Thursday, February 17, 2005

Congratulate Me

i gots a new job, like a real full-time, permanent position. my sexy freelance lifestyle will soon end, and i will join the ranks of other corporate schlubs who work in downtown Los Angeles high-rises not meant to exist in earthquake-landia. but what can i say -- they made me an offer i couldn't refuse. i interviewed there three times with a whooping 9 people for a total of 12 hours under the microscope. i also took a bunch of tests. i would come home exhausted after these interviews, especially since they usually began at 8 am, an hour this freelancer hadn't seen in many months. and it took a couple months to even get here, with all the checking references, faxing over transcripts and evaluating everything. i'm just happy to be done with the process. corporate whoredom officially begins march 14.

oh, yes. what is the job about, you ask? good question. well, i don't want to say the name of the company here, so if you're deathly curious, email me and i'll tell you. let's just say it's in the financial sector (i know, it's so me) doing editing (which is so me). it's mostly web work. i've been very impressed with the company and its employees, truly. everyone i've spoken with has been so genuinely nice that it feels like twilight zone over there, despite it being a corporate place with business attire and finance on the brain. and i can keep the stud in my nose intact. (though it's so '90s, perhaps i should finally take it out?)

anyhow, after so many interviews at new company and at other companies for jobs i didn't get/take, i've learned quite a bit about the finer points of the crazy interviewing process, and this information is just too valuable to sit on so i wanted to share with y'all:

-- look as asexual as possible, especially if you're a woman. this meant turtlenecks and oversized blazers for me. i also put my hair up and wore neutral makeup. slightly tight sweaters that highlight jiggling tits are bad. they will make the women hate you and the men not listen to anything you have to say.

-- use fancy terms like "career trajectory" and "job mastery." use them repeatedly with each new person who interviews you.

-- when they ask you if you have any questions, always ask the interviewer about his or her own background and experience with employment and with the company. they eat it up. people just love talking about themselves, so keep it going by asking follow-up questions about their lives. watch your stock rise.

-- mention you have a dog. mention it to each new person you interview with. i once took a screenwriting class where the professor said that a trick to making a character more likable was to give him a dog. most people love dogs and want to have one themselves but can't because their place is too small/they're never home/don't have a yard/yadda yadda. discuss it with them, and then mention that your dog's name is juice. people love the name.

-- when asked about where you see yourself in five years, say that you're very ambitious but open to how that's going to play out in the future. that shows employers how flexible you are, and how you're there to fill the needs of the company instead of your own needs. adapt = adept.

-- practice your firm handshake with friends; and consult the mirror for perfecting these common interview faces: the captivating look, the nod of approval, the puzzled-ready-to-ask-you-a-question face, the pleased-with-your-answer face, the smile that accompanies your firm handshake, the nice-to-meet-you smile, and the smile and little wave you give before you leave someone's office.

-- don't ever yawn during an interview, even though it's 8 in the morning and you drank too much wine the night before just to be able to fall asleep at 10 pm, but still couldn't fall asleep at 10 pm because that's way too early for you to be sleeping, so you tossed around in bed for hours before finally falling asleep at 1 am only to get up at 6 am so you could begin pumping yourself full of coffee that's made you kinda jittery and has upset your stomach because there's too much wine in there left over from the night before. also, don't put your hands in your mouth, nose or pants during an interview.

-- this last one is really tricky and very situation-specific: don't seem too smart, nor too dumb. how to play this one depends largely on the interviewer, so one must feel out the vibe first. i hate to admit it, but it also depends on gender. more men than women have hired me in my career, and that's not because there are more men in management. it's about perceived threat, and this, sadly, is where my ladies fail me. i love strong women, but not all other strong women do, so i've learned to tone it down a bit during interviews with women and seem more like a faithful disciple than a worthy competitor. with men, it's the opposite -- i bring it up to keep the focus on the brain, not on the breasts, which is why oversized blazers are essential. and anything that could be misconstrued as flirting (with men or women) is absolutely verboten.

look at all these pearls i'm giving you. i should write a column. oh wait, this is my column and, at this point, my only creative outlet. i'll keep that in mind as i slave away downtown crunching numbers (i hate that term) and editing the praises of various mutual funds.

but no, really, i'm pleased with this new turn. i'm craving the stability this will bring. i'm looking forward to getting to know my co-workers and learning about a new industry. i need those medical, dental and vision benefits and those steady paychecks. i'm more ready now than i was a year ago for something so permanent, and i'm glad i waited for the right time and the right opportunity. this news is very terrific. it's more than a job; it's the start of my career, and i'm ready to kick ass.

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