Quite often in our professional lives we have to answer the question, What are we good for? Even though, on occasion, we may feel like the answer is Absolutely nothing, we need to reach deep down into our reservoir of accomplishments and stop, elaborate and make the people listen.
In my life, I have been both interviewee and interviewer. Somewhat akin to an exhibitionist, an interviewee has to confidently display their assets to a stranger. As much as I love prancing around in my underwear in front of our large dining room window, telling strangers how great I am is a little nerve wracking. Of course, telling my friends all the time how great I am comes naturally. For your next interview, check out Amy Cuddy’s power posing tips from her TED Talk: Your body language may shape who you are.
In my early 20s, I applied to be a door-to-door organic meat salesman and was brought in for an interview and pigeon-holed as a specific breed of Sales Dog. It was a ruff time in my life.
“This book is our bible,” the owner explained as he handed me a copy of You Don’t Have to Be an Attack Dog to Explode Your Income. “See Sam over there,” he pointed across the room. “Sam is a pitbull. And Julie, over by the window, she is a Basset Hound.”
“And what kind of dog are you?” I asked. It was like a beam of heavenly light shone down upon his thinning hair, lighting up the scalp beneath.
“I…” he grinned like I just threw him the most delicious bone, “am a Golden Retriever!”
“Ah, of course,” I nodded along wondering when this interview would be over.
“And you,” he said, “you are a Chihuahua.”
“I don’t think I’m a Chihuahua…”
“You’re definitely a Chihuahua.”
“Can I be an Aussie?”
“That’s not a thing. You’re a Chihuahua.”
I actually took this job for two weeks, but selling my meat to strangers left me feeling exhausted and unloved so I quit. Out of curiosity, I took the Sales Dog Quiz now and learned that I am actually a Poodle – highly intelligent and highly conscious of [my] appearance. *Flicks dust off shoulder*
Not only have I been the interviewee in the past, I have also been the interviewer. Much akin to a voyeur, I am always watching… Watching for people who I want to be a part of my life either professionally or personally. I’m not creepy at all, I promise.
I had the pleasure of watching Angelina three times in an interview setting. I was trying to find out what she was all about – as a person, not just a potential employee. When I ask candidates what they do outside of work for fun, not related to their professional careers, they tend to look at me with a mix of confusion and trepidation.
“What do you mean?” Angelina asked me.
“Well, some of our staff are artists, some have their own side-companies. What do you do when you’re not working?” I replied.
“Um…” Angelina pondered my question with not a little bit of fire in her eyes, “I don’t own my own company. But I do like to drink at my cottage.” Ha, I like this girl, I thought. Angelina turned out to be absolutely amazing and never let’s me live down her three-part interview and the fact that she doesn’t own her own company. As she moved away, we no longer work together and I miss her greatly.
Two years ago, I bumped into a girl named Mathilda at her place of employment.
“Hey, do you want to be in a photo shoot?” I asked.
That’s a creepy question. Why is this guy wearing sunglasses inside? I can’t see his eyes. He’s so bougie. I don’t want to do a photo shoot. But the dollars bills… “Maybe…” Mathilda replied.
“Would you be interested in a new job?” I asked.
“Why is this guy interested in me? What’s his mo? Am I safe? This is a public place. I guess I’m okay. Is he for real? A new job could be good… “Maybe…” Mathilda replied.
I invited Mathilda to a local coffee shop to have an informal interview with my partner. She thought business partner. She was very confused when my partner was also my partner. She was exhausted by the end of her two-hour interview, yet despite all the hoops of fire, she said yes to dress-up, yes to the job and yes to becoming one of our closest friends.
We are all good for something. Whether we are hawking our wares or trying to find a priceless antique at the marketplace, we need to rub ourselves until we shine and encourage others to do the same. Sometimes it takes a little convincing, a little amplification of our prowess, but we need to face the world and, like Nicki and B, say, “I’m feelin’ myself, I’m feelin’ myself.”