Babbling Bucket of Bad Interview

This Lent I got a much-needed (I am sure) lesson in Humility. It’s just the most recent in a lifetime of them; they keep coming since clearly I Don’t Get It.

There was a job posting for which I was eminently qualified. The first interview, with a panel of three professional women I would be supporting if I were the successful candidate, went swimmingly. While the lead of the group was hard-ish to read, the other two were warm and welcoming and in about three minutes I made them all laugh. They were on my side. I knew I’d get the second interview, with The Boss, and about a week later, I did.

That is where it all fell apart.

After an awkward handshake (setting off my inner alarm bells), she led me back to a pleasant but impersonal office which told me absolutely nothing about her. I’d have to work with what she gave me verbally to establish a connection. Foolishly, I wasn’t worried yet because I like people, generally, and can usually find common ground with almost anyone.

As had the three before her, she worked from an HR-provided sheet of questions. I answered honestly while still hoping to imbue each with a little sparkle, a little something that said, “I understand your industry and the pressures of it; let me make your work life better”. There was eye-contact. She was cordial, intelligent, polite, and absolutely impossible to read.

As an introverted child who moved a lot, I learned at an early age to make people laugh, but I couldn’t make this woman laugh. I wasn’t quite sure she was even smiling at me so much as with sympathy for me, because when I can’t find a connection with someone, one of two things happens: I shut down entirely (this is very rare – I am GREAT in an emergency) or, more common and what happened on this particular day with this particular woman, The Babbling. When The Babbling happens, words come out of my mouth in response to the conversation, a great many words, but I have no real idea if they are relative to the other party’s words. They just come, dozens at a time. It’s like a shotgun, really, and sometimes I get lucky and one of those words hits the target, say, if “efficient” or “detail-oriented” happens to elbow past all the other words and accidentally fly out of my face.

Job Interview

I was a Lector (reader of lessons) in an Episcopal church, and told I was a good one. This came as a huge relief because no matter how prepared I was, every time I stood at the lectern in front of literally God and everyone, I was certain that not Scripture but rather an endless stream of profanity was exiting my mouth, and my Episcopalian brethren were simply too polite to tell me. About half way through the interview, I found myself wondering if she was Episcopalian, and exactly how many incarnations of the “F” word I’d dropped.

This is why Pride always, always goeth before the Fall: I saw a job for which I was qualified and assumed that once they got a load of my wonderful resume, not to mention razzling, dazzling Moi, the only question would be: how soon could I start? I never considered that I’d blow it, or that maybe they’d just like someone else better than me.

When she walked me out she thanked me for my time, which told me all I needed to know. She’d made her decision, at least regarding me, and I cannot fault her. With only a brief time to make an important decision about the team around her, a team which will largely determine her success or failure, she can’t afford to gamble. Presented with a good resume offered by a babbling idiot, she made the only possible decision.

 

It’s certainly not the first interview I’ve had that hasn’t gone well; it is surprising how much it stings, but I imagine that is flavored with other recent, more personal rejections.

Have you ever completely blown an interview or presentation you should have aced? What throws you off your game? What helps you dust yourself off and carry on?

Weekend Coffee Share: It’s Time

If we were having coffee, I might ask if you follow any sort of Lenten practice? I do, and generally find it a helpful, healthy time of year to clean up, clean out, recenter.

In years past, I’ve given up chocolate, red meat, etc., or taken up some reading, some form of self-improvement. Last year, we chose Star Words on Epiphany and I worked on that, though I never really did understand what Authority was trying to tell me.

Never have I been foolish enough to give up coffee, and a grateful world rejoices. Settle in for another cup; I have a confession.

This year I’ve given up nothing. I’m trying to eat better, get more exercise. Tackle a couple things around the house I’ve been avoiding. But I couldn’t settle my mind on a serious Lenten discipline until a sermon on the first week of Lent on Sin. Fr. Greg did a great job of bringing the concept of Sin out of the Big Hairy Sin area, and down into the little, niggling, just-as-dangerous personal level. The kinds of sin that eats away, slowly but surely, at people. The kind of sin that destroys from inside, and it has me thinking about the things left undone in my life (in the Episcopal confessional, we atone for both the sins we commit in action, as well as our sins of omission). It’s just one thing, an ending, and it is fair to say I have allowed it a lot of space in my head to the detriment of better, nobler pursuits.

I neither desired nor initiated this ending, and it’s only me that hasn’t acknowledged it, but if there is a time for rigorous self-honesty, Lent is it.

There have been letters written and wisely left unsent; a good, long talk with Paul during which he let me ramble on until I finished with, I don’t really know what I expect to get out of it, or even what I want. Maybe that’s not it – maybe I just want to force the issue, hear the words ‘I’ve decided you are not necessary to my life anymore, please go away.’ And ultimately, what’s the point? When I find myself questioning if I care enough to want that, truth be told. 

For a smart person, I can be a bit slow on the uptake, particularly with regards to rejection, but I do eventually get there.

A good Lent provides clarity but also time, time to sit with the clarity, time to accept it. Acceptance: the final stage of grief. Admitting to myself that what I have been doing, not terribly well, is grieving, and that the grief is consuming energy better deployed elsewhere.

Earlier this week I saw a video clip of Prince Harry reading Ecclesiastes 3. What a beautiful timedeep voice he has, and as a two-tour veteran of Afghanistan, I imagine he understands the wisdom of this passage better than most of us. All that being said, I think there was something more kept it circling my head this week. There was a message in it for me: It is time. Time to stop looking for answers or reasons to this particularly unanswerable question. Time to consign it to the Mysteries of the Universe, and People. Time to Accept. Time to put away the grief, confusion, and sadness. Time to acknowledge the season that was, and passed time to let it go.

Time to face forward, walk through the hurt and heal. Time to evict this particular squatter from my head. Time to move on.

If we were having coffee, I would wonder aloud if you have ever clung stubbornly to people or situations beyond what was healthy? Do you struggle with accepting an ending because it hurts? Who or what helps you? How do you evict the squatters in your head?