Friday, June 7, 2013

An Interview

I was told during a phone interview today that I lack administrative experience. This was not volunteered feedback. I extracted it from the interviewer with a direct question: "Do you feel that there is anything that would disqualify me from this position?" Is that a gambit? Perhaps it is. I find directness helpful, because it cuts through the crap. I want useful feedback. If I don't get the job, give me a clue why. Otherwise the interview is of limited value. I am direct in all my questions. All I care about is whether my resume, cover letter, and presentation are okay. The rest has no meaning, because I can research to find the answers to everything else.

Administrating programs and procedures and protocols? Surely I have done that in my life. What the remark suggests however is that there are applicants that are better known to the decision-maker, applicants with what is thought to be "administrative experience," possibly people that are already vouched for by someone known to the interviewer. The selection of that other will be justified by their "administrative experience."

My pride is wounded by applying for humble jobs with modest demands and being told I haven't the right experience for them. What, am I incapable of learning any new skill? Am I fossil already? Do my degrees and experience mean nothing? The answer is yes, my college degrees mean nothing, their value is zero or even less than zero. My experience means nothing either. No one thinks anything about computer programming, no one holds it in any special regard at all. All that matters is who one knows. What one knows is of less importance.

I was told there were hundreds of applicants just for this one little job paying twelve dollar an hour, and I was one of only fifteen called for a phone interview. Should I be flattered by that? Maybe. I'm not though. I'd really prefer not to have wasted my energy upon hoping for a better life. Oh, I had such eagerness--was almost giddy. I felt alert and aware. Yet it seemed that nothing I said impressed the listener, that she had heard it all before and was rather bored and disinterested. Never once did she offer any positive feedback. How I wish I knew someone that was close to her! That would have made all the difference, I'm sure. I could not get through the firewall. I had a strong suspicion she had already made up her mind to choose someone else, and I don't really know why she called in the first place. Perhaps she thought I was female and turned against me upon finding I was not. That seems to me a very likely scenario, because I know how clannish women can be. Many women strongly prefer to work with other women. So what she said was probably a convenient excuse, a white lie. There is really nothing I could have said or done to eliminate such a strong bias.

I am a good listener. I can read into choice of words and tone of voice pretty well, and I felt my chance was over and done. A black wave of despair passed over me the minute I put the phone down. It is times like this that I fear death not at all.

Writing about the experience helps. I feel better here at this last paragraph than I did at the first. Once one confesses to despair, that is the essential lever to lift the heavy burden from consciousness. Do not feed the despair. Do not drink. One must confess. Confession is good for the soul. "Yes, I have this wild feeling that things are hopeless, yes I feel like a drowning rat. Yes I feel that my talents are being wasted." With confession, the despair becomes an interesting unusual thing, like a sombrero, and one's curiosity is piqued. Why am I wearing this sombrero? I don't usually wear a sombrero. I will take it off. The hat fit me half an hour ago, but I think I'm over it now. I have such a good life. Yes, life is good. I do not need to wear the sombrero.

What fits me better is stoicism. We live, we die. That is all. As long as there are still good moments, free of pain, that is all one should expect.


Scott said...

Well I actually think anyone that can program is amazing. Don't judge yourself by what people pay you. Maybe you need to do some other things in your spare time like make good cheese and sell on weekends to people who like good cheese? Is programming a job or your passion?

I'm not sure if I could ever do an interview or work for anyone these days. I'd rather live under a bridge and peddle shoestrings for a living. I can feel your pain in your article.

Well thank you for your thoughts,

igor said...

Nowadays one really needs to know somebody in order to get a half-way decent job in the U.S. There were over a hundred applicants for just the one little job. I'm sure the successful applicant will know a friend of a friend of the decision-maker.

Eric said...

You're right about women wanting to work with with other women. I've had similar experiences.

I find that women in authority tend to be feminists, who by definition, favour other women when recruiting.

igor said...

However, all is not peachy in the feminist paradise. I have observed that women certainly do have conflicts with other women, sometimes quite bad ones... By discriminating against all men, regardless of their merit, there is a downside that unpleasant women get hired and begin to cause problems...

Eric said...

That's correct. Women in the workplace often hate each other, but when it comes to recruiting, they'd much rather hire an unknown woman than any man, if only for the chance that they'll get on well.

What annoys me, though, is that men in charge too prefer hiring women, simply because men are much more readily influenced by their hormones, and prefer young ladies to work in their companies.

This leaves poor old unemployed men with little hope, and I expect to see the number of women in the workplace far exceed that of men in the near future.

In England, where I live, 90% of people in the job centre (unemployment office) are men.

igor said...

Yes, there are tons of unemployed or underemployed men, both old and young, though there's nothing helpful about being old in the eyes of employers. There are scarcely any decent jobs around, and education counts for nothing. I feel that my college degrees are not worth the paper they were printed on.

techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions