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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Selling Myself

AKA - How Searching for a Job and Dating are the Same Since my move, I have been searching for a job. Being the Internet enthusiast that I am, I have been scouring the different big websites - Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com - along with some of the smaller Jewish sites and message boards. I can't even count how many resumes I have sent out, with quite a few calls back. But the interactions I have with those from whom I am seeking a job is so interesting. There are the recruiters and headhunters who try to shmooze you and tell you how wonderful and amazing you are - and then try to sell you on a position that is of no interest to you and pays much less than you can live off of. I worked in a headhunting office at one point, and the phoniness was more than I could swallow. Still, you never know where a job will come from, so you continue to smile and nod, and be polite while they give you advice that you don't really want. Then there are the actual interviews. For the jobs you really want. You have to get all dolled up, do your research on the position, be super-sweet and give them the answers they are looking for. In other words, you have to sell yourself. Which I have just never been incredibly comfortable with. I like being sincere, honest and authentic. When someone asks me what my weaknesses are, I hate trying to turn it around and make it into a positive. I want to tell the person, "I am not the most detail-oriented, I sometimes do things in a rush and I don't like working as part of a team, I would rather do things myself and get it done." But I can't do that in an interview. I hate getting dressed up in "professional attire" and putting on pantyhose and heels. Why does what I wear make a difference? I still have the same skills and complete the same tasks if I show up in a denim skirt (which was one of the incredible benefits to working in my last office). In dressing this way, I feel like I am not being myself, like I am putting on a show. How can a potential employer get to know what I would really be like when all they see is the facade? All of these frustrations turn up in dating as well. In first meeting someone, you are so careful to say the right thing, to impress, to not let your guard down. You try to please. You get dressed up, put on your make-up, and try to not let the person see through the veneer to your fears and insecurities inside. At least not at first, not during the initial "interview" period. But the truth is, for both job interviews and dating, you would be better off if you could be yourself, if your true strengths and weaknesses could come out, if you could let your guard down. Because then maybe you could talk reality - and discover whether things are a good fit or not. See if you could work together and create a symbiotic (wotd alert) relationship. But often it just never gets that far - you never get down to the real you, your authentic self, the relationship that could be. The pretending gets in the way. Or maybe it just wasn't meant to be in the first place. But with interviewing - and dating - I wish I could just be myself and get comfortable.

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