Job Interviews: Why They Can Be Awkward, Stressful and Disappointing

Interviews typically happen in different stages; phone, in person and follow-up. In some cases, the company may just require a one time meet and greet, others can be more extensive. I’ve been through them all multiple times and can say with full confidence that every one is different. And to be even more direct, some are just really fuckin’ weird.

I’ve heard horror stories, and also witnessed some, so I wanted to talk about some of my experiences on here and reiterate that I didn’t let these rare occurrences discourage me from continuing my job search.

Over the summer, I had applied to what seemed like a really modern and upcoming marketing firm, and was super excited to get a call back that they wanted to conduct a phone interview.

Now, in the past, the phone interviews I’ve been selected for basically consisted of the representative of the company providing more information about the company and position, as well as some general questions such as, “Where have you been working since graduation?”, “What provoked you to apply for this position?”, “Do you have experience?”, etc. The conversation is generally short and they do most of the talking.

So, when I picked up the phone for this interview, I was a little thrown off when there were three other people on the other end.

It began quite normal for the first few minutes until they threw curve ball at me asking for my criticism in regards to their Instagram page. Luckily, I had checked their page out prior to the interview, but how are you supposed to respond to a potential employer when they ask for your honest feedback on their work?

To be honest, I thought maybe it was a trick question so I tried responding with a double-sided answer subtly, but they didn’t like my response. I don’t even remember how I worded it but basically I told them that they had good content but too many posts with just quotes and words.

Don’t ask for criticism if you can’t accept it.

Then they continued to ask what brands I followed on Instagram. I was stumped. I mostly follow friends, families and select celebrities and maybe one or two clothing stores that post frequently about sales.

At this point I couldn’t wait to get off of this call and luckily, it didn’t go much further.

About a month later I received another call for an in-person interview at a different company for the position of a Marketing Assistant. The only thing on my mind after leaving was: pyramid scheme.

Walking into their lobby, something immediately felt off as they were blasting techno music at 9 AM on a Monday and the first thing you see walking in is a ping pong table.

The interviewer came out, greeted me and escorted me to a room with nothing inside with the exception a table and two chairs. I felt like I was in an interrogation room.

The interview lasted maybe under 10 minutes and he didn’t once ask me anything about myself or my background, yet thought I was a “great candidate for the role” and asked me to come back again tomorrow for a second round of interviewing.

After he basically sugar coated that this was a door to door sales role and began talking about some irrelevant YouTube video, I knew I was never coming back. There were red flags everywhere.

Although I was desperate for a job, I wasn’t this desperate.

The third one I want to talk about was when I interviewed for an Administrative Assistant position in a corporate headquarters for a bank. I didn’t even remember I had applied because at this point in my job search I was just shooting out resumes everywhere, I couldn’t keep track of who I was sending them to anymore.

The woman who called me basically hyped me up primarily only talking about the pay and benefits, which were extremely enticing. And although she thought I was great candidate for this position, the two women I interviewed with 2 weeks later in person, did not.

It was an extremely awkward interview followed by two written tests which I was not forewarned about. Definitely bombed the one.

There were a few more interviews that followed that last one which were all relatively normal but required more experience than I had, but it’s okay because I persevered and found the position I’m currently in now and I’m very appreciative.

Lesson learned that you’re not going to land every job you interview for and sometimes, you probably luck out by not getting the job. If there are obvious red flags from the start, don’t take it and get yourself into something not worth your time, there’s always going to be something better down the road.

In addition, there are some really useful tips and advice for interviewing on the internet and my best advice is to just be prepared, research the company you’re applying to, print your resume prior to the interview, over dress, and most importantly, be yourself.

Good luck to anyone going through this frustrating process, it will be worth it in the end!

 

 

 

 

 

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Shaking The Sunday Scaries: Near Impossible 

If you’ve ever spent a night out drinking, chances are you’ve encountered the Sunday Scaries and have spent hours wishing them away. I’ve recently found out that not everyone is familiar with this exact term, but do know the feeling once it’s been explained. So instead of trying to define it in my own words, I’ve included two definitions from Urban Dictionary’s perspective, because I don’t think I could have explained it any better myself.

