Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What the Application SHOULD Have Said...

Ya'll know I've been looking for work, right? So I was extremely excited when I ran across this really great job post the other day. The position is a social media assistant kind of thing and it sounded like the most Wonderful. Job. Ever. The position requires that I would be using the skills I have developed thus far in my life, including writing, marketing, customer service and internet related talents, but more importantly, I would be able to improve upon those skills with limitless opportunities to learn more and do more within the blogosphere, to which we all know I am hopelessly addicted. On top of it all, the writer of the job posting made the office sound like a really upbeat and hip place where I would truly enjoy working with everyone and where I could be myself and genuinely thrive. People, this job would be the perfect vehicle to my becoming the Social Media Maven I so aspire to be!

I know! How often does the perfect job opportunity come along at the right time in your life when you actually know what you want to do and actually have some of the skills to do it? Okay, well, actually those opportunities come along a lot for a lot of people around the world, I guess. I think it's called a promotion. The point is, at a time when I am a little "iffy" about how to jump off of the SAHM wagon and rejoin the working ranks, this particular situation seems like a perfect fit. So yeah! I was uber-excited! So much so that I sat down and immediately set to typing up the email they requested telling them why I am such an excellent candidate for the job!

It was the first time in a few months that going back to work actually felt doable and fun. And then it happened. The thing I swore I wouldn't let happen when I decided to just "go for it" with this application. My brain hiccuped and I started second guessing myself. Every word sounded wrong. Every sentence felt belabored and trite. I ceased to be a fluent writer and instead became a poster child for Moms with ADD. My fingers couldn't find the correct keys and suddenly the inner back-up band that provides the energizing and supportive music in my head quit playing "I'm Walkin' on Sunshine" and started playing "Taps."

Well, after a few hours of struggling, realizing I was nothing more than a big, fat hot mess, I just shut down and in a flurry of tears, tired and desperate to come across as anyone other than a fat, non-singing version of Amy Winehouse, I ended up sending an email that I'm pretty sure missed the mark. I let the stress of "having to get this one absolutely perfect" be my driving force and in doing so I'm afraid I may have bombed out.

A few days later I started rehearsing the things I should have told this hiring manager about myself the first time around. With no pressure, the words and ideas flowed easily and all made sense and I sounded like this really intelligent, well-rounded, capable human being with a great sense of humor and an even greater desire to succeed in this internet fueled media. I was suddenly the skilled wordsmith I purported to be in my resume and I had enough confidence to say so with no compunction about my choice to stay home and raise my kids for a few years rather than pursue a journalistic or corporate career of some kind. I was able to discuss the fact that while my inclinations toward entrepreneurship have been a discouragement to some who are afraid I might be a reluctant employee, I see those desires to build as assets that allow me to take an idea, develop it and run with it. On the other hand, I am also a very good employee and team player who is able to take direction well.

When the little interviewer in my head asked me to talk about my work history and how the various jobs prepared me for this social media position, I quickly referenced and then articulated situations from every job I have ever held, whether it was taking care of racehorses or meeting a CEO at the airport between connecting flights with his forgotten luggage, that have taught me something about working hard, about working smart and most importantly about taking care of your clients. I was able to show how all of my past experience has truly prepared me for this "perfect" position. Cleaning stalls and grooming horses taught me routine and good work habits, compassion and the importance of communicating with owners and businessmen regarding their investments. Hostessing afforded me opportunities to deal with uptight people and I learned how to resolve customer complaints quickly. Graphics allowed me to nurture my creativity and my desire to think outside of the box. Typesetting fostered a desire for precision and error free work and drove home the importance of how words look as well as how they sound. Working in an art department as an expediter helped hone my organizational and scheduling skills along with teaching me how to mediate issues between two departments. My stints in a call center environment helped me develop patience beyond what I thought I had, as well as sharpen valuable communication and problem-solving skills. That job also made me very aware of the importance of exercise because sitting on your butt all day does bad things to your body. And starting my own business doing errands for people allowed me to know my clients on a more personal level, to use my previously gained skills to create something of my own and to recognize where my weaknesses lie as a leader. I'll leave raising kids out of the equation for now, because really? I could go on for hours about how they have prepared me for a career. And it's not because they have driven me so crazy that I am ready to get away from them. Well - at least most days that's not the reason I am ready to go back to work.

In addition to all of these relevant bits of information, in my dreamworld interview I was also able to describe my goals for the future: In addition to finding a home with a company that offers me the opportunity to provide a great income/life for my family by doing something that I love, I relish the idea of staying on top of cutting edge social media technology and being involved in the medium to such a degree that I am able to influence how it continues to develop and how it can be used to help business and families thrive in a computer and internet driven era.

Everything I have done career-wise has led me to this point in my life where I am able and willing to jump whole-heartedly into a trade that is filled with wonder and excitement, and which allows me to use the skills I have developed through a lifetime of looking for my niche. And I really feel like I have found my niche.

In the end, here's what I wish I would have said: "Internet and Social Media is my element and these are my people. I feel at home and happy when I am writing 3 blog posts, Twittering while posting to Facebook and reading emails asking for product reviews, etc. I feel like I was born to it. I just need the opportunity to learn from the masters so I can take my place in the Social Media arena."

It all seems so easy now. Why wouldn't my brain think of these things 5 or 6 days ago? Actually, I know the answer to that. It's because I want to do what makes me happy. The Internet, social media, blogging, writing, being creative - they all make me happy. And in my zeal to snag the perfect job, I let myself get overworked about the whole thing.

But whatdya do? What's done is done, right? Writing about it helped me gain some needed perspective and I have a much stronger sense of who I am and a much clearer vision of what direction I want to go now, so I guess all is not lost.  What's the old saying?  The app which does not kill us makes us stronger?  I'm STILL HERE, people!!  I'm still here.


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