The First Interview

I pressed the elevator button to exit the parking garage and, as if my nerves needed anything else to put them on edge, the metal door clanged shut as if I had been locked in a dungeon. Ironic, considering that I intended to unlock a new level of achievement and be set loose on an exciting new adventure.

Moments later, I was in the top of a tower, the kingdom of Los Angeles in all its hazy glory, sprawled out before me. I could see a sliver of the ocean, its tiny waves winking at me. It felt like I was home.

I had an interview with a pretty big-deal publication on Valentine’s Day, and I did indeed fall in love.

It was my first real interview. Not since graduating college; since ever. I’ve been fortunate enough to have gone from one small family business to another and to have come highly recommended. I’ve never truly needed a resume, and I’ve never felt I had to actively think about what I was going to say before meeting to determine if I would indeed be a fit. But for this, I felt I needed to be nothing short of perfection.

Right. No pressure, self!

I worried the crap out of how I was going to come across beforehand, and in the end, the worst I can say is that I was genuine. I’ll never consider that a negative.

I said two things that concerned me. One was just reality, the other was one of those moments where my interviewer seemed to have wanted to cut past my PR answer and get to reality. I can’t lie worth crap, so I don’t, and thus I gave what was—at the time—the real answer. It was about where else I’d like to land as a writer, and it came even after the “where do you see yourself in five years” question.

Here’s the big win from the interview: I was told I should reach out to a writer at the office. I looked up the writer’s work and I’m so glad I did because, if I can write the types of stories and have the sorts of experiences this person has had (even if it takes some time), I’m not so sure I’d feel the need to ever leave the publication with which I interviewed.

It’s as if my second interviewer saw through me and said, “Let me show you a reflection of what kind of writer you want to be.” It was such a wonderful gift. Not only do I now feel as if I actually could fit at the publication I was trying to convince myself I was “good enough” for, but now I also know that there is someone with writing interests similar to my own, living my dream. What I want is possible.

Oh! Hello, tribe!

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