Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Over, maybe

It is possible that I will never have to write a cover letter again, or lose sleep over a morning interview. It is possible that I will be in a position where I work with people I like and admire, and work for a director who is balanced, upbeat and respectful. It is possible that I will recover the confidence which got swallowed by companies who never wrote back, or who said, "thanks anyway," because I don't care who you are, the longer you're on the market the easier it becomes to see their point.

I had a second interview today with the organization I just bloggedy-blogged about. It went so well, there was actually laughter in the meeting and that glorious question at the end: "How soon could you start?"

I hope, I hope.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pick me

The only thing worse than a discouraged job seeker is a jaded one. Here's how they're made:

As I expected, there were others who attended the group interview I bloggedy-blogged about the other day - all of us in our pumps and suits and portfolios thinking we were there to be interviewed for an admissions counsellor position for a local college that caters to the "economically challenged" college student.

Forty of us.

It was not a group interview, it was a mob interview.

Herded into a little employee cafeteria, we were shown a PowerPoint presentation of the position particulars and before the second slide was clicked, were advised to "make no mistake, this is a sales position and you will be expected to make 80 to 120 phonecalls A DAY to recruit those college students, who, oh yeah, will also need a little counselling once you get them in the door."

Those of us not interested in this opportunity were invited to leave at the break. Some, like me, didn't wait that long. Some talked about the distance they'd come. They wanted to get a jump on the ride back.

There is a perfect word for any employer who would pull a bait and switch in times like these and exploit the already discouraged, and in the case of those who remained in that room, desperate, job seekers out there. The word is cruel. I'm luckier candidate-wise than many so I converted my anger to resolve, but the ones who stayed...

Luckily, candidate-wise, I interviewed for a position today that I would love so much, it was all I could do not to blurt out in the middle, "Pick me!"

Unfortunately, my interviewer was so complete and thorough in describing the position and organization that I had only skimpy questions at the end which Google says is bad. I could only sigh and say, "It sounds wonderful," which it is.

Not the punchy closing I'd planned, but a great interview anyway that left me with hope and optimism on the heels of Monday's experience which only left me in want of a bright room and a shower.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brain space and breathing

I have a group interview later. I'm intrigued. It could be a panel I face, or I could be part of a panel. But here is what I will not be doing today:

Googling "group interview" again.

Like anyone interviewing these days I'm already antsy and over-focused on "my game." But as I've told every member of my brood at one time or another, "your task isn't turning into someone worthwhile before the interview, your task is to get through thirty or sixty seconds of anxiety without crumpling to the floor because you've forgotten to breathe."

So I've prepared my speech, and can now discuss myself with poise in under two minutes without saying "and, um, let's see," and my outfit is on a hanger next to my pumps. If I Google anything else about "group interviews" I will learn about the "NUMBER ONE QUESTION YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO ANSWER BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE WILL BE" and it will be something I've somehow missed until now, and my insides will freeze, and I will have lost the opportunity to weave it into the speech I practice each morning after I drop Sam off and drive home pretending to be on Bluetooth.

No, I'm closing the book. No more cramming. I'm going to the treadmill where I will work on the presentation of me until it sing-aling-dings. Later, I'll go to my group interview and there will be some twenty-four year old there who's nervous and uncomfortable and I'll think of one of my children and forget about the treadmill and say what is truer than anything: You're better than you think you are before an interview. It will only take a moment or two for them to know it.

She'll get that job or maybe another one if she buys that, and so will I.

I have yet to see that kind of advice on the Debbie-Downer internet.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unpack the Everything

My suitcase of Everything wouldn't zip recently so I unpacked my Advanced Cognition class. I regretted this decision for a surprisingly short period given my Everything-thing.

Now I'm hanging out with the Video Professor ("Try my product?") learning Microsoft Access because in my job search I'm finding that if you don't have Access don't even try to bag at Hannaford.

It's a nice tutorial, and I zipped through the beginning and got 100's on the "video quizzes," because I'm an Excel user, but I soon had trouble paying attention in my home classroom. First, the Video Professor's voice reminds me of a neighbor I had when I was small and I began to wonder if he (the neighbor) was dead or alive while the VP was talking about the difference between changing fields in tables and I had to arrow back. Then I began to feel hungry and wondered if the cantelope downstairs was any good, and then I clicked on Janet Reid's website to see if she was posting again, and then I was wondering if it would be okay to wear boots to an interview while the VP was talking about the "view" tab and I had to arrow back again. Then I was wondering if I should make Sloppy Joes for dinner and what the interviewer would look like, and if black would be a bad color for a top and then it was time for another video "quiz," and I had to arrow back even further. Then I got a 50% on the quiz which made me feel UnSerious about my Goals, on top of being hungry and conflicted about interview attire, and finally, I abandoned the task to play hide-and-go-seek with the cat which he learned as a kitten using Video Professor.

As for Everything-ness, I've learned something in the aftermath of breaking up with Advanced Cognition. It's that law of diminishing marginal utility again, that concept from college days of olde that even I couldn't believe I understood the first time it was explained. It's heady to think you're finally doing Everything you want to, until the exhilaration becomes stress, the overscheduled days become short, and the want to becomes "have to" so that soon, you're feeling so robbed of fun, you're breaking up with Everything and sitting under your desk hiding while the cat counts.

So this month, I didn't learn Access, but I did learn limits and I'm wearing a lavender top with a black skirt and not eating the cantelope and picturing a great interview with someone who has his or her own Everything to worry about, and that's Everything enough for now.