In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Gut Feeling.”
When’s the last time you followed your instinct despite not being sure it was the right thing to do? Did it end up being the right call?
About a month ago I went to a job interview and it felt like the worse experience of my life, but it turned out to be a valuable lesson. I followed my gut feeling and it ended up being the right call. Here’s my story…
As a recent graduate I was desperate for a job. I wasn’t stoked about applying for jobs that lined up with my degree, so I decided to apply for positions based upon my previous work experiences. For months I applied for administrative/secretarial positions and doors kept closing until I got a phone call. I thought to myself ‘Yes, this is the break I’ve been waiting for.’ The timing couldn’t be any better.
As I stared at my phone, I smiled, took a deep breath and answered my phone. I just knew that this was it. The interview would go well and I’d have a job. The secretary told me that her director looked over my resume, liked what he saw and wanted me to come in. She then asked me what kind of work was I looking for. I thought to myself this is a trick question, right? My application clearly stated I was looking for administrative/secretarial work. But I overlooked her lack of knowledge, and I answered her question. She asked a few more questions and as I answered each one I heard giggling in the background. I ignored the snickering and scheduled a time to meet with the director.
I had everything ready to go and got on the road. I only live about 45 minutes from the company so I thought it shouldn’t take long, but I spoke too soon. About 20 minutes into the ride traffic came to a complete stop. 10 minutes went by and still no movement. So I decided to detour, but long behold I ran into more traffic. I kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to be late. I can’t afford to be late.’ So I called the secretary to inform her that I had run into an accident and I was stuck in traffic. She didn’t answer the phone. 10 minutes went by from the time I called her when she called me back. The secretary asked the director if it was okay to push the interview back an hour and he agreed to.
Finally I made it to my destination only to run into more delays. I walked into the front office and there’s no one there. So I sat for about 5 minutes and still no one. I heard voices coming from the back rooms, I said hello and then someone came in to greet me. I signed in, handed over my resume and was escorted to a conference. As I passed by the rooms leading to the conference room, I saw multiple employees huddled up and whispering. I shot a smile and said hello and they ignored me. Finally I make it to the conference room only to find out I am alone again. The front desk clerk handed me a package to fill out and said the boss would be with me in a few moments.
My appointment time arrives. 15 minutes goes by and no one. Another 10 minutes goes by and no one. But I hear someone in an office across the hall talking and my patience is wearing thin. A total of 30 minutes passes by and the director finally walks in. He apologies and says that he lost track of time with his last interview. I’m frustrated at this point because he and/or the front desk clerk could have let me in on what was going on. But nonetheless, I ignored all the red flags waving in front of my face and still gave the interview a shot.
So he leads me to his office and as I’m walking down the hall I see the same employees huddled up and giggling once again. We make it to his office and he asks me to explain my work experience. (Did he not receive the resume my I gave his clerk? But of course, I answered his question.) He then asked me what I knew about the company and I shared what I knew. He then shared more information about the company and proceeded with the interview. So he asked me to sell myself. I told him about my previous work experience, education background, hobbies and how it all tied in together. He appeared to be impressed and ramble on about what made him so successful despite not having a college degree.
Here’s what happened next.
“So, Ms. Washington what kind of work are you looking for?” (Okay there must be a lack of communication between he and his employees because I’ve made this information known already). So I told him and he tells me “Well you’re a little too late. I’ve already hired two administrative assistance a week ago and a few moments before I tended to you. But I want you to be an insurance salesman.” (Did he really have me drive 45 minutes to his office to tell me the position I had applied for was no longer available? You mean to tell me I waited 30 minutes pass my interview time slot to hear I waited only to be persuaded to take on another task that I’m not familiar with; yet alone I didn’t apply for?) At this point I’m appalled and I’m ready to end the interview before he says anything else. But no, I sat there despite another red flag waving in front of my face.
He asked me would I be willing to change my career choice and I told him on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d choose a 5 because I’ve never been a life insurance salesman, but I’m skilled in public speaking. For some reason I stopped answering the question and started to apologize for any confusion about what I was looking for. I started apologizing because I needed someone or something to wake me up from this nightmare. This was his response to me and boy did he let me have it.
“Well, I see you’ve done a lot of secretarial work during years in college and I know you’re looking for that kind of work, but you’re too closed-minded to be successful. You don’t want to do anything different and I think you’re shooting for employment that provides 9 to 5 work hours everyday, making 6 figures and that’s not what we are looking for. As a matter of fact, you’ll never make 6 figures. You won’t even look into being a life insurance salesman–which you could make a banking from–but no you’re not open-minded enough. Yeah you’re cute, with a degree from one of the world’s biggest aviation university’s, but that won’t get you anywhere. Look at me, I’m handsome, I don’t have a college degree and I’m successful. I don’t know Ms. Washington I’d have to think about how you’d fit in with us.”
I’m offended and I let out a giggle because I’m in disbelief of his comment and his lack of respect. He shoots me this stern look, clears his throat and says, “We have to be able to like one another Ms. Washington and right now we both need to reconsider your employment here.” He handed me his business card and excused me from his office. I’m thinking to myself, wow I’ve never experienced this level of downgrade before; yet alone from someone who’s supposed to be a “professional”.
As I made my way to the front, I see the same employees huddled up, giggling and this time they say something to me: Have a nice day! I shook my head and left with my integrity.
Did it end up being the right call listening to my gut feeling? I would have to say yes. Despite the delays, red flags and entertaining an individual that saw little to no value in me, that experience taught me endurance, discernment, patience, and courage.