I’m in my forties and this is the first year all three kids have been in full-day school. I am a freelance writer and technical editor, but my client base isn’t growing as fast as I need it to. I am spinning my wheels, trying to figure out where I fit into a workforce I haven’t belonged to in at least ten years. Here’s something I learned this week; if you put your resume on one of those job search sites you’re not obligated to take every opportunity that comes your way, especially if it’s not at all what you’re looking for.
On Monday I put my resume on a job search site. Yesterday morning, I received an email from a major company that is hiring in our area, and they wanted ME. It offered me my choice of three interview times on two different days, which one would be the most convenient for me? The first one, of course! Who knew how many other applicants they were looking at? I was going to beat them all and take the first slot!
Since the writer of the email signed it, “Enthusiastically, Melissa!” I wrote an enthusiastic response. I was granted the interview slot and it took about two hours for me to remember I teach a class at that time. I had to reschedule. Enthusiastically (but professionally) apologetic, I regretted that in my excitement about the opportunity I had forgotten about a prior commitment. “No problem!” Melissa understandingly replied.
My interview was rescheduled for this morning. Nervous and slightly apprehensive, I heeded the strict warning that “_____ is a Fortune 500 Company; the attire for the interview is business!” I dressed the way I imagine that people who work in offices these days dress, and printed a few copies of my resume. I got to the place 30 minutes early and sat in my car, researching the company and position. The first round of interviews was a group interview, according to employee reviews. “Shady business practices!” declared another review. “It’s a great company if you like knocking on doors and trying to convince gatekeepers to let you in.”
Okay, I’d never done this before but they wanted ME so I was sure I’d stand out. Brimming with false bravado, I marched into the office suite located in the strip mall. Five other people trickled in and we got our candidate questionnaires from the receptionist at the window.
At this point I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like this job. I was no longer special, singled out for my eclectic background and strong work ethic. My well written resume meant nothing beyond the word “sales” that shows up somewhere near the bottom. This was a cattle call. Oh well, I rolled my shoulders, cracked my neck, and went into the “interview” room.
The presentation was convincing. Although I am a (proven) horrible salesperson, I was ready to give it my best shot. The company is great, the people are great, and the incentives and bonuses are fantastic. Oh fun, it was time to “share something that no one would know about you from your resume.” The woman sitting next to me loves Minnie and Mickey. The young lady in front of her has moved a lot in her life. The guy on the end loves all kinds of music. The woman next to me loves animals, and the really young guy in front of me designs roller coasters in a virtual setting (Minecraft?). My turn – “Um, I’m not really all that interesting. I like books, yeah. I read a lot, I’m like, a bookworm.”
At the bottom of the candidate questionnaire there was a numbered scale from 1 to 10. We were to circle the number corresponding with our interest level in a second interview. “Hmm, I think it’s like a 5,” I thought, as I circled the number 10. I really hope I get the second interview because I have a lot of questions. Also I can’t stand rejection. That’s probably the real reason.
I shook hands with the presenter, left the building, and got into my car. A quick check of my inbox revealed an unsolicited email from another big company in the area. They happened upon my resume and are interested in my “extensive sales experience”. I’m definitely going to reply to them. Who knows what could happen? I do know that when we try to force the path we often end up where we don’t belong, but when we wait for the path to reveal itself we find ourselves in the right, albeit unexpected, places.
In the meantime, if you know of someone who needs a creative writer/technical editor, please give them my name.