Friday, September 14, 2007

But I can locate the U.S. on a map!

My interview with the CEO at a SoHo start-up started ok. He was a
young, pleasant looking guy. The room was very warm, and I took off my
jacket and drank liberally from the ice cold Poland Springs I was
handed, but I wasn't sweating. Still, I was nervous and aware that I
was speaking full sentences in single breaths, but I was making sense,
and quickly calmed down. I tend to ramble a bit and as I was talking,
the CEO kicked off his shoes and tucked his legs under himself on the
couch. Like one does at home in front of the tv.

That was really weird. I kept on going. Actually this discussion - he
stressed that he wasn't interviewing or testing me, he only wanted to
get a sense of who I was- went well and he was true to his word. The
job, product managing the site, developing new ideas and managing them
through implementation, sounds exciting and challenging to me,
different than my current business analyst role but one that still
benefitted from my 7 years of experience. My "discussion" with the CEO
was the fourth time I had been to their office and I had one more
interview left, with the CCO, right afterwards.

The CEO liked me and let me know that I had his vote. So with a
feeling of ease, I went on to meet with the CCO. "Name something
you've accomplished, either in your personal or professional life that
you're proud of and that went against the norm."

Huh? My mind went swirling, looking for professional and personal
moments that fit. Putting myself through college came to mind. It was
the only thing that came to mind and to my horror, I started to share
this story out loud.

I went into a total nosedive, hearing myself tell this man that my
parents didn't go to college, talking about how I worked full time and
won a scholarship, and all the while I'm saying to myself, "Abort!
Abort!" and I'm trying to find ways to undo this story while at the
same time mentally cursing myself out. I felt like Miss South Carolina
Teen USA
crashing and burning, unable to stop.

The interview did get better than that moment, I did go on to answer
his questions with relevant professional examples, but it was tough.
The issue I was stuck on, the question I could not satisfactorily
answer was to give an example of how I'm creative in my job. I was
struck down. My job isn't creative. All creative energy has been
sucked out, I've been beat down at this job I've held for over 3
years. So I explained that my job isn't creative, not in the way he's
looking for, but that I am creative in my personal life, that I write,
and that I was here to find a job where I could be more creative in my
professional life.

It wasn't a smooth interview. It wasn't my best performance. I left
feeling like I made up some ground, noticed that folks, including the
receptionist, were still there at 6:30 (vastly different from the 9-5
jobs I've held for most of my adult life), briefly worried if I'd be
expected to do the same, and then reminded myself that this job went
from being a sure thing to highly questionable.

So I don't know if they will extend an offer. How heavily will one bad
interview out five weigh? I do not know. If I don't get the job I will be
ok. If I do get the job, I'll have to deal with the concerns of
working at a start-up and having a work/life balance. In the meantime,
I'm trying to forgive myself for making a professional blunder.

Ugh. At least I'm not all over you tube.

Sent from my iPhone

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