Tag Archives: jobs

So, A Bunny Walks Into A Blizzard…

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One year ago, when I announced to my friends and family members that I was quite literally dropping everything and moving across the country to chase my dream of working for Blizzard Entertainment, they were mostly supportive, but a little bewildered. Some might move to Southern California with Hollywood aspirations. I moved to Southern California with the very nerdiest aspirations.

There were also quite a few people who were not afraid to let me know that they thought I was making a huge mistake and that I was reaching too high. And yes, there were plenty of times since landing in Irvine that I stopped and thought to myself “holy shit, what did I just do?” but somehow I managed to block out the naysayers and keep going.  Maybe I didn’t block them out completely, come to think of it — maybe they just served as even more inspiration and drive to make things happen, just so I could prove them wrong.

So I did.

As of March 17th, I will be rolling out of bed in the morning and into my desk at Blizzard’s Irvine campus. My official job title is Technical QA Analyst II, which is a lot of fancy-speak for “waving my arms up and down and screaming ‘I NEED AN ADULT’ every time I break something, THE SEQUEL.”

(I’m kidding, there’s way more to it than that. For one, you don’t scream out loud. You write it down, i.e. “AAAAAAAAHSGDJGSHDGSJGDKDS;”.)

There’s a funny story behind March 17th and how it relates to my family. That’s my great-grandfather’s birthday, and he was a man largely regarded to be the champion of our family. When we first arrived in this country and the local toughs tried to intimidate him into paying them money for “protection,” he chased them off with a baseball bat and was never harassed again. He traveled the world, mastered seven languages, and was respected throughout his community both here and back in The Old Country(tm). When I was little, I would call him the “lion man” whenever I saw his picture because of his thick white hair that looked more like a mane than anything.

Lions. Hm. Seems familiar.

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Before the interview that led to my hiring, I stopped in the lobby to take a photograph with the Alliance gryphon. I don’t really know why — I just had the urge to do it. At that time, I was mainly playing Horde. But for some strange reason, I decided to hang out with those reppin’ the lions.

Then a few days ago, I was shopping at one of my favorite clothing stores and noticed that they were selling beautiful jeweled lion rings for $5. Guess what I bought.

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Logically, I know it’s all coincidence, but I happen to be a very superstitious person. March 17th has been an incredibly fortuitous day for my family ever since I can remember, and the lion has become our unofficial mascot, with significantly less inbreeding than the Lannisters.

Of course, nothing this amazing can come through without there being a few changes. I already announced to the world that I had stepped down from the HearthPro Podcast due to scheduling issues, which was not a complete fabrication. It was more a matter of there being real challenges in getting our schedules together, but at the time having just the possibility of working at Blizzard made me hesitant to ask the rest of the team to completely rework their lives if it meant I’d only be able to stay for another week or two — and man, am I glad I made that decision now! A couple of weeks ago, I also very quietly stepped down from writing at BlizzPro after being notified that I’d gotten the position, but wasn’t yet able to go public with the announcement.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen to this blog. I may cease to update it, or I may change formats and turn it into a personal blog rather than a gaming one; of course, anything you’ll find with my name attached to it on the interwebz consists solely of my own opinions, and not those of Blizzard Entertainment or any past employers. My Twitter account will still be entirely too active and I’ll be streaming my face off via my Twitch channel (my participation in this year’s Extra Life is still a go!). You won’t, however, find me on any more podcasts, guest or otherwise, and it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll be writing any more articles on lore or dreaming up game content in the community, for reasons that I’d hope are pretty obvious.

Several people have asked me what my “secret” was to get the job. I don’t have any real advice, other than don’t give up — it took me at least 30 applications and multiple interviews to get in. There were plenty of times that I was convinced I was doing nothing but throwing myself up against a brick wall and trying to make it a door, but I’d go back and re-read this interview with Brian Kindregan, lead writer for StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm and the Diablo team, where he addresses those same frustrations:

Every person I know whose career has taken them to a fun and creative place got there in a different way. So the bad news is that there’s no set path. The good news is that there’s no set path! I always tell people that the key ingredient is: you should be too stupid to give up. You’ll meet many people who will tell you that you’re not good enough, that it’s not a ‘real job,’ that they don’t want people like you, that you can’t make a living at it and the list goes on. But if you’re too stupid to give up, it will bounce right off you. You’ll meet people who you will think are more talented than you, smarter, faster, better, and more creative. But those people will often give up, and you can always be better than they are at being too stupid to give up.

