Interview questions

“Think of a time that you were in a stressful situation at work, and tell me how you handled it.”

“What do you consider to be your weaknesses?”

“Tell me about a time you had to choose something else over doing a good job.”

“If you were an animal, what kind would it be and why?”

The interview question. I don’t even know what to say about the interview question. Does it matter? Can you gauge a person’s aptitude, willingness to work, good behavior, ethics, attention to detail, etc. off an interview? Human Resources departments would say yes, undoubtedly.

I’m not convinced. I’ve seen some slick monkeys give amazing answers to these questions. You know what slick monkeys use their slickness for in the workplace? Sliding out of responsibilities.

What’s an animal in the trenches? An elephant? A donkey? That’s not a sexy animal to be. (I didn’t mean to take the animal thing and run with it. But I grabbed the metaphor and it grabbed me back.)

But seriously – how can you gauge talent? It has to come down to a feeling. Sure, sometimes something slick will slide by you, and you won’t catch it until you’re undoing some mess  that’s been made. And, more often than not, you’ll be passing on honest-to-goodness qualified talent, because you just can’t hire everyone that would do a great job. You’re going to watch them get away, and you shouldn’t even give that a second thought.

I like the Google example in The Internship. In deciding whether to admit to seasoned (nee, old) out-of-work salesmen into the internship program, one of the reviewers asked, “Our final judgment is always based on the layover test, right? Who would you rather be stuck next to at an airport bar for a six-hour delay?”

Maybe that person is the next golden goose for your company, and that’s no bull… (I’m done, I swear.)

Maximizing energy

I’m a little over a month in to a new sales job (one of my many avenues for income). I’m on a strict schedule, mostly, and my mornings are starting much earlier than I’ve been used to over the past four years. So, I’m tracking my energy through an Excel spreadsheet, along with other metrics that I think will influence my well-being and state of mind.

Sleep hours, quality of food, quality of day, supplements taken, and creative hours are among the metrics that I’m listing. I may even start breaking down each meal and time I take it in to see where my energy peaks and troughs are. This may sound somewhat obsessive, but biohacking has been an interest of mine for several years now. It’ll be fun to play around with my performance habits.

The bookmark

My last employment contract ended with two-months paid vacation, a box of business cards I shredded, and a stack of bookmarks from last season’s shows. And after thinking on the bookmark, I decided to keep them. Because, when I grab a new book off the shelf and start reading, I may make it 15 or 20 pages and then put it back. It’s not the book I’m devoting myself to now, just a quick jaunt into another author’s thought process. With these readily available bookmarks, I’m not scrounging for scrap paper, using stick notes, or dog-earing a page.

So, though the employment may have gone afoul, thanks for the bookmarks. And the paid vacation time. 

 

I’m 35… Now what?

For starters, here’s the chestnut from back in May: “By 35, you should have twice your salary saved, according to retirement experts”

Huh… Click the link to read all the Twitter responses. I don’t even know what to say to that.

What I do know is that, no, I don’t have twice my annual salary saved. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually cashed out two retirement accounts in the last ten years. One was to help pay for my M.A., the other to fund my first international travel excursion. (And marriage, but that’s a whole different saga…)

I am rebuilding my retirement accounts, utilizing Acorns and Stash. Is it a lot? No. But do I set aside money each month for my future? Yes. And that’s an important distinction.

There are many issues with growing up, being an adult, and living life nowadays. I’m not saying that there haven’t always been challenges. I know there has been. Parents having to walk up hill, both ways, in the snow to get to school.

But seriously, we now have more access to just about everything. Health care, fresh produce, jobs, instructional videos, housing, distant friends and family, etc. We gave up degrees of privacy, downtime, upward mobility, living within our means, and community.

Being 35 in 2018 is almost science-fiction compared to being 35 in 1918. Imagine what a 35 year-old in 2118 will experience!

So I’m left with the question – what will I do? What will I do with the next 35 years of my life? What will I become? What do any of us do with the time we have?

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.”

– Martha Graham

Job hunting

I’ve been actively seeking a job for about a month. The current telecommunications work I’m doing has me traveling to much, and enjoying it too little. I’m reshaping my life. Lifestyle design, as Tim Ferriss calls it.

It’s odd, how things line up. When I started reading 4-Hour Work Week, I was in my final weekend of Evita. The show about Argentinian Eva Peron, and here the author is talking about tango in Argentina.

Some might call it coincidence. But I call it serendipity. My life has been filled with too many “coincidences” for it not to be something more.

For instance, I’ve never found a job looking for one. Yet, I’ve been working since I was 15. And in numerous positions. Somehow, every time I need a job, I get offered one. When I’m not even looking.

The past month nothing has come available for me. And yet over the past week, so much has happened. I’ll be hosting my own radio program (much like how Eva had her own weekly show in Evita…) and it looks like I may be going back into fundraising.

Without even trying. Serendipity.