My Worst Job Interview Experience

Cafe at Ohio Street Beach Chicago

Cafe at Ohio Street Beach Chicago

If you ask me how it went after an interview, I’ll usually say, “I think it went pretty good,” because early on I had an experience that really raised the bar so high for what constituted a “bad” interview so that nothing since has come anywhere close.

About a year ago I was contacted by a Chicago company looking for a graphic design intern. This was maybe two weeks after school ended. I thought, “Damn! This graphic design thing is going GREAT! I don’t have to do anything and the jobs are coming to me!” Yeah, May 2014 Beth was kind of an idiot. Phone interviews went great and a week later I went in to meet with the rest of the creative team. “Awesome! Job searching is THE BEST!” Shut up, May 2014 Beth.

Fast-forwarding through the start of the interview, I met with 3 of the firm’s creative team members. It wasn’t going all that awesome, but it wasn’t horrible. Just odd. I had the feeling I was being sized up as to whether I was worthy enough to hang with them. Then the forth member of our party walked in.

mean girls lunch table

“You can’t sit with us.”

I went over my background and he waved off looking at my portfolio. He started on a lengthy monologue telling me how their employees are born, not made and “it’s in the DNA to work with us or not” that was liberally sprinkled with profanity. Okay, I LOVE swearing. Half the titles in this blog have swears in them, but in a job interview? However, it just kept getting weirder.

When I told him my ultimate career ambition was to be a creative director he made an expression that can be called the, “Good Luck With That, Lady!” and launched another monologue about how I obviously didn’t understand the creative director’s role. It’s more then “making pretty pictures” and “throwing up a logo”  (sounds like it would rip up the esophagus something fierce) and I need to reconsider. May 2014 Beth was kind of stupid, but I knew I did NOT want to work for this guy. I don’t have time for people who shit on someone else’s ambitions.

Remember the profanity laden, “It’s in the DNA or it isn’t” monologue from 2 paragraphs ago? Well, he wasn’t finished. Let’s join the scene already in progress:

Douche McGee: Here at Jack Ass International (I maybe altered their names), we believe it’s in your DNA or not. You’re either one of us or you’re not. There’s no learning to be one of us. So, what I would like is to get to know you a bit better. What makes Beth tick? What sort of thing gets Beth going?

May 2014 Beth: Um…what are you asking? You want to know my hobbies?

Douche McGee: Well, for example, I see by your wedding ring, that you’re married.

May 2014 Beth: (thinking) Do I tell him it’s against the law ask me that? Eh. Just go with it. I don’t want to work here anyway.

May 2014 Beth: Yes, I am.

Douche McGee: Kids?

May 2014 Beth: (thinking)  WTF? Seriously?? I’m gonna get DNA tested and make sure I’ve got nothing in common with this guy.

May 2014 Beth: Nope.

Douche McGee: (pause while he unsuccessfully stifles a giggle)

Douche McGee: It’s a man?

May 2014 Beth: What’s a man?

Douche McGee: You’re married. It’s to a man? (giggling at his own cleverness) You’re married to a man?

May 2014 Beth: (thinking)  OH HELL NAAAAAAAAW. I wish I was married to a woman, because I’m pretty sure my awesome lesbian wife would totally kick your ass for disrespecting her lady.

May 2014 Beth: Um, yes. My husband is a man.

I’ve found when you ask someone about their sexuality it tends to grind the conversation to a halt, so thus concluded our interview. It was so completely absurd that I skipped right over anger and burst out laughing when I got into the elevator. Since then, really as long as people don’t insinuate I’m gay, I consider the interview a success. My “success” barometer might need to be adjusted. But it makes for a great story and taught me to be ready for just about anything in an interview.

A little housekeeping, I taught myself some basic After Effects and made this little intro video for my website. So if you’ve got a burning desire to hear my voice, now is your chance!

Little Beth, Beth Brousil, Self-Promo from Beth Brousil on Vimeo.

Adventures In Job Searching

Hey kids! Summer is over, the trees are bare and I sit unemployed watching Hoarders. If that’s not bad enough, I’ve seen this episode like 12 times already. Looking for a job is a really weird place to be. Like any other major life transition, your friends and family want to help, but they really have absolutely no freaking clue what to say or do. But one thing you should not say, “Make finding a job your job!!” Please make this a life rule right up there with not asking a seemingly pregnant woman when she is due, a tall person how’s the weather up there, and saying, “Cold enough for ya!” to anyone on earth. We’ve heard it. A lot. Our job is not throat punching people who say this to us. Sadly, it doesn’t pay well.

What all job seekers do in their head when we someone says, “Make finding a job your job!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People do want to help because it sucks watching someone you care about feel so crappy and loser-y. So people will tell you about jobs that in no way relate to your field or that you qualify for. “Hey, I heard you’re a graphic designer looking for a job. My neighbor is looking to hire someone.” “Oh great! What kind of job?” “Forest ranger.” Followed closely by the people who tell you about jobs in your field but in far away places. “I saw a listing for graphic designer.” “Oh great!” “It was in the Philippines.” God love you guys, because we know you want to help, but the Philippines is a little far to commute everyday.

Job searching is like this really long series of blind dates. And I really, really sucked at dating. I had an interview where a creative director asked in a roundabout way if I was a lesbian. See? Just like a shitty date! The worst part is I had no idea what answer he was looking for. One of my friends said I should have answered, “Is that a problem?” That’s why she has a job and I don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday I got word that, after making it to the final round of the hiring process, I again lost out to other candidates. When I get that far in to the process, it’s hard for me not to take it personally. That jerk voice in my head says things like, “If I was younger, cuter, funnier, thinner, a better designer, etc. this would be so much easier. I’m just not good enough.” Logically I know it’s not true and it’s difficult for everyone trying to break into a new field. If it’s not for some people, well, I’m putting them on the “To Throat Punch” list.


If this life has taught me nothing else it’s never say, “It couldn’t possibly get any worse then this!” Because life has a way of showing you that yes, in fact, it can get way worse and then proving it to you. So despite how bleak I feel, I try to always count my blessings. I’m so grateful for the people who care about me and have called, texted, messaged, Tweeted, Tumblr’d, Facebooked, sent me silent good vibes, just listened to me bitch, let me cry and/or picked up the bill. If your kindness were dollars I’d be a billionaire. But it’s not, so Monday morning it’s back on the stroll.

Till we meet again, enjoy this super depressing Ray LaMontagne song, “Let It Be Me.”