And also, I blew my nose before the interview. The second one, anyway.


I was unprepared for the whirling blender of mismatched emotions I felt when I put down the phone after saying yes. I was thrilled, and I was also -- sometimes change, even good change, is slightly sort of terrifying. Fortunately, Jack's flexible enough to be able to pick up Jackson after school every day, but Jackson's not so delighted that he'll be doing homework and playing his DS without having me around . . . to ignore. He spent the weekend trying to cough in my face (he and Jack were both horribly sick with the flu all last week) so that I'd be too sick to start Monday and he could come home from school and we'd, I don't know, cuddle for six hours?

Anyway, in the interest of following through, and because this is such a ridiculous time to be looking for work, I'm going to post a few of the things that helped me, just in case any of it can help someone reading this have a little more confidence throughout their own work-looking-for ordeal.

1. I figured out what kind of people I wanted to work with. After six months of failing to land jobs in areas in which I actually had a fair amount of experience, I decided to rethink the career path I'd followed since college. Instead, I thought about some of my best friends -- sharp, funny, intensely smart people -- and realized that most of them were in the same profession, and that maybe I'd be well served to look for some sort of entry into working in that profession as well. Then I hit Craigslist.

2. I asked for help. There's nothing the Internet loves more than giving strangers advice, and man, you came through! Those interview tips really helped me start feeling like I had more control in the situation. The tips that helped me most were:

a.Remember that you are interviewing them. Ask the interviewer about their own career arc. Remember to ask them what they like about their job and what they like about the office. Be not so sure you want the job. LISTEN.

b. It is all about chemistry. "I [the interviewer] want to like you and know that it isn't going to drive me nuts to see you every day, that you have a sense of humor, but are detailed and will pay attention. I want the person to come and work for me and take over lots of work and do it well and make us all happy so I can stop interviewing people and doing two (or three) jobs."

c. At the end of it, ask for the job. At least ask for the next step in the process, even if you're not sure you want it. If you want the job, tell them. Ask for it. So many people never actually [say], "I want to work here. I want this job."

All of that helped me to realize . . .

2. It was time I stopped trying to be somebody I wasn't. There is little more emotionally draining than pretending you're interested in a job that is already boring you to death during the interview. People always know when you're faking it. In the past I've tried to pretend I was ready to take on all manner of tedious assignments but it was just because I wanted my job search to be over with as soon as possible, which was really lazy and disrespectful to myself.

3. I knew my bottom line. I'd been out of the work force for awhile so I needed to be realistic about what I was qualified for. And I knew that if all else failed and I needed a paycheck ASAFP I would have been happy to take a retail job. You might feel the same way about housecleaning or telemarketing. With me it was running a cash register and keeping an eye out for shoplifters while I kept looking for a job that would do more than just pay the bills.

4. I let my freak flag fly. This is going to sound absurd but for the second interview I dressed to match the interior of the office. Seriously, same color scheme. I know! They probably didn't notice but it gave me the a little psychic boost to feel like I already belonged there.

5. I lucked out. I totally lucked into finding a place that was looking for someone like me. And I can't wait to get started.