Employment. What is it? Where does it come from? What ontological characteristics does it presuppose? According to the Brunch Club’s demographic penetration analytics, you’re just as clueless about it as we are. So, we’ve commissioned known professional Travis Cannon to share with us some insights on the pleasurable business of making work work for you. This is part five of six.
V. Who Do You Think You're Talking To?
You’ve done everything right. Your references are immaculate, your resume is pristine and your confidence has never been higher. All that stands between you and a new life of peace and ease is your first face to face meeting with the employer. Too often I hear horror stories of job-seekers squandering all of the hard work they’ve put in so far by overthinking the interview process. Interviews aren't a science, there are no perfect answers. The most important thing that you can do is be yourself! That said, there's no harm in throwing a playful shade over the bare bulb of the spirit! (Everything in moderation, even the blistering light of truth.) Let's look at some tips for how to make sure you're casting all the most flattering shadows across the landscape of yourself.
Dress For The Job You Deserve
It's important that the outfit you wear to a job interview sends the right message. You want to convey willingness, flexibility and resolve.
- Wear something loose fitting to show that you know how to keep a secret, but with a mesh panel above the navel to prove that you were not born to a beast.
- You should appear to your employer as tall on the outside as you know yourself to be on the inside. Don't be afraid to wear lifts, or other height augmenting apparel. Try a subtle hat if you're struggling to eke out those last few inches.
- Do not style your hair, leave it long and shaggy to show that you have a lot on your mind (employers love this kind of visual pun).
- Posture is important. Keep your back straight, your shoulders back and your spirit shouldered with some unspeakable burden.
- Wear a hood or cloak embroidered with the heraldry of your family or clan and, if possible, a tapestry of their history. This will save your employer the chore of delicately asking about where you've come from and what business you have in the capital.
- If you have tattoos or piercings wear them proudly. Body modifications show that you understand the human form's mutability, that permanence is an illusion and all identity is merely contingent. Further, your tattoos and piercings will make great water cooler conversation between you and your future coworkers!
Tell Me A Bit About Yourself
Tell them what they need to know; no more and no less! As a prospective employee, it’s important to know exactly what you do and do not need to disclose to an employer. For example, there is no legal obligation to disclose whether or not you've poisoned any dogs, no matter how many times you've been accused by the gossips and busybodies about town! Do, however, tell them (with as much precision as possible) the moment of your birth. The numerology at play in your grim nativity is a strong indicator of success or failure in future endeavours, and an employer will be glad that you’ve made their arcane prognostications easier for them. Presented below, find a transcription of one of my recent interviews:
INTERVIEWER: Great, thanks for meeting with us. How about right off the bat you tell us a bit about yourself?
YOU: I’ll be happy to. First of all, I’m very much like you. I am detail oriented and task focused with an eye for the big picture and holistic consideration. I’m a good teamplayer, an incredible self-motivator, and I am committed to exceeding expectations while simultaneously understanding the delineations of my role within the larger structure. I was born screaming at 11:23 AM, July 5 1990 under the dogstar Sirius.
INTERVIEWER: How did you hear about the position? Were you referred by an existing employee or…
YOU: I’m so glad you asked. In many ways I feel that the entire universe referred me to this position. The day I contacted you, I had just finished a project in my garden and realized there was a snail clinging to one of my gloves. This was strange because normally we get snails in the garden only during the mightiest of storms, and this was as calm and still of a day as there has ever been. I picked it off and looked at it, and on its shell there was an incredibly intricate design, almost like a God’s Eye. Did you ever make those when you were young? A God’s Eye?
INTERVIEWER: Wrapping yarn around two intersecting popsicle sticks? Of course.
TRAVIS: Yes, that’s it exactly. And I looked at this design and I was reminded of this beautiful day from my youth when I was laying in the lap of my mother weaving a God’s Eye while she fed me small seedless grapes. She looked down at me and said “Man’s path out of man reaches a fork, and he may choose either the enervating gyre of the mind or the desiccating sensuality of the body. Both are frightful, but neither are wrong. God has gone, and when he returns he will know us no longer.”
INTERVIEWER: And recalling this, you felt?
YOU: Yes, compelled. Resolved to cast off the shackles of this false dilemma, to persist through the brambles though their thickets seemed impenetrable. I picked up the phone and, without dialing, found your receptionist on the other end confirming the time and place of this appointment. She was sweet. A good hire.
INTERVIEWER: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?
YOU: The waters are murky, my eyes cannot penetrate their stirred particulate. But I would like to be taller and perhaps have grown a long, silky beard. I will, I hope, wear bolder colours and have beautiful ivory teeth that glitter in the sun.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about some of your greatest strengths, and what you've accomplished that you feel proud of.
YOU: I am announced before my arrival by the cry of seven ram’s horns, and my deeds are sung by the neireids to all who pass. The gods know me as the rosy-cheeked and swift-footed favourite son of the lord. I persist despite the tempests that sweep the capital, and the waters that rise around my feet. I have beaten back the dogs at my heels, buried my dead, and mourned those interred within the mountain mausoleum. My will is strong, my flesh is eager, and though my mind blisters with the stolen fire of Prometheus, neither asked for nor deserved; I will see this shell redeemed, and put to noble use that his time among the rocks and eagles wasn't wasted.
INTERVIEWER: What would you consider your weak--
TRAVIS: Romans 3:23, Psalm 51:5, Mark 7:21, Ephesians 5:8, Jeremiah 17:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Galatians 5:17, Genesis 6:5, Romans 3:9-19, Jeremiah 17:23, Second Peter 2:14, John 3:19, Titus 1:15-16.
INTERVIEWER: And, in sum: this job, you think it is right for you?
TRAVIS: I was not yet born until I stepped into this room. I was soft, pink, undifferentiated air. If you will deny me this job then deny me life. I want so desperately to live. Please let me live.
The Self-Rendering Animal
In closing, perhaps a final word on the interview process: it is important to remember that in many ways we are lucky to be able to take part in an interview. So many live their lives without being called to give an account of themselves, either stumbling through life guided by fortune's hand or else being swept along by dynastic providence. To be given the opportunity to stand before someone holding a future for you in their hands, and to explain by what standard you consider yourself deserving is profound. Let the experience wash over you and render you small and soft.
Think of the task as a sort of embalming of the self. Your past lays before you on the slab, dressed in an oiled and perfumed shroud that obscures all but the most dramatic peaks and valleys. You are the skilled hand tasked with taking this heap of dull matter and fashioning, however fleeting, the illusion of life. Give yourself over to the process and discover which parts of the self you harbour in your heart are invisible to the adjudicating eye. Knead the loose flesh, paint its sinking cheeks and lips with the blush of youth. Stir the hair to give the illusion of something just in from a gale. When the time comes and you are at last called upon, pull back the sheet and reveal at last that you've been labouring over a mirror; you've become, without even realizing, that which you've hoped to be. You are, at last, all that you've pretended.