Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well, here we go,...

I'm a little freaked out. After more than three years as a stay-at-home mom,... I'm actively looking for a job outside of our home. See, my husband is phasing back into college and in less than a month, he won't be working outside the home, either. I'm not studying to be a math teacher (that would be my husband, instead), but even I can do this equation. No income is difficult to use in paying for daily living needs, so the job search begins. Both children will be in school this fall, but I'm still having a bit of difficulty wrapping my head around this.

This wasn't a sudden decision, by any means. John's been trying to prepare me for this for months,... it's not his fault that I'm extremely skilled at blocking out that which is unpleasant to me. The "queen of denial" would be an understatement.

It occurs to me that I haven't had a job interview in over 12 years. In a weird "just how old am I, now?" moment, it came as quite a shock to realize that technology has changed our culture's way of hiring since I did this last. Very few jobs are actually posted in the newspaper, anymore. No one mails resumes on fancy resume paper now, its all attached to emails. There's a virtual cornucopia of job search websites. The sheer limitlessness of it all is extremely overwhelming, actually. It's really hard to know where to start.

I'm dealing with my panic by just focusing on making resumes. Many resumes, each tailor made for each job posting I find that sounds like something I've done before. At first, I was really overwhelmed with the fear that I have no skills, so what will I put on a resume? Reducing myself to a sheet or two of paper is a particularly unpleasant process, and I've always felt like I had to "sell" me, like a product (which just gives me the willies). The word "interview" will spark a panic attack, so they don't exist yet in my mind. Tiny steps. Without having to physically fold hundreds of paper resumes, stick them in envelopes, write addresses, get stamps, lick stamps (yes, once upon a time, we had to actually lick each stamp, or cough up the money to get a "moistening tool", usually equipped with some kind of sponge,...back in the days of yore,...) and dump them all in a post office,... it's certainly easier to pretend that there's no such thing as an interview.

See, twelve years ago, I was notoriously bad at interviewing. Months after being hired, if I reminded supervisors about when we interviewed, they tended to glaze over in shock. "Oh wow, I'd forgotten all about that,... you're like a different person than who I originally talked to. I had no clue what your personality is really like, and I almost didn't hire you. I'm so glad I did, and you do such a good job, but wow,... you do not interview well,..." If that were only one response, it wouldn't be that big a deal,... but every job I've had generated that reaction from the people who hired me. Doesn't exactly spring forth confidence. I seem to have a hard time getting past the notion that, after they have my resume in hand and they ask questions that are already answered by my resume, my brain seems to interpret that this means they either A.) don't believe said resume or B.) what's on the resume isn't good enough and I need to come up with something better, on the spot. I can understand that this isn't normally the case, it's just where my brain goes with it. And thus begins the torrential flow of words. It's like the floodgates open, and I can hear this odd rhythm around me,... eventually realizing that I can hear myself talking, but my brain is no longer involved in the process. Its like a weird, steady background music that I can tap my foot to, and I can see the person I'm supposed to be talking to just sort of listing to the side a little, looking a little glazed.

Other times, I try to compensate by keeping myself entirely reined in (like my last interview, at National City Bank). This is successful in stemming the tide of my speech, but unfortunately leaves me with about as much personality as a parsnip (and yielded the most vocal backlash of "you really don't interview well" than any other job I'd had). There has to be a third option,... I just haven't figured out what that is yet. Tiny steps,...

So, yeah, I'm a little freaked out.

6 comments:

Diane Bouwman said...

I can relate to that Michelle as well as a lot of stay at home moms can. But you will look back at this and say "hey that wasn't as bad as i thought it was going to be . Our mind can be our worst enemy.

gabesangel said...

Remember, you have plenty of skills that are job skills from being with the kiddos..organizational skills, language skills, management skills..these are things you can highlight on your resue. Always be honest and positive, they only ask those questions so you can elaborate. I know this sounds cliche, but be yourself. When you do that you tend to relax. Good luck, I know you can handle this, you get up and sing and talk to the congregation without a hitch. this will be cake!!!

Sheri C said...

Michelle, you are an awesome person. Just try to be yourself at the interviews. (Easier said than done, I know!) And if they ask the same stuff your resume already answered, just repeat it and don't stress about WHY they are asking. It might be that they never read the resume and want you to do the work for them. :0)

Supergaijin said...

i will definitely say that the last interviews i conducted, HR hadn't given me the resume or through some mix-up i didn't have it in advance. it's true.

i hate, hate, hate interviewing (when i'm the one up for a job). one time early in my career i got so nervous i actually excused myself to throw up in the bathroom. one thing that helped me is practice-interviewing with my husband. sure it feels stupid but it helps you articulate what you are trying to get across.

also determine before you interview, the one thing you want the interviewer to remember you by. it could be something like "i am a person who gets results" or "i pay attention to details" and tailor every answer to that.

it's scary, but you are more than capable. good luck!

-katherine

Anne said...

I wonder what would happen if you started out by telling them that you really don't interview well...

...or hand them a copy of this blog post.

Hmmmm.

Michelle said...

Hehehehehehehehe

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