2 Days ago I was invited for a job interview that was ‘magically’ arranged for me (in the post a few days back). However I went with some hesitation because I had seen a photo from the owner and in her I (thought to) recognise that specific toughness that women in the branch I work in have. They are tough, they work hard, work late, decide within seconds, communicate in short sentences and meet their deadlines. Deadlines almost every day. It’s a seasonal business.
Our first contact was cold but with a ‘lets be polite’ touch to it. I immediately felt her boundaries and felt that she had no ‘entry’ as a human, tough women and pretty rigid. She immediately dove in for the kill by letting go of any of the polite structures that are designed for conversations like this and saying ‘you tell me about you’.
So I told her about me and I was not out there with enthusiasm in telling me about my ‘failed’ business. I felt she was planning to discard me when until I said: ‘Well, I know it is more or less the rule in a job interview that people tell you how great they are. But I can’t because I do not exactly feel that way. I had a business and then life happened and I am in a position where I am still dealing with the consequences of that.’
Q: ‘So what was the main reason your business went wrong?’
A: It is a combination of quite a few things obviously but mainly I think if I had been less a perfectionist and more hands on, that would have made a difference.’
I could see her settling down and becoming less uncomfortable with the idea that this indeed was not a normal job interview.
Q: So what is your best character trait, when it comes to work.
A: I think my ability to analyse things and come up with the real solution.
Q: And your worst?
A: That indeed would be perfection, not being content until every tiny detail is fixed. That can slow me down.
Q: So how would that work out in this job?
A: In this job I would need to pay attention to the planning and deadlines and I think that would I start here, that is something I would like to have help with until I am settled. The jobs I have done before all dealt with only one product range at the time and here they will be mingled so I would need to prioritize. Untill I am really settled in I would like help with that. Further: because I am a perfectionist and know my job I will most likely bring down the workload by making sure there are less ‘tries’ and ‘samples’ needed before we decide on production quality.’
Q: How do you deal with criticism?
A: Do you want the real answer or the job interview preferred answer?
Q: I think I want the real answer, yes.
A: I dislike criticism. I am ok with instructions, no problem. And I get it that people can get upset if things go wrong. But if instructions are meant to hurt, or improve the way somebody that gives them feels about him/herself I very much dislike it.
Q: That is fair enough. Criticism should not be meant to hurt. So what happens if I wake up in the morning at the wrong side of the bed, everything gets worse from there on, those things sometimes happen… And finally I end up at your desk and you did something stupid, might be minor, might be bigger but I, having a bad day, BLOW UP and let go of some steam. How would you react?
A: Again, I think it is important that I give you the real answer. I dislike that. I would tell you that I am open to your instructions but that I would prefer you to deal with your bad mood in another way than having it out on me.
Q: But you know, people can have a bad day.
A: Yes, that’s possible. And I am willing to help if there are problems but I do not appreciate being at the receiving end. I know me.
When I write it down it is actually a very strange and rather aggressive job interview. This was all said in peace, there was no open war, but there was a meeting, not really clashing, but meeting of energies.
Well, I could not have done it differently. If somebody in an interview comes up and actually says: ‘I will be very critical and I am moody and will abuse you when the shit hits the fan – what am I to say? Yes, please walk over me? It is not my function to criticise her there but it is not my function to be a stepping stone either. I want to contribute AND keep my right to be me and vulnerable with that too.
We shall see. When (more like ‘if’) I am invited again I think we need to really speak. The person who did the job had to leave because she was not functioning well and I believe the owner is still pretty much upset about having to fire somebody – her questions and reaction seem to come from that spot where it hurts. 😦 The person that got the job finally turned it down because she could not get the working hours aligned with the kids and daycare and stuff. My friend, who had applied for the job in the first place was pretty pissed of that she was not invited to a second interview. Maybe she still will. Funny is that she had EXACTLY the same opinion about the owner as I did: tough, no entry, rigid.
Let’s see. 🙂 I am curious. The next message will be in a week. It can go either way. We did not speak technique so she obviously thought me saying: ‘I am in a bit of a strange place but I can do the job fine.’ was ok. 🙂
I am happy that I quit. I can now feel that this is just how it went and not hide in shame because I was not perfect. I start telling people that I have not been drinking for almost half a year now (4 days to go) and nobody gives a shit. Funny. Did I tell you that I drank 3 zips of green tea this week? By accident. I am caffeine and theine free too. It was AWFULL! As bad as your first sip of coffee or licking an ashtray. Brrrrrr. I would not think I would my taste would restore to that kids-state of being. Funny too. I spit it out, so awful, I thought it had gone bad and then I realised that I had the wrong tea. Amazing what a body does and how it works. 🙂 Exciting all to find out.
I want: to stay at home and think.
I need: to go to a friend because I said I would. But she’s pregnant so, no drinking pressure there.
I take: Schuessler salt against throat ache.