Whether or not I was still in Ohio was the question I asked after I had been driving for a few hours in Indiana. When I created my 21 goals, I never thought that my goal to interview in a state other than New York or Ohio would take me to such an exotic place as Indiana. I had mere aspirations that I would fly somewhere such as California or Alaska to interview for a position, but Indiana definitely took the cake.
I was interviewing for a position at a large university in Western Indiana. The job description involved living in a housing complex and acting as the residence life manager. They were looking for someone who had strong interpersonal skills, social media development experience, and an interest in working with international students. I could make friends with a fence post, have dabbled in social media in the past #vscocam (did I do that right? Maybe I should have added a heavily filtered photo of a coffee cup…), and I passed two whole semesters of elementary Spanish! So with those qualifications in my favor, I headed into the third round of interviewing feeling completely prepared.
I finally arrived at the hotel that they put me up in after driving for what felt like an eternity through what I can only assume is one of the flattest parts in the world. (To read more about my hotel experience check out this post). The nerves that I had suppressed with loads of coffee and the view of thousands of fields whipping by my car window flared upon arrival, and I had a minor panic attack as I ironed my shirt and watched the Food Network. Thankfully the nervousness did not last long. I was able to recover quickly and begin driving over to the housing facility with plenty of time to spare.
I will attempt to summarize the interview process (which took an entire two days) by breaking it down into a very basic timeline:
- 3:58 PM on Saturday – I arrived at the organization and made small talk with one of the interviewers until the other three people arrived. During this time I sat rigidly at the table in the interviewing room and kept thinking about how sweaty my palms were (those are the type of odd things that I think of when I am under a lot of stress).
- 5:15 PM on Saturday – I took a tour of the building and saw the type of apartment that I would be living in (the apartment smelled terrible and had clothes hanging from pretty much any surface that could support a hanger, but I tried to think past the Hoarders scenario to envision myself living there).
- 6:17 PM on Saturday – I stared at the Thai food menu with pure trepidation as I tried to think of something to eat that would not involve me slurping noodles or spooning large morsels of ethnic cuisine into my mouth in front of the two interviewers that I was eating with. I ended up choosing broccoli and beef tips (a safe choice), and managed to make it through the entire meal without spilling any food on myself!
- 7:11 PM on Saturday – I was reminded that instead of going back to my hotel to watch a documentary on Anderson Cooper and his mother like I had originally planned, I would be heading to a house full of strangers to play games (they figured that it would help me get to know some of the residents in the housing facility).
- 8:03 PM on Saturday – I sat in my car outside the stranger’s house and thought about how easy it would be for me to drive off without ever going inside. I could feign an illness that “forced” me to lay in bed and watch a fascinating documentary on the trials of Gloria Vanderbilt’s life and her close relationship with her son Anderson…
- 9:10 PM on Saturday – I left the game night feeling slightly chagrined that I had been eliminated in the first round of the game Mafia because I had accused a random guy in the room for the fun of it. They clearly did not understand my sarcasm when I, the boring townsperson, informed them that I had chosen him because I was the mafia.
- 10:33 PM on Saturday – I shuffled through the hoards of late night, pajama wearing patrons at the Wal*Mart with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in one hand and a box of spoons in the other
- 11:47 PM on Saturday – I turned off the light and drifted into an anxious dream about having another day of interviewing the following morning. Oh wait, that was not a dream.
- 6:30 AM on Sunday – I sat in bed and stared at the blank TV as I went through a minor existential crisis involving such probing questions as, “Why would you set your alarm so early?”, “Do you think that there is any dried ice cream in the Ben & Jerry’s container that you could try to eat?”, and “Would I still have a fighting chance of getting the job if I lounged in bed until 10:00 AM, checked out of the hotel, and promptly headed back to college without seeing any of my interviewers?”
- 8:16 AM on Sunday – I learned that most of my interviewers had read this blog when one of them questioned whether or not I overshare online. Me, overshare? I would never. Now let me get back to writing my detailed blog post about my interview weekend…
- 1:28 PM on Sunday – I was able to take a thirty minute breather from the constant interaction with my interviewers to get coffee. I must have been really out of it, because I stood in the line for people waiting to receive coffee for about fifteen minutes before finding the correct line to order my coffee.
- 1:44 PM on Sunday – I jostled through the small crowd of bearded, plaid wearing people with my small cup of expensive coffee in one hand as I made my way towards the coffee shop’s door.
- 3:04 PM on Sunday – I got in my car, turned on loud pop music, and drove back to my college in an exhausted haze.
I clearly did not include all of the parts that made up my interview weekend, but I have tried to give you a good picture of what it was like. In the end, I had five hours of interactions with interviewers on Saturday and seven hours on Sunday, which they had intentionally planned to give me a taste of how involved the job would be. It was by far the most mentally exhausting activity that I had ever participated in, and it made me question whether I would be able to handle the constantly busy nature of the job if I were to receive an offer.
Long story short(er), I did receive a job offer from the organization. However, after reviewing the contract and seeing exactly what would be required of me, I realized just how busy my life would be if I worked for them. It would not be a regular forty hour per week job; in fact, I would end up working many evenings and weekends while being on call most hours of the day and night. That did not appeal to me, because I want to have time after work to continue diversifying the hobbies that I participate in. I do not want a job that is all-consuming, and because of this, I ended up turning down the job offer. It had nothing to do with the people at the organization, because they treated me with nothing but kindness and generosity, but the people alone do not make a job bearable. It was not the easiest decision that I have made, but I know that it was the right one.