Color me proud to be the stupidest bunny you’ll ever meet.

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A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, Then Terrifies The Shit Out Of You

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Almost a year in the making, I’ve finally done it.  I start working in the game industry on Monday.

Everyone I’ve told has been jumping for joy and acting like I cured cancer.  The sentiment is appreciated, and I’m definitely not ungrateful for the job or rolling my eyes or anything, but it’s sort of mystifying for me.  Sadly, this position isn’t in creative development or quest design.  It’s a very important stepping stone to get there, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to work in my own industry, but as a kid, I never celebrated second place or almost or close, not when I knew right on the money or champion would be within reach.  I’d acknowledge the fact that I made it as far as I did, but I wouldn’t kick my heels up and say “WELP, this is it, close enough, I’m done.”

This is also why the mod I’m working on for Civilization V is taking forever and a day.

More importantly, what no one tells you about accomplishing a life dream (and do not misunderstand me, just getting into the industry is one of them) is that it is terrifying as shit once you actually achieve it.  Before, it was an abstract concept, a “yeah, I’d like to do that someday” where you always had the thought in the back of your mind that not everyone gets to be an astronaut or a ballerina and that somebody’s got to be around to make the sandwiches at Subway, so all you can really do is work hard and never stop until you a.) get there or b.) die.  Now you’re sitting there with an itinerary for your first day in front of you realizing that this is it.  This is where you find out whether or not you’re actually good at it.

Getting the job is one thing.  Being able to deliver is another thing altogether.  It has nothing to do with being confident in your own abilities — I know I’m good, but am I good enough?  Did the interviewer misjudge me and make a bogus recommendation that I have no way of living up to?  Am I going to finally get into a studio only to look like a total moron by the end of my first week?  I’ve devoted all of my resources and most of my life to this, even going so far as to put the game industry ahead of myself and my relationships.  To go down in flames now would mean that I sacrificed a good 90% of my life and all of my financial stability for nothing, not to mention that I don’t want to let anyone down.  I hate letting people down.  Every rejection letter I received up until this point, I felt like it was a slap in the face to every friend and family member who believed in me.  When I notoriously screwed up my phone interview, I was too embarrassed to ever follow up with the recruiter I’d been working with, even just to say “thanks for trying,” because I felt like my failure made him look bad in the eyes of his colleagues — “you think THIS loser would be able to do the job?  Hahahaha, go back to recruiter school.”

Not to mention my battles with PTSD and a complex mood disorder.  I think I’ve got them pretty well vanquished for now.  Despite no longer taking the medication that ended up incapacitating me, I can still do things that were once completely unimaginable, including leaving the house and talking on the phone.  Where once I was so agoraphobic that I couldn’t even handle being on a high-population server in World of Warcraft, I’m doing my grocery shopping with my head held high, even splitting up with The Fiance when we get there so that we can grab what we need from opposite ends of the store.  I’m chatting with the cashiers.  I order my own food in restaurants instead of hiding behind the menu and wishing that everyone else in the building would just evaporate.  But there’s always the lingering fear that I’m going to relapse, that one day I’ll wake up and be unable to make it into work because the world outside my window is just too terrifying.  There’s the worry that I may randomly burst into tears at the office or that someone will sneak up on me as a friendly prank and I’ll end up flipping them down onto the floor with my foot pressing down on their neck until somebody manages to snap me out of it (it’s happened before).  I’m terrified that even if I’ve made it this far and I can actually kick ass at the job, the Sha of Mental Illness is going to show up out of nowhere and ruin everything.

And then, of course, there’s the normal “new job” jitters — am I going to like my boss, is my boss going to like me, is this job actually going to be as great as it sounds, that sort of thing.  The game industry has its own set of “what ifs” to contend with, things like “what if the entire office is made up of dudebros who aren’t going to ever take me seriously or give me a chance in CDev because I’m a chick” or “what if I fuck something up so badly that the entire game is a failure and it’s all my fault and I ruined everything?”  I’m agonizing over what to wear on Monday.  The dress code is Standard Game Industry, i.e. the unofficial uniform of jeans and a hoodie, but do I want to go that route and blend in?  Do I maybe want to wear something a little cuter and more feminine, or will that make me seem prissy and unreachable?  How much makeup do I wear?  Should I just skip makeup altogether?  Will black eyeliner prevent them from taking me seriously as a colleague?  Oh God, is too much grey showing in my hair right now?

