Category Archives: Job Hunt/Interviews

Superstition: It’s Only Weird

In college, I always wanted to do a study on the difference between OCD and superstition. I feel that people with OCD or with superstitions believe that if they don’t perform a certain ritual or wear a certain dirty sock on their left foot (for example) that something bad is going to happen to someone they love, their team, or themselves.

Here, let me bore you with some definitions. The United States National Library of Medicine defines OCD as,

“An anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).”

“Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.”

Dictionary.com defines superstition as,

“Irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with
religion. (Fear of the unknown also known as anxiety)

“A belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.”

Aside from various social stigmas, I won’t get into what differences are (probably because they would refute me), but it sounds to me that both compulsions and superstitions arise from valuable, convenient, coincidences thusly rendering them tangibly useless.

Wow. What was even the point of all of that?

As an athlete and sports fan, I am superstitious. When I played volleyball, if we won a match, I would wear the same pair of socks (after washing them) until we lost and the socks lost their spark. Athletes also have certain routines whether they’re shooting a free throw, serving a volleyball, or about to take an at bat in baseball. Seriously, watch any baseball game and you’ll see the batters un-velcro their gloves, then re-velcro them, then spit, then hit their foot with the bat, then blink 4 times, then spin in a circle, then curtsy, but I digress. I’ve come to realize that I have picked up various superstitions or rituals when it comes to applying for jobs. Perhaps being superstitious or compulsive or WHATEVER is what is deterring me from greatness. Therefore, I am going to stop thinking I can control every freggin’ aspect of my life (and other people’s lives for that matter). Ohhhh, so that’s what my dad pays my therapist for. See, things are already coming together.

Okay I’ll start now.

I have an interview, Friday. See, old me would have thought revealing such information would jinx my chances. Also, I’m getting a haircut today so that’s pretty big. I guess we’ll see if it all works. Wait; is explicitly not having superstitions another form of a superstition? Shit damn it.

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If Then Statement (Quick Vent Session)

If companies are only looking for interns currently pursuing an undergrad degree and are only looking for full-time employees with 5-10+ years experience, then what the heck are recent grads with three internships under their belt supposed to do?!

Thank you.

Please feel free to provide some insight to this burning question. My rent and sanity depend on it.

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How To Get Hired Without Standing Up

I’ve decided that once I get a big-girl job, I’m going to write a book entitled, “How To Get Hired Without Standing Up.”

To put it gently, my internship is very low maintenance, low-demand, boring. It’s at a production studio so perhaps the laction (lack of action) is circumstantial. I ask my supervisors for things to do, but they never have anything to give me despite how busy they all claim they are. Maybe they think I’m stupid. Either way, I am here every other day with eight hours to kill (including my lunch hour, thank god).

Lately, I’ve started posting articles on BuzzFeed which has proven to kill the first half of my day pretty seamlessly. I posted an article on Monday which since then has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter and currently has close to 45,000 views. All I did was take screen-shots of Google automatic fill-ins. I literally did nothing to contribute to it besides compiling them and posting them. I guess that’s what counts these days. I’ve recently achieved the accolade of Top 50 Community Contributors (whatever that means). My best friend and g-chat  counterpart  sent me a job posting to work for BuzzFeed as a blogger/editor. I said, why the hell not and applied for the job. I’ve done all of this in a chair. I’m anxiously awaiting to hear back from the BuzzFeeders.

