Not ready yet

On Friday I had a phone interview. I wasn’t really expecting a full-fledged thirty minute conversation about my past work experience and those cliché behavioral interview questions. I just knew it was a part-time work-from-home recruiting position. I was just planning to hear if the logistics would work for me, I wasn’t really prepared to explain how great I would be for them.

It was comical how terrible I was. I pride myself on acing interviews, as if that is some sort of skill: knowing what people want to hear and saying it with nicely prepared answers that are concise and the slightest bit witty, even. But not on Friday. Not only was I unprepared, I also just didn’t have any skin in the game. This is the first time I’ve interviewed without either wanting or needing the job.

I was nervous and kept stalling for time so I could think of examples. All the examples I used seemed so long ago that I couldn’t recall any precise details, as if I haven’t worked in a decade, when it’s actually been less than a year. I was all the things a recruiter hates: I rambled, I spoke negatively about a past employer (still bitter, apparently), my answers sounded like I was bullshitting her (and yes, I’ll admit, I was. I was too flustered to be genuine).

After it was over, I felt like I needed to do yoga for a second time that day because my back was all tense, my palms were sweating, and I just felt anxious. Not because I was pissed I botched it (I didn’t care about that), but because having to act a certain way to please someone else makes me anxious. I realized on Friday that I am not ready to again morph into that second person you have to be to work a professional job. I am not ready to lie to people and to give a shit about someone’s payroll deductions or to kiss the ass of some VP who I know is a dipshit. I am not ready to console some whiny lady or to answer applicant calls. I am too comfortable being myself to be that person.

It took me a full day to tell Steve and I had done a phone interview. We were out at a nice dinner on Saturday and I said to him, “I have to tell you something,” in a low and mysterious tone. He looked alarmed, and rightfully so as that phrase usually  means pregnancy, an STD, or a dalliance. When I regaled him with the phone interview experience, he looked relieved and then said to me, “you’re not ready yet.” He’s right. I’m not. And truthfully, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that again. It’s been nice living without that weight on my shoulders.

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