I had my first in-person interview with a company back where my family is moving to. If you landed here first, please go to my post I wrote prior to the interview.
I went into the interview without taking my morning dose of medications. One or all of them have been making me so drowsy that I had been nodding off and even slurring my speech. Since even a misplaced yawn can throw an interview off I made the decision that I would attempt success without the medications.
I knew The Dragon would be out in full force without them and I really only have three skills at hand to battle him: I can ignore him, I can mentally battle him and I can put on my best chameleon face.
This would require my chameleon skills at their best to represent me in the best ways possible. I have no intent to misrepresent myself, only to, as anyone would want in an interview, to show my best face.
Promptly at 3 a.m. I was wide-awake for my interview across the street five hours later. My mind was racing and I couldn’t even pretend to fall back asleep. I still tried, for a few hours, to no avail. Eventually I flipped on the television to an inspiring story about Jackie Robinson. My guess is the title was “42” since the number was featured so prominently. It was a good movie. But I rather would have gotten in some precious couple hours of sleep to go in with a well-rested mind.
I was very much not alone. Three songs playing simultaneously in my mind sat the chaotic background for The Dragon’s nagging: “You can’t work there. You have no experience in this field. You are too crazy to hold it together through more than 30 minutes of your all-day interview. Even if you get the job you won’t be stable enough to keep it. You’ll die on the commute eventually. Go ahead and try and caffeinate your morning headache away, I’ll just make you dry heave. You are not worth this job. You are not worth any job. Your family is going to suffer because of you. You are an embarrassment. You used to be amazing and now your brain is broken and you are incapable of anything,” add in screaming and yelling in its low, gravelly voice and awful language and you have The Dragon at its worst. The only thing it wasn’t doing was telling me I needed to be dead, no idea why it didn’t settle on this favorite mantra of his. This went on and on throughout my morning and into my day. The further I got from my previous night’s dose of antipsychotics the worse it grew.
I walked to my interview dividing the self-talk I control myself between bolstering myself up and talking back to The Dragon. I reminded myself that I had been successful despite The Dragon before. It seems to help to feed him a little bit though and acknowledge that most of what he says has a slight shred of truth. Yes, I ass-kiss my inner nemesis a little bit. He and I have a pretty complicated relationship.
Entering the door, I knew, undeniable to any entity, I was looking sharp in my suit. I didn’t have a single hair of my support dog’s (back in California) on me. I reflected on all the really tough conversations and situations I was successful in while in service and in college. I didn’t try to fool myself, even for a moment, on the idea that somehow The Dragon would be quiet or play along.
I managed to establish some sort of rapport with each of my interviewers and answered their questions with fantastic examples from my professional and personal life I also came up with great position-appropriate questions to ask. I don’t think I crossed the line from confident to cocky too much. I tried to gain a little empathy with each interviewer. I never called one by the wrong name.
I did space out a little bit while a few of them were talking. I hope that it didn’t show on my face. Engaging with them, maintaining a positive inner dialogue, simultaneously ignoring some of The Dragon’s comments and yells while talking back to others all while using my chameleon skills as best I could did get the best of me a few times. This happened with interviewers that seemed to be talkers and in each case, I could pull-back before they finished and base my comments what they just stated or use a pivot question to keep them talking.
I tried to focus on my shoulders and eyebrows, my tells when The Dragon is successfully digging into me.
I know I stumbled on a few words here and there and maybe gave a few-less-than-good answers, but I don’t think more so than anyone else who spent all day trying to get a job. I managed to switch from serious interview talk to light-hearted yet relevant humorous conversation over lunch to inquisitive curiosity during tours.
In my mind, I had an extremely successful day of interviews and I think I’ll be getting a positive phone call soon.
I used the drive from the interview to the airport to try and wind myself down. I changed out of my suit. Under my jacket my shirt was soaked with sweat. I needed to get some rehydration! Once at the airport I finally took my medications including an Ativan since I could feel I was well on my way to a panic attack. I thought I was doing good until I called my wife. In talking with her it became apparent that my long day of trying to ignore The Dragon just delayed things. I was in awful shape. I couldn’t stay on the phone talking about it for long or there wouldn’t be enough Ativan in the world to advert my panic attack… I’ve had a really ugly panic attack in an airport before.
The side effects from my meds were doing what I feared they would have earlier in the day now though. Extreme chemical drowsiness. When I awoke from the first of a series of airport naps I was relieved and just wanted more. These backfired large though. I completely slept through the boarding of my flight home. The plane was pulling away from the gate! Ugh. What a day.
I was able to get a standby seat the next morning back home. It’s probably best this way. I’m already in a much better head-space, enough so that I can write this post. I’m sure my wife is dreading the state that I’ll be arriving back in… and with a little more time and distance from my truly awful Dragon day I’m not doing quite so bad. In a few days or weeks when receiving either an offer or regrets I’m sure The Dragon will be back at it. This time I’ll be properly medicated though.
If this has been your first post you’ve read about me and you are curious – you have some catching up to do: You should read my introduction to The Dragon, the state of my military career and my About Me page.