Today I am… Doing the happy interview dance!
My wonderful wife brought my lunch to work today, along with a letter that arrived in the mail this morning. I immediately saw that it was from one of the many employers I had applied to, and my heart sank. Of all the applications I have completed over the past month or so, this one took me the longest to complete and cost me the most money to send out. My email has been full of dispiriting rejection letters lately, so it was with disgust that I folded up the envelope and stuck it in my pocket.
Let me tell you something about applying for management positions: They want to see how well you write. Or maybe they just want to see whether you can sling the bull. Or perhaps it’s all just a big perseverance contest, which makes me feel like a trained dog. Let’s see how many hoops we can get him to jump through!
Five, seven or even ten essay questions is not unusual for a management position application posted online. I am expected to describe what I have accomplished in the past, what I am doing now and what I plan to do in the future. I am expected to discuss how I will save the company money, how I will treat the employees and how I will improve public relations. And somewhere around the fourth or fifth essay question, I will need to describe my management philosophy, my ideas for bringing peace to the Middle East, the last book I’ve read, my favorite teacher from elementary school and whether I’m a fan of Right Twix or Left Twix and why (in 600 words or less).
Take it from me: Grappling with these weighty questions night after night and looking for just the right words to impress a prospective employer is enough to drive you bonkers. My only saving grace is that I still have a job to go to in the morning. For the next few weeks, anyway. After that, I will have the unique pleasure of pursuing this sadistic hobby of mine all day, every day.
After a while, you start to dream about job applications. While this may seem to indicate an unhealthy obsession, in your dreams you can sometimes come up with creative ideas for answering your next set of essay questions.
Rejection is a part of life, but trying to keep yourself employed by applying and applying may lead to a pile of rejection letters high enough to spur a less than sterling self-image. It’s just plain depressing.
So as I unwrapped my fast food burrito at my desk, I pulled the envelope out of my pocket, unfolded it and tore it open with the intent of feeding the contents to the shredder. After all, I knew what was coming. Good news only comes via telephone. What shows up in your mailbox usually contains the phrases “we had many qualified candidates” and “best of luck in your future endeavors.”
I nearly choked on my burrito when I read that I have been selected for an interview and that the human resources department looks forward to meeting me. Someone loves me after all! Sure, I am probably one of a dozen applicants selected for this honor, but at least they think enough of me to consider the possibility that I could be worthy of joining the team.
Once I have my interview, they may like me or they may not. They may think I’m a good fit for the company, or perhaps not so much. But at least they’re giving me a chance, a chance to put my best foot forward and maybe, just maybe, get that foot in the door.