I’ve been at this internship since December and have applied close to 30 jobs. I’ve applied through LinkedIn and through company websites. I’ve had email correspondences with recruiters and the like. Most of the jobs I applied for were for corporate companies through a generic generated form so I don’t expect to hear back unless someone falls asleep at their computer, smacks their head on the keyboard and by some stroke of odd luck, wakes up to my resume on their screen. I have had some luck with this process though. As fairly well-known digital advertising agency contacted me for a phone interview (which went well) and then they called me in for an in-person interview (which I thought was to seal the deal), but they decided to hire from within or freeze the position or something whatever. It didn’t work out, but if anything, it proved that when a pair of eyes got on my resume, it was impressive enough for an interview. Imagine a world where humans dealt with resumes right off the bat. I’d have like 50 jobs. I hate robots. I’d say my record for the job hunt is a soft 1 for 1. I didn’t get the job, but that wasn’t due to me. At least that’s what I tell myself when I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

I’m not really sure if applying to more jobs heightens my chances of getting a human to look at my resume, but while I’m here, sitting doing nothing, I might as well.

P.S. If you’re interested in checking out my BuzzFeed Page and/or article, I’ve posted the links below!

Page: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danielledweck

Article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danielledweck/a-comprehensive-list-of-what-americans-want-to-kno-8y0m

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How To Not Get Hired

The process of interviewing for a job is a lot like being on the show, “The Voice.”

  1. Thanks to YouTube, your talents are recognized and they invite you to audition
  2. With their backs facing you, you perform so they can hear you “sing”
  3. If they liked what they heard, their chairs turn around so they can look at you
  4. Then they put you on the show
  5.  You lose or…
  6.  You win and no one hears from you again

On the off chance that Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo aren’t vying for your vocal chords, the job process goes as follows:

  1. Your parents tell you to apply for a job
  2. You go onto LinkedIn
  3. You apply for a job
  4. If you aren’t a complete fuck-up, you get an email asking when they can call you for a phone interview
  5. If the phone interview goes well, they invite you to come into the office and meet with the people you would potentially be working with
  6. Then they drag it out for two weeks and tell you that they decided to hire someone internally
  7. Rinse (cry) and repeat

Step 6 happened yesterday.

I wish I didn’t have to hold back and be professional when talking with recruiters/interviewers. I want to be real with them and be able to say, “Listen sister (or brother), Let’s not beat around the bush here. No one likes bullshit. I’m not going to apply for a job that I am underqualified for and you wouldn’t have brought me in here if you didn’t think I was qualified. I know you know I’m not stupid. I will do this job better than anyone else. I’m a buried fucking treasure. You can take my word for it. Thank you.” Maybe I’ll change my cover letter to just that followed by my second favorite quote when it comes to writing*,

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

-William Strunk Jr., Elements of Style

I think my next blog post will just be a screenshot of my resume.

* My first favorite quote regarding writing is by one of my favorite authors, KV, “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Nothing

There is one more thing that I’m grateful for that I intentionally failed to mention in my previous post.

I’m grateful that I’m a “creative-type” and not something significantly more practical and lucrative like a banker or lawyer.

Granted, it’s taken me about 22 years to finally embrace this gift of mine. Before now, I thought I could force myself to be interested in something involving numbers or formulas, so I can have a job and be financially well-off, and then once I was rich enough to retire at around age 40, I could then do what I would actually be happy doing like writing comedy or travelling. I made it through one and a half economics classes before learning that while I could force myself to be interested in economics, I could not force myself to be good at it.

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I’d describe myself as a well rounded – not in stature, but in intellect and other facets. I received the same score on each section of the SATs…twice (800s across the board, duh). My favorite courses in college were my creative writing classes and my biology classes. I’m also ambidextrous which means nothing. Just kidding, you should be jealous about that, it’s awesome. Want to see a picture of me? It’s next to the term “cross-dominance” in the dictionary.

I am unhindered as far as coordination and interests go and there are certain things I naturally excel at like writing and being funny – obviously. Then there are things I could be improve in if I cared to, like math and using the word “like” less. Then, there are things that I should just steer away from all together like financial accounting and multiple-choice tests.

