I had a series of interviews a few weeks ago. I will share my experience with two of them. When I was called to schedule the interviews I was filled with dread. I have never really liked interviews, they remind me of the uncomfortable conversations I used to have with my dreaded paternal grandmother.
Nyar Othim wasn’t one to mince her words, not because she was senile, her filter seemed to be set on default of mockery and condescension. The only time her speech was flowery was when she knew you would receive money or if you were the child of one of her prosperous children. But that too was flaky; it was always about what she got out of it that mattered. Gossip, shopping – what in my village is aptly called “boxie” or “carton”. This generally refers to grocery shopping which was mostly packed in a cardboard box. Bulk shopping isn’t very common in rural areas, so when one arrives with a “boxie” it’s large quantities of ingredients for expensive delicacies, like chapatis, which was rare as a child. Wheat flour was damn expensive for most. It was an annual treat at Christmas, not so much anymore. I digress. It’s large volumes of sugar, tea leaves, cooking oil and not the cheaper cooking fat and a list of other groceries to last at least two months if used properly. If Nyar Othim is your grandma, you pray you are never on the receiving end of the bragging and mockery.
Every conversation – I probably shouldn’t call it that – it was more like an interrogation was just a way to give her fodder to tear someone down or brag. I never liked visiting her from the first time I met her at the age of 5 years. There really was nothing you could do to please Nyar Othim. Because what she seemed to love most was never really your person, it was your pocket.
Job interviews feel the same for me, I always feel like a tool for someone else’s dream; never a partner in building someone’s vision.
The first job, to be honest, when I researched again after the numerous applications to see exactly what I had signed up for, I dreaded. I honestly just wanted the paycheck. The general spiel of why I applied for the job outside of that was just B.S. And I don’t mean Bible Study. I guess that came out at the interview. Asking me to regurgitate my CV, what I love about the company, what makes me the best candidate spiel is so redundant and what I feel is just a waste of both our time. Interviews need to get more creative.
The second interview was different, it was a conversation, I got to know the history of the, would be, boss. I got to know so much about his work experience, his dreams and drive. He walked me through the history and ambition of the organisation and I genuinely got intrigued. I felt like if I was to actually work there, I would be working towards building something. After he wrapped up giving me this detailed background; it was my time to pour out my heart.
As I spoke about my experience in the varied aspects of the communication field, getting unusually comfortable; I mentally went to a place I hadn’t been in a long time. I started to recall the dreams I had that had been thwarted over time. That conversation revived my life dreams, the stuff I penned down 6 years ago in my notebook in capital red. At the time I penned them down I had no idea how I would achieve them. But as I spoke, I realized my experience thus far had provided me with the foundation to begin to build my dream.
My eyes brightening, my back straightening, my voice rising higher and higher, I had been pulled out of a mental cave I had no idea I had retreated to.
My would-be boss gave me a puzzled look. I knew his question. I had vocalized my dreams, but his need wasn’t really a match with my path. I had to admit it out loud to him. I had to be honest with myself and more so with him. He is running a business, not a charity; he needed manpower convicted with a dream in line with his. I wasn’t the perfect fit. We both admitted it. The position wasn’t mine to fill.
Those two interviews made me realise, a time does come in life when you can no longer bull shit your start to building your dream. It is difficult, opposition at times is paralyzing. But whoever had an easy start?
I learnt that now was the time to put myself out there packaged as where I intend to go. This is not necessarily “faking it till you make it”, it’s more about becoming who I know I am. It is an interesting revelation. I can no longer bitch about less talented people making it to the main stage, I need to define and propagate my truth to the world, building the empire I dreamed of 6 years ago!
So what’s the point of all this? We need to begin to verbalise our thoughts and hear them. It reminds us of what we need to do right to live our true destiny and not cower to the mediocrity that surrounds us, and falsely states a claim as the best our society can offer. We are better than we believe we are. We just need to put the really hard, unfavourable yet rewarding work into it! To living our destiny!