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Job Interview Horror Stories: AT&T Ret(hell)

“I’m a customer,” she says. “Approach me.”

I hate role playing.

“I just walked in,” she says. “I’m looking at phones. Okay. Come over.”

If I had to choose between job interview role playing and polishing a trumpet while the trumpet player is trumpeting, I would choose the trumpet. Every time.

“Hi,” I smile, but oddly, like someone is holding a shiv to my side, “can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a phone,” she says. Her name is Sally. “Something new. Something really cool.”

“Do you like iPhones?”

“Okay. Stop right there. Ask what she currently has.” This is Sandra. She’s watching from the side, a few feet over at the table we were all just interviewing me at. “Meet them where they’re at.”

It’s always wise to learn from mistakes.

“What phone do you currently use?”

“The Dell Aero.”

“Oh.”

Some mistakes I’m happy to leave behind.

“But I don’t want the Dell Aero anymore.”

“Right,” I say. “Do you like iPhones?”

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My job hunting and interview history has left me with many regrets. Like, for instance, the time I applied to AT&T as a retail representative, somewhere in Washington state, circa 2010.

It didn’t start off very well either.

I was four minutes late. I remember that clearly.

Because I’m never late to a job interview. Never. Being early is a sacred cow. Show up with extra 15 minutes, at least. Acclimate to the office temperature. Slick the hair in the bathroom. Breathe.

I squeezed in this interview on my lunch break.

I was a produce clerk back then. I asked for an extended lunch. I left hastily, swapping a kale-stained apron in the car for a Van Heusen and a ten dollar pre-tied tie and driving 40 minutes.

The hope was to gain a bump from $8.50/hour to $9.25/hour. Totally worth it.

There was traffic probably. Either way you cut it, Sandra hated me the moment I waltzed in. She had me figured out: This guy comes late to interviews. It was all in the eyes.

Good thing, too, the interview lasted 40 minutes. Sally, the other one, she was alright. She gave me a little grace. But Sandra. Man. It was the most uncomfortable interview of my life. We all knew it wasn’t going to happen. While I can understand going through with the interview (everyone needs practice, even the interviewers), role play?

A total hail marry. Or maybe, let’s just make this guy squirm. That’s what you get for coming late!

“Kevin…?”

“Yes.”

“Sell me something.” (more…)

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Final Semester Eve: A Terrified Toast to the Known Unknown

I remember finishing high school PE. That final time ever, you know? A 10th grader at Arroyo Grande High School, CA—sitting on a bench in a quiet locker room, closing my locker for the last time, holding my gross (unwashed) blue and gold garments in a bunch, thinking, Wow, this is the last time I’ll ever change back into my regular clothes after a PE course in high school.

Sentimental, I know.

But it was a big deal to me, back then. To be honest, I don’t even know why. I hated PE.

It was gross and awful.

In high school, once you learn the guitar, exercising becomes pointless.

Anyway, there I was. Just sitting there. Staring at my clothes. “Momentous,” I mouthed.

I did the same thing when the last episode of LOST arrived. Before the episode even aired, I became melancholic. Like, “Wow, this is the last time I’ll ever be disappointed by LOST.”

You get the idea.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I start my final undergraduate semester at the University of Rochester. It should be one of those momentous moments, you know. But I don’t think it will be.

Something’s different.

Maybe I’m just getting older and wiser. Or colder. I’m still terrified, certainly. Terrified about everything that’s coming. But ephemeral moments of sadness about things coming to an end. I don’t know. Just not my thing anymore.

Finishing college, for instance, it won’t grab me like other finishing moments have. That’s my prediction, at least. School, to me, is and has been nothing more than an incredible inconvenience. I’ve appreciated the experience, sure, but it’s time to move on. I’m 28, I’m working already, I’m proving myself to the (real) world every single day. (more…)

Digital Reinvention Revolution (1)

Dear Job Market, or, Ode to the Digital Reinvention Revolution

It doesn’t matter how cool you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. When hunting for a job, you are a person in need of something that someone else has. That will never change. And until you get there you are a candidate on the sidelines, uncool and waiting. You hold your resume in your hand. You second guess every word, every bullet point, every comma.

The Internet comes along. It teaches us that nothing will ever be the same. For better, for worse.

The power shifts, just slightly.

Now: social media, infographic resumes, personal blogs, online portfolios, LinkedIN groups. A digital revolution to broadcast your personal brand, to make a splash, to recruit them to you!

The power shift! Good lord, I have so much power!