The reasonable part of me points out that as long as I don’t sashay into the office wearing a cocktail dress and Jessica Rabbit hair and makeup, I’m probably okay and nobody will even pay me any mind, but those “what ifs,” man, they’re brutal.  I can only imagine what a wreck I’m going to be after I get into the specialization I’m aiming for (hell, just thinking about it, my brain is screaming “WHAT IF YOU CAN’T COME UP WITH ANY GOOD IDEAS BECAUSE YOU USED EVERY BRILLIANT THOUGHT YOU WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR DEMO PORTFOLIO?!”).

To answer your next question, yes, it is extremely exhausting to be me.

But I’m not going to run away and hide, because I’ve worked too hard and struggled too much to get to this point.  My foot is in the door, and I keep reminding myself that I am extremely good at what I’ll be doing and will probably be fine.  Everyone I’ve spoken to at this studio has been a great human being so there’s absolutely zero reason to expect anything different when I get there on Monday.  And if someone has a problem with my eyeliner, they can go fuck themselves.  I am the Bunny Overlord.  Let’s do this shit.

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Help, I Am Drowning In The Iced Tea Of Sorrow

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In what is clearly by now nothing short of a stunning turn of events, I’m depressed.  Severely depressed.  The kind of depressed where I’m honestly not so much functioning as I am “using my autopilot abilities to perform some semblance of functioning.”

Allie of Hyperbole and a Half, who happens to be an idol of mine, recently updated her blog for the first time in months with a beautifully-illustrated tale of her own struggles with depression that have kept her away from the clicky-clacky thing that makes words show up on the computer.  I enjoyed it as much as you can possibly enjoy reading about another human being’s suffering, and it was interesting how it manifested itself for her in a way that’s simultaneously the same and different than the show it’s currently putting on in the West End of my brain.  (The costuming sucks, but Catherine Zeta-Jones is doing great with her portrayal of Primary Depression Blob #2.)

Unlike Allie, I am feeling things besides the obvious overwhelming sorrow.  They’re there under this terrible numb-feeling that I guess is kind of like what she went through, except even if I’m only mildly aware of them to begin with they still pop up from time to time, just in these horribly superficial versions that I know lack the depth of relative normalcy.  I can giggle at an episode of 30 Rock and really mean that giggle, but there’s something plastic about it, some vital component of it that would say “hey, this is a legit emotion” that’s just not there.  It is the Uncanny Valley of feeling.

I am getting out of bed in the morning.  I am trying to play the I Win game but every victory seems hollow, even the one where I put something in the microwave and run to the bathroom to pee and then make it back before my food’s done, which up until this point has been one of my proudest achievements.  There is this voice, you see, that isn’t actually there, but likes to wait until I’m really high up there in Not Feeling Like Complete Shitville before kicking me in the ribcage and fist-pumping while it watches me crash back down into Blerghsburg.

I mean, I’m in California.  I am back in my home, a place that I have missed for a very long time.  But whenever I try to reflect on this to bring myself up out of the gloom, that voice pops up again:

“Yay!  I’m in beautiful Southern California!  I live less than ten minutes from the Blizzard campus!  I can walk down the street without having to worry about getting mugged!  Life is pretty awesome!”

Is it?  I mean, you still don’t have a job or anything.

“Well… yeah,  but I’m still applying to Blizz and to jobs in the meantime!  Look at all the shiny opportunities here!”

How many callbacks have you gotten?

“…None yet, but that’s okay, it’s going to take them time to sort through all the app–”

Open up your email inbox.  How many rejection letters are there?

“…Okay, like 12 or 13, but that’s just inspiration to do better next time!”

Ever thought that maybe they just don’t want you because you’re still the same weird kid you were all through school and nothing you do is worth anything?  I mean, if you had any talent at all, you’d have a job by now.

“I have talent!  I mean, I didn’t go to college, but…”

Yeah, think about how much easier it’d be for you to get in if you could go back to school to learn coding instead of trying to teach it to yourself.  Oh wait, you can’t because you can’t afford it and considering that you can’t even pay your cell phone bill anymore, you don’t have the time.  You had your chance and you fucked it up.  You can’t do shit.  You can’t even get Target to call you back.

“At least I’m not homeless, right?  My mom’s letting me stay with her till I get on my feet.”

