Archive | September, 2010

My Greatest Weakness is Kryptonite…

8 Sep

Well my phone interview was this morning and I’m here blogging so you know that I neither died of embarrassment nor succumbed to a tasteful stress attack. 

Who's stressed? I work better with my hands in front of my face, thank you very much

I woke up three and a half hours ahead of time to practice, prepare, and perspire. I had a notepad, a pen, a back-up pen, and a pencil (can’t be too careful). I had my resume, a glass of water, and my trusty dog all within reach.

Who knows if anything will come of it? I would loooooooooooove this internship but I got the impression that there are a lot of other people trying for the two (count ’em, TWO) spots. I’m trying to maintain an emotional position somewhere between hoping against hope and mature realism. We’ll see.

So before the phone call to end all phone calls, I did a lot of research on interviews. My experience is sadly limited so I picked through the internet and interrogated my gainfully employed, gotta-hate-them friends.  Job interviews are interesting, aren’t they? There are social expectations and commonly accepted rules just like any other cultural ritual–bowing, waltzing, texting. When they ask you to “tell me about yourself,” you should not respond with any actual personal details. Instead, you should efficiently brag about where you’ve worked and what you’ve done–things that you will have to repeat later, when you’re asked about your experience and skills. Anyone will tell you to never lie on your resume or in interviews because it’ll come back to haunt you. But you’d also be called a fool by most people (assuming that I’m not the only one who uses the word “fool”) for telling the absolute truth.

“Why are you interested in this job?”  

“I need money and society expects me to get it through professional labor.”

The most bizarre question, to my way of thinking, is “What is your greatest weakness?” I was told over and over, by friends and helpful internet articles, to expect this question so you know that it has successfully spread across the masses. But unless you’re Superman, there’s probably no clear-cut, knee-jerk answer. (Besides, Superman wouldn’t just go around blabbing about his greatest weakness, now would he?)

 Just what is being asked here? You’re supposed to explain your professional weaknesses–that means no mentioning your commitment phobia or tendency to overeat–but nobody is really expecting to hear any deal-breakers. Instead, the typical thing to do is pull out some handy quotations and recite “weaknesses” instead of weaknesses. “Weaknesses” are fake, aw-shucks flaws that make you look like a hard worker and don’t diminish your attractiveness. Based on my flawless research, I’ve concluded that the most popular “weaknesses” are:

  1. Perfectionism  i.e “Sometimes I obsess over making sure every detail is right. I’m only satisfied with my work if I’ve double-checked everything and I spend extra time making sure any project I contribute to is flawless.
  2. Workaholism  i.e “My work is an important part of my life and I’ve been known to devote an unbalanced amount of time to it.”
  3. Eager-to-Please-ism  i.e “It’s hard for me to say no, which means that I end up with a lot on my plate because I want to be as useful as possible.”

People revert to “weaknesses” because nobody wants to sabotage their own opportunity and it seems unnatural to tell a perfect stranger (a perfect stranger who’s judging you) about your faults. The real problem here is this question. I vote for scrapping it because it’s a doomed fishing expedition–you’re not going to come away with anything significant. But if the beaurocratic world simply cannot carry on without inquiring about potential employees weaknesses, then perhaps we could make it an even trade? Like, you mention a professional area in which you’re less than perfect and then I’ll do the same. Wouldn’t that be awesome? You could even bond over a shared hatred for new technology with your possible future boss.  There would be laughter, groans of sympathy, familiarity. This is my dream.

That’s probably my greatest weakness–I dream too big.

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I Put the Me in Employment

8 Sep

                       

Phone interview tomorrow today for an internship that sounds fantastic. It’s an unpaid position but the experience would be priceless. (Yes, I mean that cornieness with all of my heart and I’m going to keep the cliches coming.)

More to come, assuming I don’t die of anxiety

I May Be Unemployed, But At Least I’m CRAFTY

1 Sep

Wanna see my latest craft projects? A stamp box, a stamp lamp, a decoupaged table…..

Blogger? I Hardly Know Her.

1 Sep

I’m a bad blogger. I know it because I was given the 4 holy commandments of blogging and according to those I am definately a fallen blogger. During my time at NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute, one speaker told us the key ingredients for a successful blog. They’re the sort of tips that seem obvious but are still important so I don’t think I’m breaking any rules by sharing.

1. Frequency

That first one is a bugger, let me tell you. Frequency? That implies consistency and some sort of schedule. You’d think that would be fairly easy, since I am currently unemployed, yet if you check the dates of my posts you’ll see there’s no rhyme or reason. What have I been doing? I got home on the first of August and here it’s September already. I guess my month could be broken down into two categories: job hunting and avoiding job hunting. The former involves a hyperactive state of mind and a frenzy of job websites and cover letters. The latter…well, it’s also sort of frantic. It’s easier for me to justify avoidance by shifting my passion and attention to another outlet. This means that a few days ago it seemed absolutely imperative that I do three art projects at once and conduct a deep-cleansing of my bedroom. Denial is not a river in Egypt, ladies and gentlemen, but it is a clean room and dried glue on your hands.

2. Content

The SPI speaker stressed that successful blogs have a theme. Food blogs, travel blogs, blogs about tv or books. In theory, that sounds great. But there is no single subject I feel passionate enough about that I would dedicate a blog to it. I like reading, sure. But I know that being chained to a book blog would make me feel like I was stuck on a perpetual loop of book reports. (Not to mention, that a book blog would force me to come out of the reading closet and admit that you’re more likely to catch me with a beach read and dopey mystery than a beautiful work of literature.) I’ll gladly admit that I enjoy watching tv. The darned thing is on right now, which is probably why it is taking me forever to write this post. But even if , for example, I find The Big Bang Theory hilarious and witty (it is! it is!), the world does not need a blog devoted to Leonard and Sheldon. I couldn’t write a food blog even if I wanted, considering my limited repetoire of cooking knowledge. What all of this means is that I don’ t have a theme. My infrequent content is, like my thought processes, scattered. Which brings me, neatly, to point number three…

3. Content Organization

How do you organize a theme-less blog? I’m pretty proud of my WordPress navigation but this does not mean I know what I’m doing. Blogging, for me, feels like walking on a rickety bridge. You know, one of those wood and rope contraptions hanging over a gorge in a cartoon or Indiana Jones movie. You take a step, and if that holds your weight, you take another step, and so on. (Of course, that’s not exactly how it went for Professor Jones but hey I’m no Harrison Ford.)

4. Call to Action

This sounds either like a super hero’s duty or a priest’s holy call–regardless, somebody gets saved. But in the blogging world, I learned, Call to Action is all about user involvement. Amazon gets you to “add to shopping cart.” Itunes encourages you to “download now.” This point is especially important for professional-type bloggers. That is, bloggers who aim to live off their blogs, or at least further their professional careers by blogging. At this point, I am a blog dabbler. I have no readers to speak of. My frequency, content, and organization have all fallen by the blogging wayside.

BUT

I have a Call to Action button.

Oh my words! It’s no big thing. Just a little ole’ button that gives you (my non-existent reader) the option to sign up for email updates. I found it one day when I was testing the rickety bridge. So I may be inconsistent (I’m working on that though) and I may not have a theme, and I may not be organized……but now you can follow my meager bloggin activity every step of the way.

And you know what? 1 out of 4 ain’t bad.