What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beginnings and Ends

Day after day the hits keep coming...  I was still reading in bed this morning when I got an erroneous empty phone call followed by another full one from the Hiking Store I visited last night.  The woman went straight into an interview, as if I knew she was supposed to call.  Twenty minutes later I had to be in their store by 10:30 for an interview and was feeling like this woman was trying to push me in the door for labor day weekend!  So I got moving on my Chi Gung, meditated my self into an outdoor hiking spot and headed down there.  I'm a five minute bike ride away. 

The interview went well.  I mean, if there was anything my personality was made for it was retail.  Interacting face to face with people and trying to help them, too bad that little capitalism issue always gnaws at me!  lol.  But this place is a hybrid, the largest consumer cooperative in the US, and would be perfect for me.  I've actually been monitoring their website for months hoping for openings.  Plus, I've always done great in retail, so long as the emphasis is on helping people, not strictly sales numbers, and definitely not commission.  I feel that the push for "sales" takes away from the desire to help people solve the issue they came in the store looking to address.  The minute it's about money - as with anything - the best outcome for the person/customer somehow gets lost. 

I was interviewing for footwear which I've got several years of experience with in specialty shops.  I'm kind of keen on doing hiking and backpacking work, but I'll take whatever!  I always could branch out and cross-train a bit.  So, anyway, to the interview.  I thought it went really well.  The only hiccup was the what do you need to improve upon question.  I don't have my canned answer down for that on well enough yet.  I always come around to the same answer, but fumbled with it a bit.  I told them I had to find stability.  It was the first thing that came into my head and I spoke before thinking better.  It's my situation now, it's where I am.  I lack stability and its my biggest weakness right now.  The biggest issue I am fighting to address.  I played with the answer quickly, as that it has been my focus, but I don't think it was completely evident that it wasn't about innate self, but about current life situation.  I quickly transitioned to the main issue I've used before and have actually been addressing.   I tend to get into places and analyze and critique things deeply. I'm a born critical thinker, i.e. perfect as a consultant, but not always as a low man on the totem pole.  So what I have been working on is being better and more political in how I express my critiques - or if I even do at all.  I of course didn't get to that statement that quickly while there though.  But I will next time.  I've been working on it mentally all day now.  I hope it doesn't hurt me.  Everything else seemed to go really well.  We had positive interaction, smiles, affirmative nods throughout, etc.  I didn't talk much about the rest of my stuff, mostly sticking to my retail history. 

All together interviews are tricky.  I always used to nail them and get job offers on the spot, but lately since being back here in the US I haven't been getting jobs.  I mean its certainly also due to my qualifications not being quite directly on here in the US as so much of my experience is from abroad and on global issues.  But anyway, the whole job search process is tough.  It starts with your life on one or two pieces of paper based on a one or two piece of paper description of a whole nother life you want to lead and someone else is trying to convey in such a small space.  All of this in the hope of getting a half hour or so in front of a few people that will decided your fate based on every tick of your eye brow or expression on your face.  I couldn't imagine what It must be like to be someone that struggles with inter-personal stuff or pressure like that.  It's so sad too, because everyone shouldn't have to be like that.  Our variances as a species is our beauty, why should the process reward only those with certain skills? 

But anyway, this is retail, you've got to be personable.  So it's a good place for me.  So all smiles throughout, and I'm thinking they are trying to push this through. Then we come to a close with:

"We still have some other interviews to do, we'll let you know in a week or two."

Ugh.... a week or two, I'm ready now!  But I'll tell you what, if I can't get this job, I can't get one!!  A retail hiking store with conscientious principles a cooperative structure?  The job was made for me!  And yes, I do want it!!  It would start as part-time, but it would be a decent enough income, I could work up to more hours easily.  Then I'd have time to work on my other projects, and even still there would be room for advancement as well.  The one thing that does really concern me about the interview though is that I'll get pigeon-holed into running stuff or not considerd for other departments.  They have 14 spots advertised and three areas that I am very experienced at.  I just need one of them to fit. The issue though as I'm worrying about it, is that I went into that interview and was just myself.  My views, my ideals, and translated them to a retail setting - which has worked for me in the past very well.  But I'm worried, I have been having a tough run of things of lat with actually expressing my views in the real world.  I have become marginalized for my beliefs in many circles.  If I don't get this job as is, then the only avenue left for me will be to sit in those interviews and lie.  I don't think I can do that.  But anyway, I felt good abotu it all!!  And I think it will work out and I'll be working in another week or two!  :)   

Anyway, no resting on laurels as I have nothing yet.  The day goes on, more job searches, organize some UN apps, pull out the idealist.org postings from the last couple days.  But I find myself peeking more and more at the Occupy stuff.  September 17th is coming up and I've had to focus on this survival search so pointedly.  I'm feeling out of the loop and missing being involved.  But I can't focus on that, and there's other personal baggage there as well that makes it tough to be involved with right now.  So back to jobs!  I speak to the woman from the Children's agency I interviewed with a month back, she's gonna help me there as well, and now all of a sudden there's a stack of apps to get done! 

Then I get the email!!  KENYA!!!!!!  Nope, didn't get it, they wanted someone with more impact assessment experience and quantitative skills.  I figured, kinda knew it when I walked out of their office really.  And it makes it easier for me.  I don't know that I would have taken it anyway given all the other concerns about it.  But to turn down a job - no matter how rough it could be on me or my career - would have been tough to do.  Anyway, so I went for a run, sweated out all the world's chemicals, and will live to fight another day....  Oh, and I might have a place to stay next month!!  :) 

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