Great job, you’re a grown-ass woman who’s burdening your family yet again because you can’t get your shit together.  You should have stayed in Florida.  At least you had friends there… well, people who pretended to like you, anyway.  Look, kid, the only reason anybody gives you the time of day is because they feel sorry for you.  They secretly think you made a stupid move coming back out here.  They know you can’t do it.  You know you can’t do it.  Fuckup.”

It’s usually at this point that I end up staring at myself in the mirror and coming to the realization that everyone would be better off without me.  It’s this burning desire not to take my own life, but to just throw some clean underwear in a bag and run away in the middle of the night without telling anyone where I’m going.  I feel like I’m never going to amount to anything.  I feel like I’m just one of those people who doesn’t belong anywhere, that there’s no place for me in this world or the next.  I feel like just giving up and fully embracing twenty-six years of utter failure at life by devoting myself to laying on the couch and watching Netflix until I eventually choke on my 10-cent ramen noodles and die alone, let The Fiance find some way better-looking chick with fewer problems than me, let my mother and stepfather have their house back, and watch anything that might prove that I ever existed in the first place fade into oblivion.  I was never here.  It’s better that way, isn’t it?  I keep trying to argue with myself that it’s just the voice of depression trying to drag me down again but I’m starting to wonder.

I’m at a crossroads.  I could go back onto the same medication that crippled me and just deal with the fact that the physical pain I’m still struggling with is going to get worse again.  Or I could keep pushing on through, numbly, hoping that something will eventually give and that after all of the suffering I’ve had to deal with in my life — there’s a reason I’ve got PTSD, you know, and it’s shit that even the writers for Law & Order: SVU wouldn’t touch on the grounds of it being “too messed up” — there’s going to be sunshine.  Not even pure sunshine because expecting everything to be perfect all the time is stupid, but at least mostly sunshine with scattered showers, where the good outweighs the crap for once.

To be honest, I’m not even sure why I made this all into a blog entry.  I meant to just put up a standard disclaimer that I wasn’t feeling well and a review of patch 5.3 would be forthcoming, but it just turned into… I don’t even know what.  I guess I feel worse than I thought I did.  I can’t explain any of this stuff to the few people I do have in my life without them either getting frustrated/angry at me because they don’t understand what I’m dealing with or telling me that it’s all in my head (no shit, that’s kind of the primary location of mental illness) and that all I have to do is think positive or whatever and everything will magically be fine.  Even when I do have the opportunity to talk to other people I push everything to the backburner because holy shit, I’m the Bunny Overlord, I have a solemn duty to be random and quirky and funny and upbeat all the time, otherwise what good am I to anyone, right?

I think I’m going to have ice cream for dinner tonight.  I deserve it.

Everyone Is Afraid Of My Huge Rejection

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Sorry about the title, but I don’t think I’ve thrown a good dick joke out there yet, and my portfolio is 100% incomplete without it.

A few days ago I touched a little bit on the majestic failure that was my first phone interview.  I pointed out that none of us should let rejections faze us, something that is, of course, easier said than done, and that we should instead continue to push on through until we accomplished our goal.  I talked about the importance of self-care when accepting a “no” but otherwise didn’t really go into much deeper detail on how exactly to get past that ugly word unscathed.

Step into my bedroom (giggity) for a moment.

Don't judge me, I wasn't the one who picked the wall color.

Don’t judge me, I wasn’t the one who picked the wall color.

I’m about to make a horrific confession for which there is no redemption: this is my inspiration wall, which I got the idea for from Rachel Berry in an episode of Glee.

I watch Glee.

Truly, my life has hit rock bottom.

Despite the fact that I utterly hate the character of Rachel Berry with the passion of a thousand burning suns — I find her completely irredeemable — I found her inspiration cork board to be a great idea.  Her version showcases her five-step plan on how to achieve her goals of being a Broadway star.  I may have the same nose as her, but my singing voice sounds like a dying llama with vocal nodes, so a Broadway board really didn’t do me much good, and I don’t have a particularly good plan as far as how to get hired by Blizzard.  At the moment it pretty much consists of:

  1. Assemble portfolio.
  2. Apply for jobs.
  3. Preemptively move home to California in the hopes that this makes me a more desirable candidate.
  4. ???
  5. Profit.

Essentially, it’s the game industry version of dropping out of high school and moving to Los Angeles or New York City to get discovered.

