Available at www.amazon.com, September 2010

Attend Job Interview, Submerge in Self Loathing, Repeat

I had a job interview on Friday.  To this day, I’m consistently stunned by my ineffectual presentations at these dignity-decimating affairs. 

I’ve been a radio announcer, often broadcasting live from less than ideal situations:  in the middle of a rowdy crowd, next to a garbage dumpster in an alleyway, while bungee jumping, and during the process of skydiving.  Then, I get in front of a panel of individuals who will determine whether I am worthy of being chosen to inhabit an apparently highly sought-after position, and all that composure disappears.

There you sit across a meeting table from pairs of eyes that study each fidget and characteristic of your intrinsic personality traits.  Meanwhile, you desperately attempt to prattle off your finest qualities like a condemned man who has one last chance to convince a firing squad not to shoot.

The interviewers watch as each cohesive and coherent answer that you practiced on the way to their building melts away into a desperate quagmire of disparate rambling thoughts that inevitably make you look like you forgot your morning Ritalin. 

The interviewer already works there.  It’s their office, so they probably can’t imagine why you seem so incapable of conventional communication.  They watch you, sizing you up like they’re imagining what it would be like to see you on a day to day basis. 

Meanwhile, you’re imagining, “This guy must think I have some sort of personality disorder.  Man, I think this tie might actually be cutting into my larynx.”

All of the so-called job hunting experts and some well-meaning colleagues will tell you things like, “Practice interviewing with friends until you get your presentation seamless.” 

What a load of crap!  First of all, they’re my friends.  I talk to them all the time, so they already know “where I want to be in five years” and “what my greatest weakness or fault” might be.  They’re the ones who helped me figure out that I have weaknesses and faults. 

Plus, I feel comfortable with them; that’s why they’re my friends.  I’ll tell you one thing, people won’t be your friends for long if you make them sit through job interview drills.  They’ll be opting to spend their leisure time with your less needy counterparts.

Here’s another little bit of advice for people who like to impart some kind of Zen philosophy upon a job candidate, “The fact you got an interview is something.  Not everyone gets an interview.” 

You know what?  Just shut up.  We know you mean well, but in reality, it’s equivalent to taking Angelina Jolie to the prom, and though there was no making out, she did kiss you on the cheek before she left with the high school quarterback. 

“The fact that you got an interview” is never a consolation.  All that means is that you had to pay for a haircut, get your clothes dry cleaned, and explain to your boss why you have to leave work early for yet another dental appointment.  “Getting an interview” is not a prize worth even considering.    

Finally that awkward moment comes at the end of every interview, when the interviewer says, “Now do you have any questions for us?”  

“No.  To be honest with you, I already learned everything I could have thought of wanting to know during the interview, so no.  I don’t have a single question except when do I start and when’s the first payday.  Here’s a question, how’s that bar across the street?  I have a feeling I’m going to want a cocktail, once we finish up with this ill-fated charade.”

You leave that office knowing that you now have as much of a chance of getting the job as the guy riding next to you on the subway with Tourette syndrome.  You spend the rest of the weekend wallowing within the anguish of your own inadequacies.

Or, maybe that’s just me.  By the way, would you like to Super-Size that meal?

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