Back in the day, when I was younger, squeaky clean, freshly stamped with that Bachelor’s Degree, and looking for work, I had to go through the arduous, intimidating, and emotionally exhausting process of interviewing. I hated it. I hated the way I was often scrutinized, picked apart, rejected. And that was if I even got the interview. Because I was able to present myself well on paper, and because I legitimately had some decent grades, a fair amount of extracurricular campus leadership involvement, and held down a 30-40 hour job, I usually got any interview I sought. The problem is, I’d crash and burn on the interviews. The only time I didn’t crash and burn on an interview was the interview for the job I have now. Of course, by the time I interviewed for this job, I was in my 30’s, had a bunch more education under my belt, and was far more confident in my abilities to do the job I was seeking. Looking back, I was so terribly frightened and unsure of myself in those wide-eyed, innocent days, that it is amazing that I got the jobs I did get, when I got them, that gave me the experience which ultimately landed me a position in a nationally recognized and cutting edge training program for the profession I am currently in.
I was young and unsure. I felt inadequate. I was afraid to fail. All of this showed through in those early interviews, I am sure. Like I said, I’m surprised I ever got a job to begin with.
Fast forward, 20+ years. I’ve left that frightened little country girl somewhere between the rolling, high desert tumbleweeds of Eastern Oregon, the bustling pace of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the tall, almost lonesome majesty of the Saguaro cacti of the Southwest. Somewhere, she grew up. Somewhere that little girl picked up some confidence. Somewhere she learned to be less afraid of the failure, and more afraid of never really risking anything. At some point, she even failed, and failed miserably, not once, but twice…and she survived it. Failure, hardship, even near poverty, no longer intimidate the country girl from Eastern Oregon. What really takes me down though, is when I disappoint myself.
These days, I don’t have much opportunity to experience the interview process. I mean, I guess if I were to seek a transfer to another department or location or region, I would have to interview, but this process would be fairly easy for me. I have a great deal of success and a variety of experience packed into the last 20 years. But recently, I was involved in an interview and didn’t realize it until too late.
Earlier this month, in my post about my current hardships, I mentioned a man that I was talking to about meeting up. I mentioned how he went silent after I sent back an email leaving suggestions for meetups in his court. Dating Rule # 58: Don’t ask the guy out. Dating Rule #72: Don’t travel to see him until the relationship is established. I’ve learned from hard experience that these rules actually work for me. Anytime I’ve broken them, I’ve been disappointed.
A few days ago, Sunday, to be exact, he contacted me again. This was a surprise which caught me off guard. It was an absolutely divine fall day. Cool enough in the morning for a light jacket, warm enough in the afternoon for a t-shirt. The leaves on the trees are finally beginning to change their colors. The sky was the clearest of blues. I was sitting outside at a bistro/pizza joint in a nearby town. On a whim I decided to hang out there for the afternoon and enjoy the weather. On an even more impetuous whim, I ordered a very large pitcher of beer, yes, on the credit card, fortunately, not a very large price. A pitcher, which I proceeded to drink, all.by.myself. I had a designated driver already lined up. My daughter would be picking me up after she finished with her errands and activities that afternoon. Since I’m trying to mentally deny that winter is on its way, and I’m trying to pretend summer is going to last forever, this was a great arrangement for me on a beautiful, lazy fall afternoon.
He texted me out of the blue…in response to an email I had written a week ago. We’d been emailing back and forth trying to arrange a time and a location to meet up. This isn’t so easy when you’re 150 miles apart. I am not sure exactly how things went, or entirely everything I said. Eventually, we ended up talking on the phone, our second phone conversation. 90 minutes later we were still talking. By now, the pitcher of beer is long gone, and I am home. I don’t know how I ended the conversation, but I did. We still hadn’t set up a time to meet, but he did say that he really wanted to meet me. Rule # 84: If he doesn’t make an effort to meet you, he doesn’t want to meet you. Rule #85: If he doesn’t want to meet you, he’s just not that into you.
The next morning, I felt miserable. Not hungover miserable, but the kind of miserable you feel when you know you drank too much and behaved in ways you wish you hadn’t. Not that I did anything strange or bizarre. There was no phone sex. Nothing creepy or kinky. No sexting. That’s not what I’m talking about. That’s stuff people like me do after they’ve had a pitcher of Tequila, not a pitcher of beer. The things that I’m talking about are not so much what I did or said, as it is what I didn’t comprehend, while I was copping the buzz and chatting my life away.
For starters, I allowed the phone conversation to go on way too long. Dating Rule #256: Never stay on the phone longer than ten or fifteen minutes. The goal is to get a date right? Not to have a digital buddy. If you want to have dates, don’t allow yourself to hang out digitally for extended periods of time. The guys who are really interested will figure that the only way to spend some quality time with you is to actually meet you. They’ll ask you out. The insincere suitors will just keep calling. That’s when you enact more of Dating Rule #178, which states: Don’t pick up or respond to every phone message or text, and when you do, delay before doing it. With the insincere suitor, they will call, continuing to leave messages that they called, but never propose a meet up. For these, individuals, do not even waste your time responding. Move on. Dating Rule #2 is never involve alcohol, at least not a whole pitcher of it.