My inspiration wall is more of a reminder to myself not to give up.  Though I’m beating up Shas on a regular basis, it’s sometimes hard to avoid feeling sorry for myself, or like this is all hopeless and I’m being foolish to even think I could possibly accomplish what I’m trying to do.  When I start to get depressed, I simply look to my right and see an onslaught of arguments as to why I should ignore my jerk of a brain and remind me that yes, I am a worthwhile and capable person.  These arguments are:

  • The “story” my mother wrote about my life
  • My NaNoWriMo 2012 winner’s certificate
  • The “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend Could Mermaid Like Me?” bumper sticker I got from mermaid camp
  • All of the sweet letters and cards from my friends that I can find
  • The email letting me know that I had gotten a phone interview
  • The rejection letter stating that I did not get the job
  • A collage of direct messages from fans and idols of mine, kind comments on Twitter, my blog stats since the anti-bullying post, and photos of myself doing the following: attending a gallery opening of my photography, in the middle of my first professional modelling shoot, walking in my first runway show, hanging out with one of my music idols, my first public bellydance performance, and posing for a “promo” shot at mermaid camp
  • A small award for “Best Boobs” from last year’s Valentine’s Day party
  • The veil for my upcoming wedding
  • A full-length mirror

Most of the stuff up there is pretty self-explanatory, but undoubtedly a few items will seem to be strange choices.

To begin, a lot of you are probably wondering why I have a rejection letter taped to my wall.  Why on Earth could I possibly want that staring me in the face?  Because rejection is an important part of succeeding.  Anything worth doing is worth fighting for, and nothing that really matters comes easily.  Someday, when I’ve made it onto the design team, I will look back through all of the rejection letters and smile because the missteps make the end result all the sweeter.  I learned a lot from that phone interview (comedy option: that I should not be allowed to talk to other humans ever) that I can apply to my next one — and there will be a next one.  At the time I’m writing this I have six applications in with Blizzard, all for positions that genuinely interest me.  I won’t settle for something I know that I won’t enjoy or for another company that I don’t really want to work for just to get into the industry.  Reach for the stars, or don’t reach at all.  The path may be a little longer to get there, but in the end, it’ll be a lot less time and energy wasted for everyone involved.  This one job didn’t come through.  ‘Kay, there’s still six other ones that might, and if those don’t, then there will always be more jobs opening up.  I believe in fate, somewhat.  Maybe if I had gotten this job I would have hated it.  Maybe I’m about to get a call for my ultimate dream job, and if I had accepted this one, I wouldn’t be able to take it.   At any rate, it’s a reminder to me to work harder next time, and that yes, I am fallible.  The humility keeps me hungry.

My wedding veil is there to remind me, like the letters and cards from my friends, that I’m loved, and that whatever I do, I’m not alone.  The Fiance is along with me for the ride.  Where a lot of people think I’m foolish or naive for going after such lofty goals, he’s a third party who believes that my work is genuinely good, and not just good, but good enough.  If the stress gets to be too much, I know I can turn to him for support.  It’s also an example of a dream that I never thought possible coming true.  I had resigned myself to dying alone because I truly felt that no one would ever be willing to put up with me while I went chasing after my goals, or be able to accept me for the weird nerd girl that I am.  I used to dream of finding that one person, my soulmate, to serve as a partner in crime, though I never actually believed it’d happen.  Since it did, there’s no excuse for me to give up on my other dreams.

Finally, the mirror.  When I go to my wall and reread these things, I can glance at my reflection, and remind myself that I am the one who accomplished all of these things.  These are the experiences I am made of.  I set out to write a novel, and I did.  I wanted to be a mermaid when I was five, and it may have taken me twenty years, but I did it.  I don’t always like the girl I see staring back at me through the glass, but I can’t deny that she’s pretty remarkable with a grand and storied life that most people would probably think was at least three-quarters fabrication.  Also, I had no other place to put the mirror.  My bedroom is kind of small.

Is it hokey?  A little bit, but it works for me, and I think that we all need reminders of our own worth and ability once in a while.

I also created a special playlist in iTunes for myself that I put on whenever I’m filling out applications, making connections, writing, or feeling lost.

Again, it’s cheesy, but by surrounding myself with positive messages and affirmations, I can stand up tall, no matter how many times I get knocked down.

