Crap! Oh, Well.
So, I've been going around saying things like, "Oh, well. It's good that I at least got an interview," and "oh, well, this way I'll have more time over the summer to move and house-hunt," and "oh, well, I'm sure I'll get another job," but the truth is, I don't feel "oh, well," at all. I feel more like: Crap! Crap! Crappity crap crap! Because I really wanted this job. I liked the people who interviewed me, and I liked the scope of duties, and I liked the workplace itself, and I liked the location and the hours, and I think I could have done a really good job for them. Aside from how it would have been nice to be, you know, earning an actual paycheck right off after the move. So, well, crap.
And even though it's Sunday, whenever the phone rings or I see that I've got a new e-mail, I think: maybe it's them! Telling me they want me! Oh, joy! And then: crap. Crappity crap. Not them. So if you called and I've sounded vaguely disappointed to hear from you in the last couple of days, my apologies; it's not personal.
That said, it's been nine years since I've done any applying for jobs, and I find that my attitude has changed a lot in that time. I remember applying for library jobs right out of graduate school, and feeling incredibly anxious and stressed about the application process and particularly about interviewing. It felt like the worst possible kind of exam, one where the rules were unwritten, and sometimes unspoken, and you had to mind-read what the testers wanted, and everything counted: your clothes and your smile and the way you answered completely random questions and even what you forgot to say. And only one person could pass.
Now, having worked at one job for nearly a decade (a job, by the way, for which my interview was only so-so at best but for which I happened to apply at the right time), and having interviewed or been part of the interview or evaluation process for other new staff, and having seen people come and go, I don't really think it's like a test any more: it's more like a date. If they pick you for an interview, it means they think your qualifications are strong; the interview itself is a lot about seeing if you all click. It's not that it's wrong to prepare-- I prepared for this one, and I think I prepared as well as I could have--but that it's not about trying to do a big tap-dance to try to get them to like me.
Because after the application, and after the interview, these are the people I'll be having to actually work with if I get the job, so if I have to be all fakey to get them to like me during the interview (by which I don't mean being polite, or tactful, or diplomatic, but the kind of desperate second-guessing fakey that I've sometimes felt I had to put on during interviews) then that's a bad start to what can be a very complex and intense relationship.
So at this interview, I tried hard to show the interviewers my best self, and to show off what I'm good at, and to make the most of what rapport I felt with them (the fact that this wasn't hard to do is one reason I really wish I'd gotten the job). But I didn't stress out too much about whether I was coming off as What They Wanted. I figured if I wasn't really what they wanted, and I got the job, I'd hate it anyway, and they wouldn't like me once they found out what I was really like, and that's no way to spend 40 hours a week.
And, you know, these people might have liked me just fine; they seemed to. But they were interviewing four people, and they only have one job. I figure I didn't blow it; I just didn't get it. This time.