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In a nutshell, the Sunday Scaries are virtually the worst feeling in the world; anxiety times a thousand, feeling deathly ill and continuously going over your actions from the weekend in your head. Deleting conversations that shouldn’t have existed, avoiding your parents because you know they think you’re a degenerate, and chugging endless bottles of water in the hopes you can shake this awful feeling has become so routine. And although I know this is my fate after a night of binge drinking and my average resting heart rate probably won’t be lower than 115, I still do it anyway, and I don’t think I’ll ever learn.

While not only feeling regretful or sick, the hatred for your job sets in too. Questioning why you do what you do, wondering if there’s something better out there, and asking yourself if maybe you should have a different plan. Then another hefty question asks, “Do I really need this job?”, and the answer is probably yes, but you try to justify reasons behind not needing it to the point where you convince yourself you might actually not need it, but still wake up on Monday and go regardless.

But wait, it gets worse. Not only do you question your entire being all day long on Sunday, sometimes it carries over to Monday, which in my opinion, is worse than having the scaries on a Sunday. At least then you can lay around, allow in yourself to wallow in self pity from the comfort of your bed and forget that the rest of the world and your responsibilities exist. But on Monday? Nope. You have to leave the house, put on a fake smile and pretend that you’re not still thinking about some of the questionable decisions you made Saturday night, your diminishing bank account and who you drunk texted. Paranoid about almost everyone and everything that surrounds you, your heart just can’t relax. Then, aside from the lingering anxiety of your weekend actions, you start to worry about what’s going on right in front of you, “Did I remember to send that email? Do I have a meeting today? Is there something else I’m supposed to be doing?”. The questions in our heads don’t stop, and continue to torture us until we’re finally clocking out.

So to calm yourself down, while indirectly praying to God, you tell (promise) yourself that you’re not going to go out this weekend to take it easy, save money and be productive. And for the better part of the week, your plan is still intact. However, for me personally, this usually diminishes sometime after lunch on Friday and I begin to rationalize in my head why I deserve to go out; I just worked all week, I had minimal human contact other than my parents since Sunday, and I just got paid. Why wouldn’t I go out?

Then the cycle begins again either Friday night or all day Saturday, and I return to Sunday with the worst possible drinkers remorse and dread the thought of it being Monday. Then, before I know it, I’m sitting in my desk chair once again telling myself I’m going to take it easy next weekend.

The 9-5 Sentence: The Truth Behind A Full-time Job

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Less than two months into my full-time job and I feel suffocated. Maybe suffocated isn’t the right word to use, but I feel trapped. There are only seven short days in a week and the average working person is expected to work for 8 or 9 hours during five of them. Which, in perspective may seem fair in regards to the paycheck, but when you think about how much can be done over the course of eight hours, or how much you can accomplish, you may begin to question why the standard work week has you grinding 9-5 Monday through Friday.

Regardless of the hours employees are expected to actually be at work, we can also factor in commute time to our respective workplaces. So now not only are we looking at 8-9 hours a day, we might be designating 9-11 hours to our work day. Maybe this a stretch, but it’s still something to think about considering the time you spend working per day is more time than you designate to yourself a day.

Furthermore, just thinking about how extensive eight hours actually is, we can begin to wonder what else we could be accomplishing during this time frame; laundry, cleaning, errands, working out, binge watching- an episode on Netflix is only 43 minutes…

An alternative way that the corporate world could employ could be by giving each employee a set of tasks that need to be completed in a given week, giving them 40 hours to complete the task and being able to finish before the 40 hours is up; rather than judging a full work week on how many hours an employee sits on their ass in front of a computer screen. Because let’s be honest, we all have times throughout the week we find ourselves just staring at the clock, waiting for that eighth hour to roll around enabling us to clock out.

