Is there anything as demoralizing as a job interview?
Man, they sure are for me. Granted, I haven’t done many, and maybe that’s part of the problem. But I really wanted this job. Really.
Under normal circumstances it’s impossible to shut me up. Talking to people comes pretty easily to me. I’m not even half bad at public speaking. And then, in any interview, it all goes to hell. No matter how organized I try to keep my notes, no matter how much I try to anticipate questions, I always turn into a blubbering idiot who stammers and stutters her way through each answer, spewing inane drivel, skipping lightly through randomland picking meaningless examples, and boldly throwing up both middle fingers to all of the salient bullet points I had carefully thought out.
I know how to do my fucking job. Why is it so hard for me to tell people about that? For reasons beyond my understanding it is so incredibly difficult to say, “Hello, you should hire me because I’m good at doing these several particular things and I could also do them well for you.”
So, of course, after every interview I feel like utter shit. I generally spend the next day or two dragging my self esteem through every conceivable kind of muck, using my own name as a curse and open-palm slapping my ego senseless every fifteen to twenty minutes. Interviews suck me completely dry. I become a husk with a bruised, soft center that just wants to give up and pupate under the covers in my bed until I get up the energy to moult my way out again sometime next month.
This time the aftermath was less bad. My dear friend Ariane, bless her heart, took me for a post-interview bike ride. She did this even after I changed the meeting time on her twice (I forgot that my interview was on Pacific time, of course), and then was still late to meet her. Not only did she stick around and wait for me, she also consoled me. When I lamented that I thought they might not have liked one of my answers in particular, she asked me if I’d meant what I said, and I said I did. Then that brilliant woman told me, “If you spoke to them from your heart and told them what you think is important, and they didn’t like what they heard, then that job isn’t for you. You don’t want to be stuck in a job where people don’t respect and mirror your professional values.” Fucking gem, she is.
So I burned off most of the panic, the adrenaline, and the self-loathing over 18 miles with Ariane. She gave me some tips for my next interview. Then we talked about her work, her home, anything but the interview-gone-nuclear, and I felt like my soul had been through a kind of cleansing fire. At the end of our ride, I felt OK. I’m still a little sad about how the interview went, but I’m tired and think I’ll actually sleep tonight. More than that, I feel heard and held by my friend, and that’s the best part of all.