I feel like a teenager waiting by the phone for a boy to call after a friend told him I thought he was cute and slipped him my number. Just like the boys in high school, there are few jobs that I share a mutual attraction with, but once in a great while there is one that shines brighter than the others, one that has the potential to fit into my life perfectly. After six months of unemployment some may think I should be enthused about any job prospect, just as some boys thought an average-looking flat-chested girl should be thrilled that anyone asked her out. Unemployment has done it’s best to chip away at my self-esteem and confidence, but when I review my work history and recommendation letters I am reminded that a lack of responses is not indicative of my worth, but of the competitive job market. Despite such disinterest from most of my potential employers, it goes against my nature to accept that I cannot have that unique best-fit-for-me job.
So when the phone rings and caller id announces that company, the one I want to work for most, I let it ring a couple of times while I try to collect myself. And invariably, just as when the cute boy finally called, my voice cracks when I answer despite my attempt to sound cool. The last thing I want is to sound desperate or overly excited, even though I am. I want to convey enough competence and likability to generate an interview invitation, yet still be authentic enough that they are not surprised later when I talk too much or propose different processes for meeting goals. I have had my fill of “who does she think she is” managers who believe the only good ideas are theirs or introduce something I proposed as an innovative approach they just thought of. That is not to say that I expect to avoid those inherent managerial traits, just that I would like to work for a team-oriented company that is not as hierarchical as my last employer. A girl can dream.
The first phone call is a prescreening and so far I have not warranted a second call inviting me to get dolled-up for a date, I mean an interview. Yesterday’s prescreen phone call went exceptionally well after my high-pitched “hello”. I did not stumble or hesitate when asked how much I want to be paid and if I can work flexible hours and the human resource manager sounded enthused despite my unwillingness to work for free any hours between 24/7. Now I wait for the second call, the invitation. Not having received such a call yet, I am unsure if I can be as cool as I was during the prescreen, but if they are truly seeking a cool employee I am probably not the best fit anyway. On the other hand, if they are looking for a somewhat dorky, not very hip, but always professional human resource assistant, I’m the gal.