And before you begin to think I’m naïve, just know I fully understand that this is just how the working world is, and I accept it. It’s just interesting to analyze the mundane, routineness that surrounds it. In a way, I appreciate it too since it pays the bills, but would I rather be working from my home? Yes, and I’m super jealous of those who have the opportunity to do just that. Which brings me to my next point, why can’t most people in the corporate setting work from home?

For those who sit behind two screens all day, you can probably agree that most of your work could be conducted from the comfort of your home since all you really need is the internet and a computer, and maybe a phone. I condone businesses that allow their employees the flexibility of this work style, and encourage others to do the same. But what really raises questions for me, is when businesses allow employees who are sick to work from home, or require their employees to work from home on snow days- this is a dead giveaway that working from home is possible and can be done.

To top this all off, after working ex amount of hours a day, by the time you get home there isn’t much energy left to get anything done. Then before you know it, you’re hitting the hay to recharge your batteries and start the same routine tomorrow. I now understand why everyone lives for Fridays; they are extremely crucial to the happiness and well being of us young, 20 something year olds.

I know that I’m doomed to the 9-5 sentence for life, but that’s just how the world works. And I knew that by choosing to go to school for something in the corporate field, I had already fallen victim to this life, but I’ll accept if for as long as the paychecks keep coming. Hopefully one day I can escape this mandated schedule and find a job where I make my own schedule, be the one who makes the schedule or even better, can work from the comfort of my own home, on my own time.

Does College Groom You To Become A Professional Bullshitter?

Not only in regards to work ethic, college has groomed us to become professional bullshitters in everyday life. Whether it’s pretending to know what you’re talking about at work or lying to your parents about your ‘good’ financial standing in order to justify your degenerate weekend habits, we’ve all become really, scarily good at pretending, lying and fabricating.

Driving home from work one night last week, I heard the latest way college students are sliding by and continuing to do the bare minimum. Coming up short for a lengthy essay? Write in a bunch of random words at the end, make them the smallest font size possible and change the font color to white. Apparently you can cut out a significant amount of those required words.

Half the battle in college, particularly dealing with presentations, is acting like you know what you’re talking about, being confident, sounding educated and not seeming nervous or flustered. Not much has changed from college to work. Whenever I’m asked a question I’m unsure of, or just not completely positive, I just nod my head with reassurance that I comprehend it and am in the loop. However, 80% of the time, as soon as someone walks away I’m breaking into a panic in my head, fingers are going 100 mph on the keyboard, searching for something relevant to the topic, attempting to figure it out. It’s all about playing it cool. I came across this meme on Twitter and found it so fitting for this post.

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And even when you know you’re doing something wrong, or outside your scope of work at the office, you always have a back-up plan, or response, in case you get caught. For example, printing personal stuff, browsing through social media or online shopping, there is always a part of you that is playing devil’s advocate, brainstorming ways to BS your way out of the potential situation of being caught.

Furthermore, when it comes to discussion board posts or papers, sometimes all you have to do is ramble on and on until you convince someone else, or even yourself, that you’re making sense and telling the truth. Similarly to small talk at the office, when someone asks how your weekend was, you’re obviously not going to respond with, “Omg so much fun, I blacked out in the city with my friends, spent most of my time recovering in my bed and virtually achieved nothing productive.” So, you simply say, “It was really good, super relaxing, how about yours?”

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This also occurs when my parents question my spending habits on the weekends. “I thought you were trying to be more conservative with your money and spend less?” Casually, I respond with something similar to, “Yeah I am, I picked up a babysitting shift so I haven’t really touched my paycheck yet.” Half truth, half lie, but I have to keep the bullshit coming especially when it comes to money to avoid a row with my parents, and also myself. Sadly, I think I internally lie to myself about my ridiculous spending habits on unnecessary clothes, food & alcohol. But I forgive myself.

We bullshit through everyday interfaces as well; whether you run into someone randomly and say you’re doing good, even though you might be having a shitty day, you justify buying that $20 pair of shoes because you didn’t spend as much as you anticipated over the weekend, or tell your parents you only had 1 – 2 drinks at happy hour after work, we are bullshitters.

