No Future

I asked my store team leader about the meeting he had yesterday with my interviewer. He told me that my interviewer thought I came off as very nervous during the interview and suggested that I start as a regular team leader to gain more leadership experience before trying to become an executive team leader.

The team leader position is definitely a step up from my current position, but it’s also a world away from being an executive. Team leaders are paid hourly at about 1.5 times my pay rate (think of cashews instead of peanuts), whereas executive team leaders are paid a (decent) salary.

I’m disappointed in the situation, but mostly I’m frustrated with myself. I really didn’t feel nervous before the interview. I even felt almost confident. But once the interview started, I became a different person. Once I’m in the interview environment, my brain shuts down and my nerves take over. If I consciously know that someone is judging me, my ability to articulate thoughts is thrown out the window.

My fear of failing at interviews causes me to fail at interviews. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m starting to wonder if my fear of being judged stems from being closeted for so long. I’ve been so afraid that people would find out that I’m gay that I get nervous and defensive when all eyes are on me.

The worst part of this whole situation is that my severe lack of interviewing skills will prevent me from getting any job which requires an interview, which is pretty much any job worth getting. My parents tell me that the only way to become comfortable during interviews is to go to a lot of interviews. But that implies that I will fail at interviews countless times before eventually getting my first job. Considering that I’ve never gotten a call back for an interview from any job to which I’ve applied (except Target, which barely counts because I had connections), just getting the “practice” interviews for me to fail at could take years. I really am unemployable.

My store team leader said that I shouldn’t reapply for the executive team leader position for at least six months (to let my name pass through the system). Given that, I don’t know how much longer I should stay at Target. I basically have no future there. I don’t really want to quit without having another job to fall back on, but I can’t just sit on this job forever.

Since my life has no meaning or direction, needless to say I was pretty down all day. My work crush tried to cheer me up a little bit (in his straight guy, arm’s length distant way), but even interaction with him was little solace.


2 Responses to “No Future”

  1. Lisa Says:

    That sucks. But it sounds like you were offered a team leader position, yes? That’s a great thing. It just means they might think you’re a little too much of a newbie to move right up to the ETL position, but they think you have potential. Show them they’re right!

    I’m awful at interviews too. AWFUL. Just like you, I get nervous and shoot myself in the foot. My problem is that I start babbling when I get nervous… which SO does not go over well in an interview. 🙂 I’ve taught myself that in an interview, that less is more. It’s also OK to NOT fill every second with talk. If you’re asked a question and you don’t know what to say, it’s totally OK to say, “That’s a really interesting question. Give me a moment to put together my answer.” Then SHUT UP and take a moment to figure out what you want to say. Most interviewers are totally cool about giving you a moment to respond.

    But you do get better with practice, your mom’s right about that.

    What she’s wrong about, though, is that you don’t have to go to actual interviews to get better. That would be like Tiger Woods only practicing by playing in tournaments. No! He hits the driving range, works with coaches, practices putting, uses mental visualization and plays lots of rounds of golf that don’t mean anything.

    If you’re willing to, there are coaches you could hire to coach you. Alternately, find a couple other people at work and do mock interviews with each other… or just even ask each of your friends to give you a fake interview. It’s really fun to be on the asking side of the questions, so I’m sure you could get some willing volunteers. And do some reading… hit the library, search the web, just get loads of advice on interviewing and stuff. And those behavioral-based interview questions are very popular, mostly because it is the only interview technique that is well-correlated to good candidate selection. So… spend some time thinking up your best answers to some of the most common behavior-based questions…. because chances are you’ll have to use those answers again.

  2. normalboy Says:

    When they suggested that I start as a team leader, they weren’t actually offering me a position. They were telling me to apply to a lower position (which also requires three interviews).

    My store team leader also told me that there aren’t any team leader positions open at the moment, so even the team leader option would take many months.

    Thanks for the advice though, Lisa. I was hoping you’d leave me a comment.

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