A tweet from Ag Careers last week reminded me of my unfortunate luck, focused on job interviews. But, I am known for getting myself into some interesting predicaments more often than not. Today’s post will be focused on adventures of my Shameless Self Promotion Tours.
Episode 1: The Internship Interview
Interviewing had always been my cup of tea. I got to talk to people about events in my life that defined what I had learned and me. Between judging and never seeming to know a stranger, interviewing was a seemingly easy exercise. The morning I was getting ready to interview with Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) in Lubbock I was a little nervous, I will admit. It was November, and I was starting grad school without an assistantship in January. I needed a job badly to get through grad school along with real life communications experience.
I had planned the perfect outfit, Lynette, my contact for the position had told me earlier in the week, “don’t kill yourself getting dressed.” WHAT – who says that – later this would make a lot more sense. Either way I was dressed: black slacks, black boots, a tweed black and white blazer with a white shirt and pearls, simple but professional. That morning, I was running throughout the quaint, but not fancy trailer house that my boyfriend at the time was living in. He was kind enough to put up with my gypsy life between Lubbock and Dallas while I was interning for the State Fair of Texas. He had an extra closet, and I had packed it full of clothing I thought I might need to access to for interviews.
I hate being late. Hate it. And for an interview, I wouldn’t allow for it. So I planned to leave almost an hour early, as PCCA was located on the other side of the loop. I am also certain this was the last day is rained in Lubbock in 2010. I wouldn’t even call it rain; it had misted the ground enough for the rickety steps of the trailer to be slick. I usually take my extreme incoordination as a comic relief, but that day I did not have time to laugh at myself, I hit the first step and crashed into the following two steps. I broke all three of the steps, and my black slacks had gained a tinge of mud. So I climb back up on to the porch, stressing…I was going to be late surely. I cleaned myself up and jumped off the porch and made it to the interview.
The interview went fine, but I didn’t have the skills at that time for what they needed. The two ladies, dressed in jeans had to have seen the mud that was still left on my slacks, or I was hoping they had missed it. Lunch following my interview the boyfriend and I were walking out of the restaurant and he pointed out that I was still covered in mud. He could not believe I wore those slacks into my interview, again no back up plan.
didn’t get the internship on the first go, but later in 2011, I was welcomed into the PCCA family, and there was no mention of my muddy first appearance. And Lynette, really meant about not killing myself to get dressed comment – we make denim as a value added product for our members, so jeans are always fine.
Episode 2: The College Campus
And yes, this is another story of wardrobe malfunction, and no I did not learn from my pervious episode and I did not have a back up plan.
Looking for job opportunities in rural America is always a challenge, and so I made a list of the largest employers in the region of the country I wanted to be in and started looking. With that, I stumbled upon a job with Eastern Oregon University. (EOU). The campus is small, but beautiful, and the end of April with the trees in bloom and the grass lush couldn’t have been a better time to be at EOU.
Thoughtful outfit preparation went into my interview wear. My treasured cuffed Banana Republic slacks, black blazer and coral tank top, pearls, along with my favorite pumps instead of boots. Dressed for success is what I thought, but my dear friend Danielle questioned my ability to walk in the attire. I assured here I wore this outfit all the time when I interned, which was not a lie, but all the time meant once a month on board day. Board day was the only day that we didn’t wear jeans at PCCA it seemed like.
Trotting through campus again not to be late, I had noticed that I almost tripped myself on the cuff of my pants, so I slowed down in hopes of not falling. Up the stairs to the second floor, the seven-hour interview was about to begin. Seated in the largest board room I have ever been in, sat three ladies, all asked questions, the first hour wrapped up and the campus tour started. Being back in eastern Oregon had some perks; such as I had played high school sports with the perky college senior who was serving as my tour guide. She was talking about Physical Therapy school and how excited she was to move to Arizona. I was thrilled for her, and hoped she didn’t see me concentrating on my heels occasionally catching my cuff. Disclaimer, I walk like a seal in heels. I am conscientious of this structure flaw, so I most likely over correct this issue and make myself appear more mini-giraffe like in heels instead.
Through McKenzie Theater, the details looked so familiar and I was not worried about my ability to finish the tour or the day. Down the five shallow steps through the remainder of campus, and then five more hours…
Crash. I went rolling down the five steps. As a family friend said later, I went “ass over teakettle” down the stairs. Thankfully only a handful of people saw the act, and several rushed to help me. I brushed myself off; my hands and the top of my left foot were slightly scuffed, minor. The major issue was I torn my pants severely. A hole above my left knee that was the size of a gold ball, and the left cuff was shredded…and I had no back up plan, and the interview was not nearly done. Another panel interview, foundation board presentation and dinner with the Vice President of the university were still a head. Needless to say, I had an easy opening to talk about how the day had gone; it was always up from there…
Later than evening I discovered how badly my knee was scratched, and it has since served as a constant reminder of that day.
I didn’t get the job, which was just fine…My wardrobe couldn’t handle a full-time job on that campus.
Episode 3: Time Zones
Time Zones should not be a struggle for me, but let’s face it most things are. Living between Pacific Standard Time, and as the locals call it “Boise Time” or Mountain Standard Time for most of my life should have made me a pro at determining time zones.
On the final interview of my “Shameless Self Promotion Campaign,” the communications lead me to believe that we had scheduled an early afternoon interview. To be exact, I “penciled” in 1 p.m. into my phone…1 p.m. Central Standard Time. That really meant 11 a.m. Pacific, with an 11:30 a.m. start time for this interview.
When my phone reminder tone went off I thought it was a mistake, there was no way. I double checked it and thought to myself, did I really just screw this up too? I made a call to an understanding HR director who laughed at me, and told me to be in Pendleton by 1:30 p.m., PST. I had flown into Boise less than 12 hours before…it was an honest mistake… We had planned for my Mom to go to Pendleton with me, but before we were leaving we had to work cows and turn out at the ranch in Baker. The ranch is an hour one way from the house, and she was thankfully on her way back from the last load when I called to tell her I had screwed up…again. She said ok, I’ll drive a little faster. She left the pickup and trailer in the driveway, and scampered into the house to get ready before we jumped back into the car to drive the hour over the pass to Pendleton. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, but I was sweating like I had ran the 65 miles from Cove.
Lesson learned: Make sure you check the time zone setting in your phone…always. And I got the job!
Thanks AgCareers for the reminder of the lessons learned, and the skills of always being able to laugh at myself, thinking on my feet and an ability to adapt.