For the last couple months of my job search, I was getting pretty stressed out. I started hunting at the beginning of the year, confident I would find something in a couple of months. Before I knew it, the calendar said "April", and the suddenly "May!" I just couldn't believe almost half a year had zoomed by, and I was still unemployed.
In a panic, I started spending 10 hours a day in front of the computer. Monday through Friday I searched for jobs; I filled out applications; I re-wrote my resume; I got creative with my cover letters. By the end of each week, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was sit down at my desk and boot up the on-line machine again.
But, I'd made a commitment to keep this blog going. And in the face of so much failure and disappointment, I needed at least one project in my life that was going well. So I kept writing and I'm so glad I did.
During my second interview for the Program Specialist position at Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, the executive director asked me, "Who is the real Madge Morningstar?" She and the other interviewers had liked my answers to all their questions. In fact, they had liked them so much that they began to suspect I was just telling them what they wanted to hear. I was too prepared, and over-polished.
This felt like an impossible questions for me to answer. It's a lot easier to prove to someone that you are NOT genuine, than to prove that you ARE. Trust takes faith and time. Well, she didn't have the faith (who could blame her) and I didn't have the time. The interview would be over in a few minutes, and I needed a job NOW.
I couldn't think of a thing to say that wouldn't sound like more of what I knew she wanted to hear. Maybe she was expecting to learn about my hobbies and interests...my life outside of work. But, I was afraid even this conversation would seem canned and rehearsed. Anticipating this kind of interest, I had prepared a page in my "brag book" with photos of me finishing trail races, rowing crew, playing with the dog and dancing salsa.
If I showed her this page, or even mentioned these activities, I was afraid she would view it as just more of my professional presentation. So I wracked my brain to come up with some acceptable proof of my authentic self that I could share with her on the spot. I had spent so much time preparing for every possible interview occasion that I was completely unprepared for being spontaneous.
We were sitting at her desk. He computer monitor showed that she was logged on to the internet.
"Would you like to look at my blog?" I asked?
Thank goodness I'd been keeping up with it! She sent me out of her office to chat with some of the other team members, while she read about the bed I built in our van...my excitement over spotting a Great Tailed Grackle...my review of Pete's Pierside's tacos...and my admiration for Inga Swearingen. She even saw the photo of me soaking wet and goose-bumped all over, wearing pink patterned tights, giant floppy hat, cherry print Donna Reed apron and a strapless swimsuit on Polar Bear Plunge day.
At least she could see I had nothing to hide.
So she hired me! And I started the very next day! (One month ago exactly.)
It's an interesting, challenging, exciting job with a lot of different responsibilities. Including: supporting the "Bigs" and "Littles" in finding fun, inexpensive, interesting and educational things to do together here in San Luis Obispo County.
The half-year I've spent writing this blog has totally prepared me for that!