This doesn’t just extend to a single situation, either.  I’ve started to apply it to everything else in my life.  I make a mistake?  My bad, and I won’t do it again, but I’m not going to hide under a rock and cry about it for the rest of my life.  Somebody’s a jerk to me?  I’ve got even more people on my team.  Setbacks are a part of life, and every road has bumps in it.  Even once we achieve our goals, that doesn’t mean we should get complacent.  Keep doing whatever it is you do as passionately as you did on the way up.  Pretend like you’re still at square one.  Fight to get noticed, and once you do, keep fighting to prove that you deserve the attention and accolades.

The point is that rejection is nothing to fear.  Without rejection, we don’t learn anything.  It forces us to be flexible and creative, to reevaluate ourselves and keep from becoming stagnant.  Rejection doesn’t mean we’ll never be good enough, it means we know what detours we need to take and what we need to improve.

Realizing just how much you have in common with Rachel Berry, however… that’s something to worry about.

How To Adult: Surviving Phone Interviews

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Let’s face it, if there’s anybody who’s qualified to advise people on how to function as an adult, it’s me, the unemployed, broke freelance writer who speaks almost entirely in Tumblr memes.  Recently I managed to snag a phone interview for a neat little job and it was such a rip-roaring success that I decided to share my knowledge with others in the hopes that it can help them achieve their dreams, too.

To prepare, spend the night before your interview playing World of Warcraft until 4 a.m.  It’s okay, you have nothing else going on in your life, so you can just set your alarm for 11:30ish and possibly even have time to shower after rolling around making bleating noises for an hour.  Lay out a set of clothes for yourself, because you’re more productive when you’re fully dressed like you’re actually going to leave your house for once.  In the morning, you will look at these clothes and decide that it’s just easier not to wear pants.  (It’s a phone interview, it’s not like they’ll know.  I do not recommend applying the same mentality to in-person interviews, unless you are interviewing at some place that encourages pantslessness.  Be sure to give them your cell phone number instead of your landline, if you have one, because nothing contributes more to a successful interview than both you and the interviewer having to stop every ten seconds and ask “What?”  Communication is key.

Now that you are sans pantalons, unwashed, and only recently vertical, it’s time to wait for the phone to ring.  Sit at your desk — you know, the old crappy one missing a drawer that you refer to as your “office” so that you can sound important and keep people from knowing that you actually conduct all of your business two feet away from where you sleep — and stare at your phone, because using the Force will totally make it ring.  If the interviewer is 30 seconds late in calling, decide 10 seconds into his tardiness that they’ve changed their mind and secretly hate you and go into a full-blown panic attack.

When the phone rings, it is totally acceptable to speak in your approximation of a “professional” voice even if said voice actually sounds more like a “phone sex” voice.  This is in no way awkward for all involved and nobody will notice when two sentences later you forget to sound like a grown-up and go back to speaking in your normal voice, which sounds like a fairy on a three-pack-a-day habit for the past 20 years. Introductions should be brief and relatively painless, but sometimes they throw you a curveball by having a second person in the room who will also introduce themselves.  Here is a sample of how to respond to such a situation:

  • Interviewer #1: Hi, I’m John Smith, calling from Acme Co.’s hand grenade manufacturing team.
  • You: Hello, Mr. Smith!
  • Interviewer #1: I also have Pat McGroin sitting in with me today.
  • Interviewer #2: Hello!
  • You: Ok!

There will be a long, awkward pause where you’d think you’re supposed to correct yourself and actually greet the second interviewer, rather than treating him like an unloved bastard stepchild.  Instead, remain completely oblivious to social norms and sit there with a vacant smile on your face wondering why everyone has just stopped talking.  After 6 seconds or so, the interview will continue.  Only after this point should you realize that “Ok!” was probably not the expected response and spend the rest of the interview feeling like a douchebag and wondering how your faux pas has affected Interviewer #2’s psyche.

By now, you’re undoubtedly nervous, and while there are words swimming around in your head, reaching up to grab enough of them to string together a coherent sentence is probably going to be out of your realm of ability.  Thus, I recommend spending the entire interview cracking stupid jokes and giving rambling answers to every question they ask you.  You will receive bonus points for nervously giggling every two minutes.  After realizing that the interviewers are not laughing and that you sound like a completely unqualified 16-year-old idiot instead of the 25-year-old creative powerhouse that you are, your stress levels should rise to such high levels that you begin having an out-of-body experience in which you can see yourself verbally digging your own grave but are powerless to stop it due to the fact that ghost hands are notorious for being unable to interact with the physical world.  Instead, your ghost self should stand there helplessly chanting “shut up shut up shut up” until it returns to your body, at which point you should spend five minutes hoping that what just happened was all in your head and that you did not chant “shut up shut up shut up” out loud.