Will we ever get to do something with substance, or are we doomed to a life of bullshit?

Seeking Silver Linings

 

As a post grad, there aren’t many things that come easy. However, there are moments of most days that can be seen as small wins. Someone brings in lunch for the office, you won $5 on a scratch off, you got over 100 likes on an Instagram, etc.

Some of these things could be perceived as shallow and meaningless, but I see them as silver linings.

Waking up early at the crack of dawn five days a week is not my idea of fun in any way. I unfortunately look like I’m still rolling out of bed to get to class most days I go to work just because I value those 10 extra minutes of sleep I should be using towards fixing my hair. But at the end of the day, 90% of my day is spent staring at two computer screens, and I don’t think they mind what I look like. I’m not saying I look like a total slob, but I could definitely look better. But those extra ten minutes of Z’s? Small silver lining.

I commute to Jersey for work, which has it’s pros and cons, but the most obvious con is traffic. Going to work, traffic isn’t terrible, but going home is a nightmare. For anyone that drives to work, I know you understand. However, there are those days that maybe you leave a few minutes earlier than usual, or even a few minutes later, and you overpass all of the rush hour traffic. Bliss. Or, another silver lining of the day.

Among these other silver linings could include things like the people at Dunkin perfecting your iced coffee with the right amount of cream and the right amount of sugar, gas going down 2 cents, avocados being on sale, your parents not questioning your every move on occasional days, realizing you have enough money left over after bills and factoring in weekend expenses to get your nails done, etc.

Even when you’re having a bad day, it’s always nice to take into perspective the good things that happened too, no matter how small they are.

With each new season comes new opportunity, potential, and excitement. Today is the first day of Spring, and unfortunately a Monday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dreadful. Grab a coffee, do some online shopping, get your nails done, watch a feel good movie, treat yourself to a dinner out- whatever! Then, reflect on your day to appreciate the silver linings that happened, and then just maybe, you can say you had an okay day. Happy Spring, post-grads!

Note: NOT thinking of what you were doing a year ago at college (slumming it, drinking, easier life) every continuous day, WILL make it easier to realize your days aren’t so bad.

5 Times Hollywood Misconstrued Life After College

Before actually being here, I thought this point in my life was to be glamorous- cabbing all over the city to meet up with your friends after work to sip on some cool restaurant’s signature cocktail, sushi dinners, looking like you’re ready for a Saturday night out after sitting in an office for 8 plus hours, and somehow being energized enough to do it all again the next day.

When I pictured life after college, I guess sometimes my vision was a bit exaggerated. I just pictured skyscrapers, attending meetings in different and foreign cities, coffee breaks at hip cafes, and endless after work happy hours. And for some people this life is true, but for me, it is unfortunately not- yet!

But I’ve realized I had this idea in my head because of Hollywood, and how easily they can portray lifestyles to look so attractive, enticing, and easy. But in return, we’re forced to face the harsh reality that these illusions they create are unrealistic. So ponder with me all the different scenarios they’ve created to make us crave this “exciting” thing called adulthood.

