Article by Wendy McCance
When I was young, I used to brag about being able to talk anyone in to hiring me (even if they weren’t looking to hire anyone). Ah, the good old days when you could point in a direction, claim that a particular job would be yours and get it. It seemed that any career was attainable with just a little persuasion.
The economy tanked, the jobs dried up and being overly picky wasn’t an option any more. The goal became to get a job, any job. Along the way I lost sight of one important factor. A job, any job is not valuable if it makes you miserable. I am a born salesperson. It runs in my family. I know what employers want to hear and I am good at selling them on my skills.
When I began writing this blog, a slow transformation began to take shape. I heard my voice louder than I have in a long time. Through my writing, I slowly saw what is of most importance to me. What I’ll tolerate and what I won’t put up with anymore. I realized how I want to live my life and what I want to surround myself with more than ever.
So I started thinking about all of the articles out there on how to land a job. There are articles on what to say and what to avoid in an interview. There are so many pieces of advice floating around regarding how to tweak your honesty to get someone to hire you. With all of these seemingly helpful pieces of advice it is apparent how easily it is to lose sight of who you are, what works for you and how to trust the bells ringing in your head when you know deep down that a job is honestly not a good fit.
I went to an interview today. I must admit that we are in desperate need of an extra salary to balance out our bills. Keeping in mind where my head was at when I went into the interview, I heard the little voice that said this wasn’t the right job, but I pushed it aside.
The first alarm went off when I walked through the door and was handed paperwork to fill out for the “internship position.” Ok, first of all, this wasn’t mentioned on the job site or in the follow-up call to set up the appointment. The only thing I was told on the phone was that the position was for a sales assistant to take care of orders and handle customer service. If you were to see my resume, you would know that this was in itself a huge step backward. My experience far exceeds what I was applying for, but I was ok with that because simply, I need a job.
I almost said something, stunned that this was an internship, but decided not to jump to conclusions and move forward with the paperwork (anyway, I needed the practice interviewing).
The actual interview seemed fine until the person I was being interviewed by made a comment that during the summer I would see a lot of young interns working there. The philosophy of the company he explained was that older people have used up all of their ideas and are stale, but kids in college were full of fresh ideas they could suggest. I understand the eagerness of the younger kids, but I was still put off by the comment. was he suggesting that I was old and stale?
At the end of the interview I was given a tour and told what the next step in the hiring process would be. I actually walked out hoping I would be called. My experience was a perfect fit for what they were looking for work wise.
It took me a while replaying the entire experience in my head before I decided I’m an idiot and should have slapped myself silly for hoping for a job like that. The application I had filled out was obviously intended for a younger person. The questions ranged from what college are you currently attending, and what semesters are you available to why an internship would be something of interest to you. Seriously, what were these people thinking when they asked me to interview. It was obvious that I wasn’t what they were looking for in any way other than skills. I think they really thought they could get a bargain by hiring me.
I had fallen into the quick fix category of I feel like I need a job now even though it is a terrible choice.
I had an opportunity to fill out a long questionnaire for another job. I took my time and really gave the most sincere answers that truly displayed who I was instead of what I thought they were looking for. I got a follow-up email saying that after getting to know me better through the answers I gave, they thought I would be a good match for their company. They scheduled me for an interview.
The moral of this story is that I am done taking all of the well-meaning advice out there. I am who I am and I want to feel that a good fit was found. I can’t imagine letting fear guide me into a bad career and out again within weeks or months as I realize that this is no place for me. Sure we need the money, but that doesn’t mean I need to work for peanuts or grab the first offer just because it’s the first offer.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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