Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Selling Myself

Oh, the joys of hunting for jobs. I have my first interview of this year later today, and I am both excited about it and dreading it equally. This would normally lead to a discussion of "the game" and how much I hate playing it, but I don't have time for that. Instead, this is more of a study on anxiety.

The reason I hate selling myself in this way is because I never feel genuine with the claims I have to make. For example, I know I'll never be the best for any position, but I also know I have as good an ability to learn and succeed as anyone. But selling myself requires that I convince the interviewer/boss/whoever that I am far and away more prepared and qualified than anyone and everyone else. When this is blatantly untrue, I don't exactly enjoy trying to sell that fact.

It's been a little over two weeks since that first interview. It went well (with Whirlpool), as did the other nine interviews I had after it. The stress of pre-interview sessions and multiple interviews a day (three in one day was the most I had to deal with) was something I certainly did not enjoy, and I am very glad is over. First rounds are the worst, a total crapshoot. As I move into second round interviews, I feel much more comfortable about myself both as an interviewer and as a potential employee.

Do I enjoy "playing the game" now? Not at all. I've avoided doing so at all costs. But the interesting thing about many of the interviews I've had is the similar tone they have all had; the companies seem to want to know who I am and what I am passionate about, rather than looking for stock answers to garbage questions. I decided to walk into each interview with a few goals in mind: first, to approach each opportunity with the same effort and zeal; second, to be myself in as honest a way possible, with the goal of making the real me known as truly as possible. If the true sense of me doesn't fit what an employer is looking for, so be it. I don't want to work somewhere that requires me to change who I am and what I am about. Instead, presenting the truest version of self possible ensures that whatever company offers me a position is one that I will want to work for. This fact settles my heart to no end; it's a good feeling to have.

I am quite excited about this process moving forward. I hope to know where I am going as soon as possible, but I understand the fact that the process can move at any number of speeds. Some people find their niche taking a job working for the family business or having daddy giving them a job - fair enough, and good luck to those people - but I am not one of them. I take great pride in finding the path on my own, doing it my way, earning my keep rather than having my future handed to me. It's much more satisfying to know that the future I will enjoy is one that has been carved by my own hand. Do I owe many people many things? Absolutely. The advice and help I have received over the years has been substantial and incredible. But I have earned my keep, and I plan on doing that from here on out. I attribute many of my beliefs and ideas on this subject to the brand of individualism I subscribe to and hold dear; perhaps this is an idea worth writing about in the future, but not in this post. For the time being know that I assign great value to things accomplished individually, alone, without handouts or a free pass. Like the man I hope to become would do.

And so on...

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