  1. Apartments on the Upper East Side – In all the movies and TV shows, there is a precedent that right after graduation, you move out on your own, and never return to your bedroom at mom and dad’s. Again, for some people this is an actual thing, and kudos to you, but for most of us- there is no option but to move home right away. Even if moving out is affordable, the idea of living in the heart of any major city is a bit far fetched. Hollywood creates these sets of spacious, beautifully decorated, remote apartments in locations of prime time real estate for corporate America goers. Basically something out of an IKEA catalog. Fun to dream about? Yes. Realistic? No, not after college while your monthly loan payment is probably almost always higher than your checking account balance.
  2.  Red Carpet Ready After Sitting in an Office Since 8 am– Think about the girls in the movies that meet their friends or boyfriend/ girlfriend after work for dinner and drinks and look like movie stars- no pun intended- yet, they’ve been in the same clothes all day, most likely sitting at a desk the majority of this time, and have been awake for almost 12 hours. Somehow, their make up still looks fresher than ever, curls still perfect, and clothes not wrinkled one bit. Honestly, I wish this was realistic, because at the end of the day, my face is either A) oily, B) covered in mascara, or C) makeup free. And my hair? Most definitely frizzy and in a bun.
  3. The Endless Wardrobe – I haven’t even started my job yet, and I know I’m gonna be an outfit repeater. RIP to college when having Mon, Wed, Friday outfits aside from Tuesday and Thursday outfits was acceptable on campus. Hollywood would never dress a character in the same outfit twice, and as the idea of that would be incredible, I’d rather spend my money on weekend clothes rather than clothes I’m wearing to the office. Also, no one actually looks cute in business attire, don’t let Hollywood fool you. Finding a decent pair of work pants that fit well everywhere is like finding the needle in the haystack.
  4. Looking Like You Survive on Water and Veggies– Obviously in Hollywood, the societal image associated with them is a size 2, which is fine, but the lifestyle the characters indulge in like eating out, getting drinks, etc., don’t match up with their figure, especially since they seem to never work out. If only…
  5. Spending Like You’re Loaded – Finally, the root of all things said above, MONEY. Seriously, after paying loans, bills, insurance, gas, groceries, and basically anything- I’ll be lucky enough to have some money in my checking to go out on the weekends and build a small savings.

Obviously, movies are movies, whatever. They’re there to be appealing and enticing and full of envious lifestyles, but maybe they could be a little more realistic. The lifestyles they set for post grad life seem to be more suited for someone that is 33, rather than 23.

Maybe Hollywood is right, life after college is pretty glamorous in some aspects, but not in the same ways they think. Honestly, I’m perfectly content with my life right now, as long as I’m out of my parents by 25, I’ll be happy!

What Deems Someone as ‘Qualified’?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, obtaining your Bachelor’s degree is nothing more than taking a bunch of irrelevant classes for four years (with the exception of people who majored in something very specific like nursing or teaching), spending a lot of money, and coming out with nothing to show but a piece of paper that’s supposed to deem you as ‘qualified’. But what really makes someone qualified? Experience? Skills? Knowledge? It’s all garbage. According to an article published by The Washington Post, only 27% of college grads have a job related to their major.

While job searching, when I’m seriously considering applying for a position within a company, particularly smaller or newer companies, I like to look at the ‘who we are’ page and read the description under each employee. Before discovering that alarming statistic above, I was shocked when I would read that employees within marketing or financial positions in a firm would have degrees in education or biology or political science. People who have no degree even remotely related to business are the future of Corporate America.

I understand this though I suppose. It doesn’t take a genius to learn basic office skills and most companies provide a standard, two week training process when hiring new employees, whether you’re fresh out of college or have been working in the field for 20 years. So why do all of these companies set these unrealistic requirements of experience in their job descriptions? Probably a question I’ll never know, or understand, the answer to. Most entry-level jobs could 100% be done by someone who never even went to college because I don’t feel any smarter than someone who’s highest degree is a high school diploma. Kudos to those people for saving those tuition dollars.

I don’t necessarily remember every aspect of what I learned in college, at least not enough to make me an expert in anything particular, but I know that when I was there I remembered it for the duration of a semester. To me, this is equivalent to attending a two week training session in which you are exposed to the kind of work your new employer needs you to do and when you begin work you continue to learn and you’ll remember it for the duration of your time there, but once it’s over? It’s back to square one when you begin at another job and have another two week training session. So why does a Bachelor’s degree deem someone qualified?

What we learned in college, in my opinion, is irrelevant. All the bullshit philosophy and art history classes aren’t going to help me in any job I ever have. Sure, they may have been interesting, but for the price I paid for them to not be useful? It’s a waste. But this bring me to another point which I’ll unfold in my next post- stay tuned!