Thursday, June 7, 2012

"So don't be afraid to let them show, your true colors... are beautiful like a rainbow."

I went to bed last night with an idea for today's post. I should have just written it last night because I was thinking about it and on top of that, I got zero sleep. I had two very different interviews yesterday and the day turned out the opposite of what I had predicted. I was dreading one because it was for the same company that I left three months ago, and I was excited about another one because it was a chance to do something different. 
Well, the first one, the one I was dreading, went wonderfully. I met a group of people that I felt comfortable around. The manager sat at the middle of the conference table because he didn't like being the head of the table. I spoke with him and another supervisor for almost a half hour and was completely at home. While I had rid myself of negative thoughts going into the interview, I confess that I couldn't completely get rid of the dread. I left home and a job that I disliked, a work environment that had become detrimental to my health, yet here I was three states away and three months later interviewing with the same company I had formed such a strong vendetta against. I was pleasantly surprised by the demeanor of the employees there and by the amount of time the supervisors had been with the company. I left with a smile feeling that it was less of an interview and more of an informal meeting. Less than a half hour later I got a job offer from them. 
An hour afterwards, I sat in another office. This was a second interview for a company that I was on the fence about but nevertheless I had geared myself up for the new opportunities they might bring. I was semi-dreading this interview too because I wasn't sure how I would get along with the owner, of whom I had already been warned. Like the earlier interview, I pushed aside my reservations and decided to accept what the experience had to offer. My interview was at 4:00 pm, I was early per usual, and I was back in my car leaving at exactly 4:00 pm. I met the owner and after a couple hurried questions for me, the bulk of which including whether I would be staying at my place of residence for more than a year and who I was living with, etc., and a series of questions for the employee whose job I would be taking, he said goodbye. He had sat at the head of the table, as the administrative assistant said he liked to do, and grilled rather than talked to me. It was all very rushed and set me off a little. I spent forty times as much time in my car driving to and from the interview than I did speaking with him.
The whole incident got me thinking about work, the perfect job, the perfect boss, the perfect work environment, etc. I know it has been the topic of my musings for most of this blog because the last few months have been dedicated solely to the purpose of finding employment, but I've learned some valuable lessons. I've learned who I can and can not work for and with. I've learned what I want in a boss and in a job. I've learned what environment I am comfortable in and which one I feel like fleeing from. Yesterday taught me what I already knew but hadn't written down in words yet. If you don't feel comfortable in the interview or if you don't feel respected by the person interviewing you, is this really a place you want to be working? The last few weeks have been rough for me as I have been sliding into a semi-depressive state over my unemployment, but when I walked into interview #1, I exuded the self-confidence that has been buried under the surface. The people I spoke with and the people I met allowed me to show my true self and embraced my exuberance. They allowed me to feel like myself for the first time in a few long months of interviewing, I didn't have to hide behind a suit or regurgitate my resume, they wanted to see me for me and I showed them. The second interview of the day left me feeling unwanted and kicked to the curb. I felt I had just been interrogated, that I wasn't important. I felt like a potential place holder, not a desired employee. The first job showed interest immediately and recognized my potential; the second job gave me a handshake and a few days to think. I don't need time to think. I knew the minute I walked out of the first interview, and my opinion was validated the second I walked out of interview #2. 
So I leave you with this advice- go with your gut. If an interviewer doesn't make you feel wanted or a work environment makes you feel uncomfortable than why fight for a place within that company? Go somewhere your talents are recognized, go somewhere you'll be acknowledged. Most importantly, go somewhere you can be yourself. By the time I left my last work environment, my true self was buried so deep below criticisms and mistakes that I barely recognized who I was. It's taken a while to get back that confidence. It's taken a while to show everyone who I am again. Don't let people take you for granted, and don't let them tell you who to be. You're significant, you are special. Don't ever put yourself in a position where you feel less than that.

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