Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Etta James
"I'm open for business in your neighborhood;
The blues is my business, and business is good."

-Etta James

Plan to arrive a half an hour early. But don't do in. Drive around until you're five minutes early. If you're not early, you're late.

Your mind is going to want to think about how badly you need this job... any job. Even more, you're going to think about the one question you hope they do NOT ask, the dreaded "Why did you leave your last job?" When they ask - and they always do -- just say that it was a lay-off, shrug, and then ask a question before the interviewer does. And stop thinking about it.

Yes, you CAN stop thinking about it. Don't want fall for that purple elephant crap... just start thinking about your favorite boss and your favorite coworkers. Think about what you accomplished at your last job... and stop right there, do NOT think about how much more you could have accomplished with better management. Think only about things that make you smile, that make you strive into the interview confident and upbeat.

You can't let yourself get annoyed that you've been kept waiting for 40 minutes. Tell yourself that they are disorganized because they need help... hey, they need YOU.

When the guy you are scheduled to meet finally appears, he'll tell you that he's had "a crisis" and there's been "a blip." Instead of meeting with him, you're going to meet with someone named Crystal. This is a good thing, he tells you, because Crystal is "closer to the front lines." He shakes your hand, repeating, "It's a good thing," and hustles off. You can tell he's the sort of guy who tells everyone he jerks around that it's for the best, but you don't let yourself think that way.

Crystal appears 15 minutes later and introduces herself by correcting you -- "It's Krystela - with an 'a' on the end," and spells it. It's odd that her boss wouldn't know her name, but maybe she's new - after all, she looks like somebody who hung a tassle on the rearview of her Civic in the past weeks. Focus.

She takes you to the conference room and you'll be suspicious that it's because she doesn't have an office. Don't think that way. Just sit on the front of the seat, leaning forward - for you, the seat has no back.

She'll read your resume as she sits there, and it's obvious that it's the first she's seen of it. She says, "Why did you leave your last job?"

You'll fight the urge to over-explain, but then you notice that she's looking at her Blackberry and isn't really listening. You could say "I stapled my boss's lips shut so he'd stop interrupting me," and it wouldn't matter. But you just say, "lay-off" and shrug knowingly, then change the subject by asking her about her job. She'll say that she's an intern and is leaving next week for a trip to Mexico, so it's her last week.

Naturally, you'll want to feel discouraged, especially knowing that your wife and mother and mother-in-law will all be calling to ask how it went and then pretend not to blame you. So you'll lie and say it went great. And then you'll send a thank-you email and lie some more. And then you'll tell yourself the truth: somebody, somewhere needs your help and you're going to find that boss, no matter how many bad interviews it takes.

©2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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