Yuck. Thank God I don’t know this person, in person, I thought. In the same breath, I vowed for the millionth time to cut back on the drinking. Not because I am an alcoholic. I’m not. Not because I can’t stop drinking once I’ve started. I can. (I have a great aversion to throwing up which serves me well here.) But the reason for cutting back? I just don’t like how I feel about how I behave when the next day rolls around. I just am not my best me and I often make silly errors in judgement, like hanging out on a phone call for far too long. The conversation with the man was engaging enough, but something about it was also not quite right. Had I not had so much to drink, I would have picked up on it early in the conversation, right about the time he suggested we play what he called, “The Question Game.”
The next morning, sitting on the bus on my way to work, not hungover, but feeling like I failed myself for being such an idiot on the phone, I realized what the problem was. The phone conversation was an interview. The man had been interviewing me, and I was too muddled to notice or to care. He’d asked all the questions, and foolishly, rather than cut the conversation short, I’d given the answers. I felt the warm heat of embarrassment rise up my neck to my face as I realized what a fool I must have been or sounded like. No, I wasn’t slurring my words, I wasn’t stumbling around, I wasn’t obviously drunk, but I’d had enough to drink that my personal judgement and intuition were impaired. I’d allowed myself to be a part of an interview for a job I wasn’t even applying for.
Most people when they give up a vice, have some big incident that occurs that makes them see the urgency of needing to change. The alcoholic gets in a car wreck (I seriously do not drink and drive ever), the addict nearly dies from an overdose, or something like this. I had none of this kind of dramatic experience. And, mind you. I wasn’t even drunk. I had a bit of a buzz. I wasn’t stumbly or slurry, but my thinking was impaired. My judgement was hindered. My ability to care about any of these things was gone, because that’s how alcohol affects me, it sedates me with this seductive, “The-world-could-be-coming-to-an-end-but-I-don’t-care” attitude. In this case, it was that during that conversation, something felt a bit off to me, but I didn’t notice and I didn’t care enough to pay attention to my gut. So my big moment, was nothing other than, I finally, simply decided, I do not like who I am when I drink too much, and I’m not doing it any more. (One week later, and I’m down ten pounds. That’s not a bad motivator to keep drinking water.)
As for the guy, he was definitely interviewing me. He’s actively seeking to fill a position in his life. He probably has a long list of applicants that he fished out of the swamp. The successful candidate will have certain qualities and must enjoy wearing dresses. I’m not the only candidate he’s interviewing, that’s certain. How do I know? He texted me back Monday afternoon, to let me know that I didn’t make the cut for the in-person interview. No he didn’t say it in so many words, but now that I wasn’t so addled, he didn’t have to. Instead, he’s going to a much larger city about 300 miles away. Someone else made the cut for this upcoming weekend’s interview slot; he’s just keeping me in the pipeline in case City Girl doesn’t pass muster.
He texted me Wednesday: Hi, how’s your week going?
I didn’t respond. I will never respond. Done. End of involuntary application and interview process.
Dating Rule #451 originates from Mark Twain. It states:
“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”
Not that this guy was ever a priority for me. He wasn’t. Though, after 90 minutes the other night, he probably thinks he’s the priority. (Yet another reason I regret spending the time.) He certainly thinks I’m an option, and he’s completely wrong about that. I’m interview savvy enough to know that within the next week, one of three things will happen:
1. He will contact me, to re-initiate a discussion about meeting up if things in Big City did not work out. (After the second round of interviews, none of the people made the cut, so we go back to the application files to pull out those who came in second. Hopefully, they haven’t been hired somewhere else yet.)
2. He will contact me, to notify me in some fashion that he’s met someone and he wants to see how things develop. (The equivalent of the corporate rejection letter. “Thanks for interviewing for the position we had available, but unfortunately, we chose someone else for the job.”)
3. He will just go silent. (Rude, but employers do it all the time, especially when they have way too many applicants for a position, or they are understaffed, or you just weren’t a real big contender for the job.)
I’m going to be interested to see which of these things actually transpires. What kind of organization is this dude running? If something entirely different transpires (not probable), then this, too will be interesting. Beyond that, it is nothing. I’m done with the application process, regardless.
As for me, the next time I interview for a position, I’m going to be fully aware throughout the process, and knowledgeable about the company going in. In fact, I won’t be applying or interviewing ever again for this type of job. No, in fact, if I ever make a status change from my current job of single parent, it will be because a competent headhunter noticed me out having a great time being fabulous at my work, and he tracked me down. It isn’t ever again going to be because I applied. I like my current position, with my own company, and it’s going to be a hard sell winning me away from my executive CEO duties, with all the responsibility, privilege, personal autonomy, and the awesome benefits package, even if the stress is somewhat challenging at times. Anyone seeking to attempt this feat, better be able to communicate why their company is worth my time and talent. And they better be willing to compensate me richly for my valuable contributions to the organization, of which there would be many, because that is just who I am. Of course, there will be no other options besides me in a scenario like this one. The job will come to me. I’m not going to seek it out.
I’m different than I was back in the day. I’m not unsure. I’m not afraid to fail. I’m definitely not inadequate. And, I’m certainly not as young as I used to be. One thing about me hasn’t changed. I still abhor interviews…unless I’m the one conducting them.
Posted on October 13, 2012, in Dating and tagged alcohol, application process, beer, dating, dating after 40, dating after divorce, dating rules, drinking, embarrassment, fall afternoons, goals, job interviews, life after divorce, life changes, Mark Twain quote, Miz Insomniac, mizinsomniac, online dating, regret, single moms, single parents, single parents dating, weather. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.