It surprises people I know when I tell them I am socially inept. They point out that I am outgoing and willing to speak with anyone. Well, that’s the problem. I can and will talk with just about anyone. And talk, and talk, and talk. I can usually cover the ineptitude with my quirky sense of humor. This works in most social settings, but job interviews aren’t “most” situations.
I blew one interview for a well-paying job by getting diarrhea of the mouth. It seemed to be going well, and I got excited. I was interviewing to be an admissions counselor for an online university, something I felt good about. When it was my turn to ask some questions, I let my enthusiasm get the better of me. The online university had programs that I found interesting, so I asked about taking classes while working with them. Then I inserted my foot by saying that I wanted to take web design classes and eventually move on to working with their website.
Oops. Wrong answer.
“You don’t want to advance through the admissions department?” Meaning, “We’re not good enough for you?”
I don’t remember what I said, but it wasn’t good enough. I did not get the job. I knew it as soon as his smile froze and posture changed. I was no longer in consideration, all because of my big mouth.
I’m going to go on a tangent here…
When I say I recognize this from his body language, you need to understand that I don’t read it on an intuitive level. Somewhere in my mind, there’s a dictionary that says “____ set of the eyes means ____” or “That posture means he’s pissed.” It took me a long, long time to realize that I achieve similar social reads through a different means from other people. In other words, I don’t just do like most people. I have to focus on reading people and do it in a conscious manner. Until recently, it seemed normal. At least I don’t think the way I look at it is “normal.” Do “normal” people have to consciously think about reading people? They just kind of get it somehow, right?
I blew another interview just before I got pregnant with the Munchie. At the time, I wanted to sell cars, and there was an opening at a Mercedes Benz dealership. I still don’t know for sure what ruined it, but I had a bad feeling about it by the time it was over. I felt like there was a trick question in the interview, but I wasn’t getting it. It probably didn’t help that it’s very hard for me to look like a professional. My hair is ridiculously fine and thin, I have a goofy-looking jaw, and I tower over many people. I don’t have the money to have clothes tailored to me, so business wear looks stupid on me, as well.
Somehow, I was able to get a couple decent positions by convincing them at the interviews that I was competent and enthusiastic. Neither one lasted. I felt like I was acting the role they wanted to hire, but when the time came to be good at the job, I wasn’t. I felt like the Pretender called in to surgery. This leads to a larger topic as far as work goes, but that will have to wait until later. In a nutshell, I am terrible at second-guessing myself. This undermines my performance, as my mind goes blank, and stuff doesn’t get done. It’s frustrating because I think I’m better than that–but I could be wrong. Very wrong.
Luckily, I have found what I am good at doing. Now it will be okay. The question is: Can I get past that all-important interview process? I don’t know anymore. The job I may get sounds like a good fit, right up my alley. I just hope I don’t throw it away by screwing up the interview.
*Don’t worry, I’ll have more upbeat posts before you know it!