Ode to future employers

Recently, there was a job I really wanted, that I was a finalist for. It was between me and one other girl from my graduate program for one of three positions offered by this company to students in my grad program. Each position had two candidates.

I certainly put my best foot forward in the first interview, which was in person with three of their employees. I was only a little ruffled by nerves, but spoke and represented myself to the best of my ability. And then my competitor for the position accepted a job at another organization, a very prestigious one. And then there was me.

Whereas I’m usually quite charismatic, articulate and intelligent during interviews (which are usually no big deal), I somehow lost all my bearings during the second interview for this highly coveted position. My mind blanked and I was left struggling for the duration of the 30-minute phone interview. I must have reeked of social awkwardness and desperation.

Then I learned that the company offered the position to a candidate who had originally been up for one of the other positions. Man, the interviewer must have really disliked me for that to happen, as an entire committee of professors at USC had determined that I was one of the best candidates for the position I was up for.

After that fated interview, I was left reeling and wondering why on earth lightning had struck and left me a bumbling fool. And I realized why.

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I lose myself when I pin all my hopes and dreams to one company, as though it’s going to solve all my problems and define my self-worth. This type of mentality is kryptonite, no matter the object of your affections. It has never served me well. I am not able to communicate or connect with others effectively when my sense of self is compromised.

In having these realizations, I felt stronger, more clear-headed and graceful than ever in an interview with another potential employer a couple days after learning the news about the lost opportunity. I am more confident in how I performed in this interview than in any that I have ever had.

Moral of the story: Nobody and nothing is worth losing YOU over. And it won’t pay off in the end, anyhow!

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