Yesterday, my friend (a fellow creative-type) asked me if I regretted not pursuing something like medicine or finance. Instantly I said, “No! Pragmatists have no fun. Doing something creative is way cooler than being good at chemistry!” I disregarded the fact that my banker roommate and my biochemist friend were sharing the couch with me. I do believe that scientists utilize a different kind of creativity. I don’t think I can “regret” something that I was born with and wasn’t my choice to have. Wow, my friend Gloria was right. This reads a lot like an “It Gets Better” script. Let me clarify – I’m not saying it gets better, mostly because it hasn’t yet, and I don’t like to lie if I don’t have to. Let me clarify – I lie if I have to.

Creativity is in my blood. My dad is a former creative director at an ad agency turned photographer and my mom was a badass producer at another ad agency. My step-mom is the daughter of an engineer so creativity is also in my step-blood. This gift wasn’t my choice, but if it were, I would still choose it. Creatives are rarities. Sure, everyone sees things in unique ways, but creatively driven people see things in better, unique ways. I will take being a part-time waitress, a part-time unpaid intern splattered with perpetual uncertainty and anxiety in exchange for one day being one of the most respected creative minds of my generation along with world domination.

So, things I’ve learned this year:

  1. I’m creative, and that’s something I’ll never be able to shake
  2. Doing something I’m good at, won’t necessarily make me happy
  3. I shouldn’t pursue something I’m bad at
  4. I shouldn’t give up.

Peace out 2012, and a big Fuck You!

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Potty-Training

WARNING: For those of you happy with what you accomplished in college and are thusly content with your life now, don’t read this and I hate you*.

* Just kidding**

** No, I’m not

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I had an interview about two months ago with the Head of Strategy at a big-ass advertising agency. Granted, it was an informational interview, but an interview nonetheless. He asked the first go-to interview question, “So tell me about yourself,” so I did. Then we got into a discourse about what his role was at the company, what he looks for in an employee, blah blah, and then he asked, “so tell me about your group of friends.” I held myself back from a witty quip like “oh, am I boring you” or something like that, but I kept it professional. So I said, “Well, my best friend is about to travel to South Sudan to help facilitate mediations with the Sudanese. She moved here from Bosnia when she was 13 – genocide refugee – learned her English from Boy Meets World – pretty average person overall. My other friend is a former circus performer (contortionist), and is now a phenom hula-hooper. My other best friend is doing cancer research at Harvard – also average.” I think this was the first time I’ve had to describe my friends like that. This “exercise” triggered a profound thought, “I’m so fucking average.”

I was an average college student. Sure, I played collegiate-level volleyball all four years, but I never did anything truly resume-worthy. I guess I didn’t really know what college, especially my college, was for. I didn’t know that college was a place to apply for grants and attempt to save the world from evil dictators or soft drinks. If I did know that college was for all of that, no, I probably still would not have applied for grants, because I’m not really a “save the world” kind of person. Maybe I would have tried to go on an excavation in Madagascar or Egypt to find fossils or tombs, but I digress. For the past several months, it seemed as though I just went through college without doing something extraordinary. I guess college seemed like a big waste. Looking back at myself looking back on college, it was not a waste. I surrounded myself with brilliant, funny, worldly, creative thinkers who continue to make me better. I also got to live in the great state of Minnesota for four years which made me appreciate temperatures above zero degrees. For real though, if you’re like me, or like the me of the last several months, thinking college was pretty much a wash, you’re wrong…or you’re not. I don’t know you so I can’t really make that call.

I didn’t do something in college like travel to Dakar or discover a new species of dinosaur, I’m thinking that my twenties can be the time to do that. I have friends that are the farthest people from average, and that is something I will continue to embrace. Sure, I need to focus on the baby steps first like getting a real person job and being financially stable – all right, maybe those are a little bigger than baby steps. Let’s call it potty-training. I need to focus on getting potty-trained and wiping my butt, before I can pull up my pants and do something I’m truly proud of. I can talk about how great my group of friends are until I’m blue in the face, but I want to brag about myself in an interview without lying.

Although I’m a toddler as far as being a twenty-something goes, I’m learning that just because college is over, the opportunity for adventure is not. I’m freaking twenty-two years old! Life is only just beginning now.

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