yours, tiramisu

a monkey in silk

I had five (5!) interviews today, all for the same position. Each lasted half an hour, so with the hour long lunch break I was in a suit for almost four hours and yapping for three of them.

The position I'm interviewing for is an entry-level communications role at a law firm in New York. I've already gotten past a HireVue asynchronous video interview and writing assessment as well as an hourlong interview with the hiring manager. Somehow today's interview marathon isn't even the final round. If I make it past this round I have to go to the New York office for a tour, in-person interview, and offline writing assessment. Inexplicably, they don't provide travel assistance, so I've gone ahead and booked a cancelable flight for the week after next in the off chance I pass. My mom remarked that I'm jumping through a whole lot of hoops for a position that will pay about half what I made in my previous one, and she's right. I keep telling myself that making a career pivot will be worth it. Ah, there's no drug like unadulterated delusion.

The interviews went well, with the exception of the second one. My interviewer, a middle-aged man from London, joined the Zoom a minute late. With his first sentence he managed to comment not only on my "oversized suit" (it's not) but also my shirt with the button down collar (not the most formal option, I know) and my microphone with pop filter. I didn't know what to say, managing only a nervous laugh and a thanks? for what stung like an insult. I don't know if it's a cultural difference in what they consider acceptable humor across the pond but his comment reeked of privilege and left a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of the day.

I hate when people make negative comments about what other people are wearing, even when innocuous. It's probably an even more touchy subject for me than it is for the average person. In my freshman year of college I interviewed for a banking internship downtown and one of my interviewers told me he didn't like my tie, which capped off a series of incredibly uncomfortable corporate interviews with white men. Naturally, I didn't get the job, and within a few weeks I switched my major from business to computer science. The work was a far worse fit for me intellectually, but I was relieved to feel more comfortable in my own skin. (And clothes, I suppose.)

These small pervasive things like the way you dress or speak in corporate settings have always felt like an invisible wall keeping me out of a lot of corporate jobs. I don't know how people make speaking in corporate jargon and cracking witty remarks look so easy; I feel like a dumb puppet forcing myself to laugh and smile and exchange pleasantries. The interviewer's comments about my outfit made me feel like a fraud and reminded me I'm never far from making a fool of myself. The worst part is I probably won't even realize when I do. Where do people learn the differences between the types of collars? And why does it matter if someone has the wrong kind, or a suit that doesn’t fit them perfectly? Nobody goes out with the intention of looking bad. We can’t all afford tailored suits.

He also insisted on me asking him a question for each question he asked me. You know, in the spirit of conversation, except that's not really how conversation works. The contrived back and forth pattern prevented our interview from flowing and forced me to either ask questions unrelated to the subject at hand or think about questions while I was responding to his questions.

(Coincidentally, he also happened to be the person highest on the org chart, which checks out. I generally find that the less power people hold somewhere, the more agreeable they are.)

Fortunately for me the other interviewers were nicer and the conversations moved along mercifully. This company's been a little unresponsive and opaque throughout this interview process, so I guess the next step is to wait to see if they offer me the final round interview.

I unwound after the interviews by dogwalking. This weekend I'm checking in on this dog a few times (thrice a day) while his owner is away. He's a handsome well-behaved German shepherd mix, black all over with legs dipped in brown. When I opened the door his tail was wagging so hard I was afraid it'd fall off and he pounced on me with so much energy his overgrown nails cut me on the hip. It breaks my heart that such a sweet dog has to spend the weekend almost entirely alone, and from what I could tell his owner doesn't really walk him much either.

I lost track of time walking under the pinpricks of starlight and fingernail moon and ended up spending almost an hour with him. He starts to fall behind the closer we get to home, I assume because he doesn't want to be stuck at home alone. I don't mind keeping him company; I can't imagine anyone deserves that attention more.

yours, tiramisu

Look at his pointy German shepherd ears!

#english #life #wordvomit #work