Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Jobs I Didn't Get

My post from last week about which of my connections got me which of my former jobs left me thinking about the jobs I didn't get. So here, to the best of my ability to remember, are the jobs for which I got interviews but didn't get the jobs.

  1. Kinko's: I thought, "I like typing and stuff," so I applied for a job at Kinko's (back when it was a local Ventura County business) to format and print word processing jobs for customers. But just because I knew how to format the types of documents I liked to make didn't mean I knew how to format all the different types of documents customers would need.
  2. WaldenBooks: I barely remember interviewing here, but it seems like the manager wasn't impressed with my lack of ability to recommend books. If someone told me, "I like mysteries," I'd say, "That's cool. They're over there." I guess I was supposed to be able to say, "You should try [some mystery author--I told you my recommendation ability is unimpressive]."
  3. Del Taco: The manager seemed to feel I was overqualified for the fast food industry. I felt I wanted to take home his money. The manager won the argument.
  4. City of Sahuarita, Arizona: I applied to be a city planner there. They didn't hire me. Which might be just as well, as I'm not really sure I know how to say "Sahuarita." Where is the stress in that word? Hua? Ri?
  5. Camden County, Missouri: This isn't a "job I didn't get" so much as a "job I didn't take." They made me an offer, and I turned them down. The distance from Camden County to Springfield would have made finishing my schooling virtually impossible, and without finishing my schooling, I probably wouldn't have been able to get any other job. We (I was married by this point) thought, "If we take this job, it's the job for the rest of my life." And we didn't want to commit to living in rural Missouri for 50 years.
  6. Richmond American Homes: Another job I turned down. They didn't offer enough money to make it worth my while. At least, I thought that at the time. Over the next two years of nearly-broke poverty, I repeatedly questioned that assessment. But I was in graduate school with evening classes and they were very adamant that sometimes I'd have to work evenings with no advance notice and they weren't going to back down on that.
  7. Casey Trees: Not getting this one sucked. I had "set a date" (former Mormon missionaries will know what that means) and my wife discovered this job posting on the date I set. It would have paid about double the Richmond American offer that was too little. I applied, got an interview, and progressed to the short-list interview. And I felt that interview went really well. But I didn't get an offer.
  8. County of Fairfax, Virginia: This one also sucked. More than enough money, good commute and hours for school, and generous benefits. I was going to do GIS work for them. But I'd been out of everyday GIS work for about two years at this point, and the version of their software was one generation newer than what I'd used at my previous job. Part of the interview was completing a task within a given amount of time. I totally screwed it up. In the parking lot I made sure to remind myself that I should have taken the Richmond American job.
  9. Some school in Shenzhen, China: I applied thinking, "Working in China could be fun." I got an interview with a headhunter, and he seemed to like me, but he said the school was looking more for a single person (that's the type of thing you can still get away with over here in China). My family was very opposed to the idea. My children specifically prayed, "Please don't let Daddy get the job in China." And, for a change, our prayers about employment were answered.
  10. Church Education System: If you can't get a job with regular people, maybe it's just people being jerks. But when you can't get a job with your own church, it could be that God doesn't want you to be employed. (Keep that in mind for a later failure.) I applied, I thought the interview went well, my skill set and availability lined up well with what they needed, and I really needed a job by this point. But the dude decided to not hire me. Then, because he was in my stake's leadership, I got to be reminded of my failure every time I saw him at a stake event. Good times.
  11. Koch Foundation: I thought this interview was going very well. One woman on the panel noted I had written that Hayek's Road to Serfdom was an influential book for me. The book had just received some press, but I had read it several years before. I decided to make a joke by saying, "I read it before it was cool." She then asked a pretty intense question about Hayek's meaning. I thought I answered it well, but it was hard to read her reaction. I don't know if they thought I was a pompous jackass who got taken down or if I wasn't. Another job that would have paid well, had benefits, and had a lot of room for future opportunities.
  12. Some tutoring company: Another job I turned down. The commute would have been terrible and I probably wouldn't have been able to finish school. A few years later, the hiring manager requested me as a Facebook friend. I figured it was a result of just requesting everyone she'd ever e-mailed.
  13. Some firm: This job would have involved writing of some kind. I don't remember. I know I already had two other jobs by this point, so I didn't need the work as much. I had to go home and complete an assignment. From the interview, I had decided I didn't really want the job, so I contemplated not doing the assignment, but I did. It passed muster, but I declined the offer.
  14. Virginia Commonwealth University: It sucks when you already have a job and are basically interviewing to continue or receive more work and they turn you down. My first semester at VCU I taught two classes and it was worth the 100-mile commute. My second semester I only had one class. They wanted to know if I was going to come back for a third semester and I basically told them, "Not for only one class." They said, "Well, then, it was good working with you."
  15. BYU-Idaho: I don't want to talk about it.

And now I live in China.

I used to think I interviewed well and my resume was my hold-up. If I could just get the interview, I could get the job. My first interview after I got my associate's degree was the first time that I didn't have to explain why my lack of education was a problem. It was very relaxing. Then, I progressed to where hiring managers often start the interview by commenting on the strength of my resume. I've been told several times, "When we saw your resume, we knew we had to bring you in for an interview." So now when I don't get the job offer, it isn't because they have some hang-up that doesn't allow them to see past my lack of education. Now, they've taken the time to get to know me, and they are fully aware of just how terrible I am. I think I'd rather go back to the old days when I had no degrees at all.

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