In the end, does any of it really matter? I wonder if anything has changed. Active networking and personal contacts, certainly, are as important as ever. And isn’t fate? A properly timed print-resume, or running into an old friend who works at a new company, or a chance encounter with a CEO in line while buying Dippin’ Dots.

Who knows, really, what it will all come down to. You certainly don’t. Either do I.

Hello, Dear Internet, Dear Job Market, and friend. 

My name is Kevin. If you’re new here, let me introduce myself:

I’m a lifestyle blogger, five years running now, and I’ve had some (albeit limited) success. During this time, I’ve also been pursuing college. The official term is “nontraditional student,” but really, that just means I’m old. 28, I know, isn’t ancient, but at a private university, when I’m first into a classroom, I’m often asked for the syllabus.

In May, I graduate. We, my wife and I, are hoping to move back to the West Coast. Currently, we’re in sunny Rochester, New York. You know, sunny as in Sonny. As in, the mob boss from A Bronx Tale. As in dead. It’s 5 degrees outside with a negative windchill of 15. (more…)

2014 Recap (2)

2014: See You Later, Alligator; 2015: Please Don’t Be a Reptile

The end of the year. How did this happen? One minute, I’m drinking champagne, the next, I’m drinking champagne again. One whole year, gone. Whoosh. Bam.

Throughout the year, it is important to take personal inventories. Did you grow? Did you fail? Will you do better? Writers like Peter Bregman suggest you should do this every day, for 18 minutes. For every other person on the planet, we do this once a year during New Years Eve.

It’s human tradition to procrastinate.

For me, 2014 was an incredible year. It was a hard year, of course. The most challenging year of my life, but worth it.

Here’s what I’ll remember

Growing

Literally. I gained 15 pounds. This is a HUGE deal for me. Up until recently, I’ve been the same weight since high school. I thought my wife was shrinking all my clothes in the laundry. Nope.

I don’t want to be huge or anything, but geez. I just want to be comfortable sitting in a chair.

Travelling

My time in the east coast may be coming to a close, so it made sense to make the most of my location. In 2014, I (i.e., my wife and I) embarked on as many road trips as possible. We also traveled a bit by air, seeing both familiar and new states.

On the road we hit Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio, Toronto, and almost every inch of New York State. Through the air we hit Texas, Washington, Idaho, and California. (more…)

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Christmas in NYC (Or, Kevin Lost in New York!)

I’m currently writing from the stunning Ace Hotel in midtown Manhattan. We are enjoying an upgraded hotel room with a view of the Empire State Building. Did Megan and I recently come into a large sum of money? Good question. Actually no. Credit card miles have covered the whole trip. And as a bonus, we originally booked a small room with no view and (hopefully) a toilet. To our wonderful surprise, the first room’s heater was stuck on high-heat, full blast, so the manager offered us a king size room on a higher floor with a better view. I like this place.

Also, a Stumptown cafe is located in the building (one of two in NYC), which is a wonderful surprise. In case you’re unaware, Stumptown is a Pacific Northwest coffee, so it’s great to have a taste of home on Christmas, even so far away.

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As a child, I watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and I’ve been dreaming of Christmas in the Big Apple ever since. Walking through snowy Central Park, eating a cheese pizza in a limousine, throwing a well-intentioned brick through the window of Duncan’s Toy Shop.

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Okay, so maybe it’s not really snowing. And I won’t be getting into a limousine anytime soon. And Duncan’s Toy Shop doesn’t really exist.

But here’s what does exist.

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Snowy Eyes & Ears: My Winter Break Book & Podcast Recommendations

It’s that magical time of year: the snow falls, the semester ends, cookies are everywhere. Best of all, I get to read and listen to non-homework related content! Suck it, Blackboard.

This is my last winter break ever, by the way. I’m finishing school in May. My goals include reading through my book list, catching up on podcasts, and returning to CodeAcademy to learn HTML and CSS. Oh yeah, I’ll also be preparing for a Pompeii-style resume distribution. (Shhh… be very, very quite. It’s job hunting season.) Also, are you hiring?

Sure, this is a big list to get through. How will I do it? A fresh case of Surge soda, will do. Also, you should help me conquer this list, we can be accountability partners. It’ll be like an entertainment support group. It’ll get us through the winter. I’ll bring the Surge.

Books

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The Spy Who Came in From the Cold—John Le Carre

I led off with this book for two reasons: 1) it has “cold” in the title, which relates perfectly to my winter theme and 2) my best friend’s fiancé said it was one of her favorite books. They’re not getting married until April, which gives me plenty of time. If the book sucks, I’ll have to shut down that wedding, Wayne Campbell style.

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