.
Cry Me a River
For this one, I didn’t even make it to the actual interview. I was having a hard time finding the office, so I called, only to be told the position had been filled and no one had bothered to tell me in advance.
And I was so frustrated. I’d been looking for a job for over a year. I was exhausted, I was lost, I was emotional. I tried to hold back the tears. I cried at him into the phone while saying, “Thanks…for *Sniffle* letting *snort* me….knoooooowwwwwww.”
Not really an interview fail, but super duper awkward.
Dreams Can Probably Come True if You Don’t Make it Weird
One of the first interviews I had was with a publishing house. It was an internship that paid minimum wage, wouldn’t even cover my train fare, but it was something I really wanted. A step. I was so excited for it. And extremely nervous.
I was also fresh from homecoming weekend at my alma mater and was probably still a bit hung over.
Him: So, what sort of aspects of publishing are you interested in?
I ended it there. I felt no need to expand. Why would I? I had answered the question. We were off to a great start.
Him: *Drumming his fingers on the table, thinking about the nap he could have had instead of interviewing me* Did you do anything fun this summer?
I’d actually had a really fun summer that year. I had worked at a Shakespeare Festival. I’d gone zip-lining for the first time. All of these things escaped me and shockingly, he did not find me to be the most interesting person in the world. Stay where you are, Dos Equis man.
For the interview with my current company, I knew where I was going, what I was interviewing for, and the interesting things I had done that summer. I wore the same outfit I had worn for that fashion interview. The best thing about publishing is we’re too occupied with hiding behind our words to notice what we’re wearing.