29 May 2010

Treasuring the waiting

In the past when I've done job interviews, I've generally had a good time, and so have the interviewers.  Then they feel awful when they can't hire me.  They call me on the phone and just sound wretched about how they liked me best, but they have to hire this horrible person with ten years more experience.  That will probably happen this time, too, which makes me sad.

My favorite story about that was this time I interviewed for an internship at a big company, got that exact phone call, and later, when I was at the annual conference for my professional organization, they saw me from across the room and very non-subtly tried to stay on the far side of the room from me during the entire reception.  It was kind of flattering and mostly hilarious.  Eventually, I actually bumped into one of them (totally by accident), and she just looked mortally embarrassed, like she wanted to grovel and beg my forgiveness for not hiring me.  "We all really wanted to work with you," she said mournfully.  "We were so sorry they wouldn't let us have you."

That made two of us.  Soft skills being more valuable than hard skills my ear.  It all worked out later during the conference when I finally managed to secure a kind of crappy internship at a small company where micromanagement was not a problem, and I got to make a website from scratch all by myself.  It was located near where my older sister lived, so I was also able to live with and make awkward attempts to connect with my sort-of-estranged older sister the summer before she got married.

I wonder if the people I interviewed with will be that disappointed if they don't hire me this time.  I almost brought one of them to tears just during the interview.  (Accidentally, I swear; I was just wrapped up in this one story I was telling that had a kind of sweet ending, and I got a tad emotional, and is it a good sign if they say, "That was a really nice story" and "I had no idea what we were going to talk about for an hour, but the time just  went past and was over" at a big corporate job interview?)  I'll certainly cry if I don't get the job, but we'll burn that bridge if we come to it.

I thought I'd already learned the lesson about how sometimes your best isn't good enough, but I still don't want to learn it again.  I'm kind of treasuring the waiting right now because not knowing NO is better than knowing it.

Ever been in that situation: where the waiting is painful but still seems better than finding out for sure that you've failed?

28 May 2010

What I did the day after my interviews of doom

It was a nice day.
  • Exercised with some good books.
  • Had some juice.
  • Folded clothes, did laundry, dusted, vacuumed.
  • Basked in the sun reading another good book and ignoring the sidelong glances from other people in the courtyard as they tried to figure out what form of domestic violence could possibly result in the horrible swelling and bruising on my back and the resulting stiffness in my movements. (Even if the skin looks like this, I figure it can still get happy from the sun, right?)
  • Did not obsessively deconstruct the interviews because I did that yesterday.
  • Cut my fingernails!!!!!
  • Had a sandwich and some milk.
  • Caught up on email tasks I had been putting off prepping for the interview.
  • Wrote thank you follow-up letters to my interviewers.
  • Put lotion on my incipient and ridiculous sunburn. (I was only out for 4 chapters!  I swear!)
  • Had some ramen and peas.
  • Watched some DVDs.
  • Wrote some blog posts.
  • Put more lotion on the sunburn, admiring its randomness.
  • Went to bed.
  • Got out of bed when the fire alarm went off and staggered outside and shivered and coughed (and read) for a long time before I was allowed back into the apartment building where I went back to bed.

Ahhhhh. Refreshing.

22 May 2010

It hailed today

I have now spent over 30 hours researching for this job interview.  I have read several books.  I have talked to wise people without getting totally neurotic and annoying.  I have researched strategies for answering questions and looked at thousands of questions.  I have made plans.  I will write stories to tell in answer to questions.  I have lots of people praying for me.  If this job was awarded to the person who did the most homework, I would get it.  If it was awarded based on financial need, I would get it.  If it was given to the person who wanted it most, I would get it.

I am unlikely to get this job.

My most helpful inside resource told me he hopes that the interviewers see me as the winsome underdog.  He did not have to finish by adding that there's no other way I'll get it (the four times he started a sentence with, "If you don't get this job, I have some ideas," kind of sufficiently filled in the blank.

I should be discouraged.  I should be giving up on the other ten hours of prep I'm planning on doing before the big interviews.  I should feel done, defeated, beaten.

But I'm not stopping.

Is this peace that passes understanding?  It doesn't feel like secret foreknowledge or anything.  It's not really confidence, either.  It's partly my innate stubbornness and love of a challenge.  Don't tell me I can't, because I'll want to even more was never really a mindset I struggled with as a child.  (Except where tree climbing was concerned.)

Maybe this last push will be the thing that sends me over the top.  Maybe these last hours of effort and attention and work will be necessary for success.  I'm desperate; it's true.  I'm in a bad situation (nothing new).  I'd hate to give up before giving everything I possibly can. 

The rest is up to God.

