work woke up from the worst dream I’ve had in a long time, and I had to put it somewhere. Can’t do it on Facebook because there’s always someone making jokes when I’m trying to be serious about things.
Let’s picture the scene: the interview was being held in some swanky office somewhere in central London. One of those offices in a brand new renovated building, where you go up to the third or fourth floor and get a nice view of the surrounding greenery as well as the “power buildings” in the distance. As soon as you get to the right floor, you could hear phones going off and see people walking around, obviously more concerned with looking a certain way and not actually being good at their jobs.
Things started going wrong when I found out who would be interviewing me… and they looked a lot like the bosses from my former jobs as an employee. It seemed as if their job was to go through my CV and experience, pick them apart and find every single criticism about them. Occasionally they’d slip in a little cheap shot about me and the way I was dressed. They even had a go at me for using the word “crap”, acting as if it was a swear word.
For whatever reason, in my infinite wisdom I turned up in very casual clothes, with the one saving grace being I’d at least taken a shower. Everybody in the office (except the women) looked like they were investment bankers or something, and there wasn’t a single item of clothing that wasn’t a name brand. They really didn’t like what I was wearing, to the point where they brought in a broke Toby Young looking manager type who was some kind of fashion expert: he gave “tips” on how to sit, and just laughed to himself when it came to my clothes.
In fact, just about everybody decided to take shots at me for one reason or another, laughing to themselves and in their small groups. Even the interviewer’s PA – who clearly got the job based on her oral skills – had to chime in about how badly my past interviews with other companies had gone.
When it became obvious that they weren’t going to hire me, and that they let the interview drag on solely to ridicule me, I decided to leave. By this time just about everybody in the office was laughing at me, but somewhat noticeable were the people who weren’t: those at the very bottom of the hierarchy, who may have known all too well what pigs the management and other staff were.
The final straw came when I had to get the bus back home: there were traffic jams as it had started raining, and I could never catch the right bus as they kept stopping or disappearing. My phone battery was dead so I couldn’t call the recruitment person involved.
That’s around the point where I woke up, thankful that it was just a bad dream. However, it felt painfully similar to my experiences in many places I’ve worked previously, as well as a number of dealings with feckless (and somewhat stupid) recruitment people.
Issues such as being treated as a scapegoat and yet disposable, being talked over and not listened to, and not being able to demonstrate certain skills and experience (due to draconian non-disclosure agreements) were coming up. Another annoying issue was my being typecast for short contracts: some stupid recruitment people see this as non-committal, therefore refusing to put me forward for longer-term contracts. It’s reminiscent of the whole “experience” paradox I kept running into at the start of my career.
As for the way I dressed: I have no idea why I would turn up to an interview completely casually. My only guess is that I didn’t have time to prepare, or that I was kept completely in the dark about what was expected during the interview stage. However, they made it obvious they were only looking for excuses to ridicule me.
I suppose this dream came about because of my efforts in getting a Kickstarter project going, and some recent feedback from Kickstarter staff. It was one of those situations where certain information about how to make a successful project was withheld (or at least, I didn’t see it) until after the hard work was done. In this case it was about adding references to past experience and the project itself.
Have you ever had one of those instances where nobody says a damn thing until after you’ve put the work in, and then all of a sudden here they are to dispense their “wisdom”? I certainly have.
There were a few things to learn from that bad dream, including the sad truth that appearance – image – is treated as more important than actual ability. You won’t see me in designer labels any time soon, but you’ll never see me turning up to an interview in jeans and trainers.