At some point, they will begin to ask you about your qualifications and experience.  Your best bet is to put “um” and “uh” between every sentence and completely forget to mention 75% of your accomplishments and skills.  If they ask you about other languages spoken, mention anything you have at least a working proficiency in, but also mention that you speak a smattering of others, specifying that all you can do in them is insult somebody’s mother and ask where the bathroom is.  This way, they will know that you mean serious business when it comes to globalization.

If you’ve made it this far without the interviewers “mysteriously” disconnecting, you will now be out of the hot seat, and the tables will be turned; that is, they will ask if you have any questions for them.  I find it best to ask one serious question that you pull out of your ass because you’re afraid that not having any questions makes you seem disinterested, followed by one stupid joke question that the interviewers will mistake as being completely serious and spend their valuable time actually attempting to answer.  After their wonderful, well-thought-out answer, you should unintentionally make yourself sound like an even bigger asshole by chuckling nervously and saying “Oh, I was… actually just joking about that, I mean, I know better than to… um… awkwaaaaaard” because by this point there is no conceivable way you’re getting the job, anyway, and as a result, your brain has gone into complete shutdown mode.

After the interview is complete, repeatedly bang your head against the desk while you reflect on how you have let down every single person who gave you a recommendation for this position.

Incidentally, everything I’ve just suggested above is biting sarcasm, but it is the absolute truth with regards to how my very first phone interview ever went.  I received a polite and professionally-worded email two days later advising me that they had gone with another candidate for the position, something I do not blame them in the slightest for.  I’m not sharing any of this for pity or to complain, even.  I’m sharing it to illustrate a very important point.

Sometimes we screw up an inopportune times, and that’s okay.

The “adult” kicks in when we don’t let one rejection letter ruin our lives and dash our hopes and dreams.  It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a short time.  Some self-care is in order — cuddle up with a good book, treat yourself to some ice cream, go out to dinner with friends if you find yourself needing the company of other people to cheer yourself up.  Take the time you need to shake it out, and then get right back on the horse.  You aren’t a failure.  You’re not doomed.  You’re not incapable of functioning.

I think we all forget from time to time that we are not superheroes and that we cannot win at everything 100% of the time.  During my “sorry-for-myself” time, I called my mother to apologize to her for letting the entire family down and making them look bad.  She laughed and told me about how when I was a kid, I’d go into hysterics and lock myself in my room for bringing home anything less than an A+.  In 8th grade I brought home a C in math and very nearly had a nervous breakdown.  There’s the (highly racist) joke about an A- being an Asian F?  Well, apparently it’s a Mediterranean Jewish F, too.  The kicker was that no one in my family gave me grief over having to keep a perfect 4.0.  Sure, they had high expectations of me (and still do), but their primary rule was always “try your hardest, and if you still get 98 instead of 100, well, just try harder next time.”  They never had to punish me, because I did a fantastic job of punishing myself.

Sure, it’s an admirable trait to always strive for excellence, but there comes a time when we need to step back and look at the situation with a much calmer set of eyes.  In my case, I was applying for a job that I admittedly was not completely qualified for.  I wrote a letter of introduction explaining that though I did not meet all of the concrete requirements as far as education and experience, I still felt confident that I could perform to and exceed the company’s expectations with no issue.  Even getting a phone interview with that was a remarkable feat that, realistically, the majority of people with my level of qualification probably would not have been able to pull off.  Trying to be Superman or Wonder Woman (or Batman) all the time just isn’t doable, and if we don’t accept that for ourselves and learn how not to beat ourselves up for it, we’re going to send ourselves either to a padded room or an early grave.

I took my time to lay around watching Disney movies and declaring that Mulan was my spirit animal for the complete disaster that was her date with the matchmaker which, in my mind, went about as well as my interview.  I spent an entire day responding with “dishonor, dishonor on you, dishonor on your whole family, dishonor on your cow” to anyone who asked how it went.  And then I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and jumped back on the horse with three more applications to the same company (but for different positions).

At the very least, eventually they’ll get sick of seeing my name on their desks and have no choice but to give in.