18 May 2010

Slice of paradise in the city

I sat outside in someone's backyard yesterday watching the clouds drift as the sun faded away. 

It was a little bit of paradise in a slightly scary neighborhood.  You'd never have known it was there, but once you went up all the stairs and around to the back, it was beautiful. 

A tall deck with impossibly comfy chairs and in the tiny yard below a firepit and a rock garden with a tiny waterfall.  Lots of little lamps and a pine tree and hedges all around.  I got to hang out with some friends and meet some new people.  Poetry was read.  A small boy told jokes.  Birds made all kinds of noise.  There was root beer. 

It was glorious. 

15 May 2010


I have some hearing loss in my left ear.  It's probably temporary and is caused by fluid buildup related to sticking valves in ears and generally bad sinus drainage in my head exacerbated by my allergies to the environment.  It can't really be fixed without surgery that will only temporarily alleviate the problem and could introduce more, so I've pretty much accustomed myself to the fact that I can't hear people coming from that side and can't always understand what they're saying if that side is facing them.

The acupuncturist told me to listen to my body, to pay attention to how it reacted after the first treatment.  (And, wow, did it ever react.)  She asked me for specifics, and I couldn't really give them at first.  "I'm sorry," I apologized, "but I'm just not used to listening to my body.  Mostly all it tells me is pain pain pain discomfort, and those aren't useful things, so I've gotten used to ignoring them as best as I can since there isn't anything I can do to fix them."

The next week, she said, "I've been thinking about that since you mentioned it last week, and I wonder if the two aren't connected."

I wonder, too.  The body is a terribly complicated creation, and it's interconnected in ways good doctors will admit we don't know enough about.  One problem can cause others that cause others, and they are all connected, but if you hurt yourself at work, you aren't allowed to be treated as a whole human being.  You can only be treated for that specific injury, as if the injury is to a single Lego block and not a complex, interdependent system.

Mind-body problems indeed.

So I'm working on listening to myself and others.  Not much positive progress yet, but we're giving it the old college try.

In other news, today was kind of a perfect day weather-wise.  Not that I was out in it because cottonwoods and work kept me indoors, but the walk to the car after work was just lovely . . .

11 May 2010

Spring cleaning Part III: Revenge of the Mags

This week's injury was improbably sustained when I apparently tried to walk through a magazine holder.  In my defense, I was trying to avoid the pillows I was airing out.  In my prosecution, I'm not sure why I was giving the soft objects such a wide berth . . .

I'm whittling away at the piles and files around the room.  Since I've applied absolutely everywhere I could for jobs, and there are no new opportunities, I have had two days to clean and do things on my backlog list of things to do.  I feel a little guilty, but I'm getting so much done.  One more day ought to get all my files from graduate school back into tip-top shape (they got out of order as I was cannibalizing them for my thesis).

I even submitted something to another impossible magazine today.  NOTE TO SELF: Email to find out if they accept simultaneous submissions.

Now I'm just cleaning and catching up and waiting for someone to call me back about an interview, trying not to prematurely despair about what it means that they haven't called yet, trying to decide if I should just make my travel plans anyway, trying not to forget all the research I did on the company and the questions I want to ask, trying to enjoy this time now to organize and be calmish.

And icing my foot.  Because what if they call, and I set up an interview, and my foot's too swollen to fit in my dress shoe?!


08 May 2010

The waiting game

So, I'm waiting on this phone interview that was supposed to happen.  I got up early just in case they called when normal people start their work days.  I kept checking my phone in agony (what if I missed it?!?!?!?!) and then being heartbroken when the call still hadn't come.  Alternately sweating and freezing, I would wonder if they liked my resume or if they hated it and that's why they weren't calling.  Did I do something wrong, something to make them not like me?!  Why weren't they calling?!?!?!  Oh, the humanity!

Is this what it's like to be waiting for a call from someone you have a crush on?

If I ever made fun of anyone waiting for a call from their crush, I apologize.

05 May 2010

Do you love a good job interview?

One reason I enjoy job interviews (yes, I'm a freak) is that, at the good ones, I always learn something about myself, in addition to learning things about the job.  At my second interview the other day, I finally figured out one of the reasons why I really want to teach college composition instead of the creative writing classes all people like me are supposed to want to teach.  Comp is one of the few interdisciplinary classes first-year students take, and I love interdisciplinary stuff.

Comp isn't interdisciplinary in the same way as a class that teaches, say,  history, art, and philosophy at the same time, showing students how the three happened in relation to each other.  It's more like comp is an interdisciplinary tool to teach people how to observe, analyze, and communicate no matter what discipline they're in.  Anyway, I figured that out during the interview, so it was a worthwhile interview in my book.  :)

Have you ever learned anything unexpected about yourself during a job interview?