Compared to last year, a yard work activity took me half the time and drained my energy perhaps half as much, because I still did a 10-minute rowing set. I’m not as far along on my fitness journey as I would prefer, however, I’ve made significant progress toward getting there! Fast progress leads to failure. There’s no sustaining it. Long-term trends typically work because there’s less effort trying to maintain your status quo of success.
I think we fear interviews because of uncertainties. There are infinite factors outside of our control, and remember to “relax, nothing is under control.” What might be under your control? Yourself! Control your physical fitness by resting, eating well, staying hydrated, and arriving early. Control your mental fitness by finding something humorous to enjoy beforehand. Control the interview by preparing yourself with one flexible story that you can build on throughout the conversation. Here’s mine:
Jane’s first day back into a technical role began innocently. After meet-and-greets, her lead rambled through materials far above anything in her career scope, occasionally speaking another technical language. After realizing she was overwhelmed, she found an opening:
“Hey, umm… Gayle.”
“Oh, have a question about how I configured the Scribewise 88620 ports?”
“Yeah. I… didn’t understand any of that.”
“Yeah, I troubleshoot primarily Wilesware computers with customers.”
“Oh. Dear. You’re in the wrong job.”
If April Fools’s is our way to avoid taking life so seriously, what functions similarly in “The Story,” especially focusing on stress/destressing? Expanding outside of holidays, what comedy is popular, unpopular, and more important: what types of comedy do John (right) and Trishna (background) enjoy? John is a more serious individual. Does he enjoy sitcoms? Does Trishna amuse herself with punny jokes? Is silly Pollyanna (foreground) worth her weight in dog treats as a comedian?
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (personality considerations, character-building) WANNA READ ABOUT HOW COMEDY IS ACTUALLY A GREAT CHARACTER-BUILDING EXERCISE? WHAT HUMORS YOUR CHARACTERS IS ACTUALLY KIND OF INSIGHTFUL. CLICK HERE TO KEEP ON READING!
I don’t remember what stressed me out enough to possess me to drive home on my lunch break, drink enough 190-proof grain alcohol to get wasted almost immediately, before driving back into work to finish my shift. That event’s cleared out of my memory. It was certainly trivial, like someone saying something in a particular way I didn’t like or some process not working as it should, because I’ve encountered many harsher situations while sober.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about self-confidence through five years of sobriety, it’s valuing myself more. This isn’t an exclusive trait of sobriety. I’m just more resilient against merely going with the crowd now. If they’re all going to the bar to go drink, and I’m not feeling particularly strong-willed, I’m comfortable saying no. Also, if anything doesn’t feel quite right, I’m more comfortable voicing my opinion, because what have I got to lose?
Today marks five years since I last drank. I’ve since been in many bars, been around many people drinking, but have had good enough friends to respect me, and steward me through. “If I saw you with a bottle in your hand, I’d knock it out and ask ‘what the hell are you doing?’” My external resilience has enough fortitude to endure pretty much anything now. I think it’s the internal weakness that kills us.
There’s a phrase circulating professional sites: “people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.” Those bosses, and I’ve had two, were weak links in the corporate chain. Without proper inspection, they caused their whole department to fall into disrepair. With a little managerial lubrication, every employee works more efficiently. Similarly, if a rowing machine’s chain (if applicable) is under disrepair, your stats go down. If only bad managers could get a little maintenance like rowing machines.
I don’t meditate like most people. Traditional practice asks that you should empty your mind, clear your thoughts, and calmly sit. While I’ve had some success with this method for reaching thought equilibrium, I’ve had more success in float tanks (or when I have downtime) letting the errant thoughts freely roam, with the most success occurring after going in with challenging questions that need time to develop, like a photo of an unclaimed optimal future.
“Thanks for meeting with me today, Jane.”
“Before we begin, would you like any coffee, water, or tea?”
“No, I’m good. Much appreciated.”
“So I’m looking to help out our lead on the team. The successful candidate will do what she thinks is best to complete the work as quickly as possible. Is that something you’re willing and able to do quickly?”
“Yes. I adapt quickly!”
“Good, good. How soon can you start?”