I’ve been on my fair share of job interviews, but it wasn’t until I sat on the other side of the table that I became aware of how many of job candidates genuinely don’t know how to put their best foot forward…or any foot…unless it’s in their mouth.
From someone who has interviewed almost ten people, here are my tips to ensuring your interview doesn’t suck.
- Make a proper resume. Stop Googling “resume” and filling in your information. Get rid of the “objective” and stop including your high school accomplishments (unless you are still in high school). Have someone who knows what they’re doing proofread it and make sure your experience as a lifeguard is relevant to the job you’re going for.
- The receptionist is your first test. They are your first first impression and they have some, however small, input in your future at the company. Smile. Acknowledge them. Say “please” and “thank you.” You would be surprised at how much these gestures are noticed.
- Your appearance matters. It won’t get you a job, but it will count against you if your appearance is distracting to the environment the company has already established. (i.e. A new suit won’t get you a job, but neither will your Sum 41 haircut.)
- Don’t be late. “Late” is on time. “On time” is ten minutes early. Don’t be too early, either, or you may interrupt your interviewer’s day. Put the company’s phone number in your phone so you can call if you are running late.
- Do your homework. Take an hour and research the company’s website and social media outlets. Reviewing the resources the company has made will let you know what they’re proud of and what their presence is in the community. Take note of what they do well and what they could improve, providing the former at your leisure and the latter if prompted.
- You do not already have the job. There is a difference between confident and cocky. Confidence in your skills and experience is a tremendous quality to bring to an interview, just don’t let it stray into the treacherous chair lean that says, “I’m running this interview.”
- This job is not below you. You might be going through a career shift, or a time when you find yourself applying for a job that you thought you had left behind you (internship, entry-level position, etc.), but if you are interviewing for it, I can guarantee it is not below you. You do not tolerate an internship, you gladly accept an internship, opportunity or job that will help advance you in a way that your previous employment couldn’t.
- Don’t badmouth your previous employers. You will not be with the same company forever, so the idea that the company you are interviewing with will inevitably end up on that list is not outrageous. They see how you speak about organizations that gave you opportunities and invested in your training, and that is not how they want to be represented.
- Don’t burn bridges. If you have to cancel an interview or turn down a job because of another offer, speak to the company you are turning down as if you hope to work for them at some point in the future.
- Be thankful. Sometimes it’s hard, especially if you don’t get the position, but be thankful for the interviewers who took the time out of their day to meet with you. A quick email is the easiest way to express your gratitude and will leave a good impression.
It’s worth noting that A) these will not necessarily get you a job and B) these traits are some that should be applied during your tenure with the company, should you get the job, as they are decent human traits, as well as interviewing skills.
The first step is admitting you have a problem. Men only have one thing on their mind, and it isn’t sports, so you’ll have to find ways to bring up sports, casually.
Try: “I was eating the greatest sandwich the other day. It was a Philadelphia Cheesesteak. Delicious. Speaking of Philadelphia, did you know they have a hockey team? It’s called the Flyers. Do you watch hockey?”
Or a more biased opener, such as, “How about them Royals?”
You could even lead off with a slightly obscure reference: “The Miami Dolphins haven’t been decent since Ray Finkle.”
In October, you run the risk of confusing most men by the vague question, “Did you catch the game last night?” First of all, you don’t want to make him feel bad if he did not catch the game. Secondly, which game? Baseball? Football? Hockey? There are so many possibilities that you might accidentally bruise his ego if he watched the wrong game.
Bottom line, be careful out there. Talking about sports with men is tricky, but if you follow these steps, you just might find yourself engaged in a pretty lively conversation!
*Note: All tips can be applied to women as well…because sports do not require specific genitalia. Nor are any of these tips particularly useful.
Christmas is closer now than it has been all year, which means more and more people have reached their peak stress levels. Presents they haven’t bought, cookies they haven’t baked, lights they haven’t hung…there are plenty of things that could/should be done (and plenty more, thanks to the holiday-shaming of Pinterest), but when you think about it, is that why you enjoy Christmas?
(Maybe you don’t like Christmas, and that’s fine. Maybe you don’t celebrate, and the thought of humans dressed as evergreens singing about flying reindeer pisses you off more than the obligatory red coffee cups Starbucks insists on serving your non-winter-themed beverage in. And for that, I hope you find some join in the final days of December, other than this holiday. Oh, and Happy Holidays!)
When I was a kid, I did not worry about the following:
- Calories…Christmas was the time of year when the rules on food were lifted, and we were allowed to eat that extra cookie and have a few more pizza rolls (we have weird traditions). There are so many food-related traditions, like pizza rolls, that make me excited just thinking about them. And now that I can bake, it’s my turn to create new traditions and make people happy with what I can make. Now isn’t the time to tell me how to “keep off that holiday weight”, People Magazine…thanks, though.
- Presents for Others…When I was young (8 or 9), I took $6 to the dollar store, and bought Christmas presents for my family members. (Side note: that was my first lesson in sales tax…”dollar store,” my ass.) I believe the gifts included a giant piece of bubble gum, a fly swatter and a “glass” figurine, among other fantastic finds. Christmas morning, I was THRILLED to have my siblings and parents open their gifts, knowing that I had spent MY money to give them something. They loved their gifts. This is the feeling everyone wants when they get a gift for someone…no matter if it’s everything on their list, or that one special gift. It matters more who it’s from than what it is.
- Christmas Decorations…If our tree was up, and Christmas music was on, it was Christmas. I loved decorating the tree, and seeing my dad fight with the Christmas lights, but if those things hadn’t happened, Christmas would have still happened. Taking the time to put cookies out for Santa was encouraged, but there was no Elf on the Shelf watching my every move in the days leading up to the 25th. (Nor were the obligatory “funny” Elf scenarios necessary.)
Things I DID worry about?
- Singing “Angels We Have Heard on High” in our Christmas pageant without twirling my halo around my wrist.
- Would Santa come on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
- Getting to see the Hey Arnold! Christmas episode.
- My Christmas dress…and if I got to wear tights or pantyhose.
- Will it snow?
Every year I try to remember what Christmas was when I was younger, because that’s the nostalgia that is captured every year. The innocence of youth is often trampled by the greed, envy and sloth of adulthood. Don’t let the days leading up to the “most wonderful time of the year” bring you down…remember WHY you celebrate!
So, Merry Christmas! I genuinely hope you get to celebrate it with those you love. You might not get to spend it with everyone you love, but I can guarantee that whoever you spend that day with is grateful to have you.
In lieu of the recent Abercrombie & Fitch situation, I have an opinion.
To those people who are outraged over what the CEO said…are you surprised? No, that statement shouldn’t have been made, but come on…their bags have half naked, usually wet, models on them. They understand their brand, and their customers do, too.
Of the people who are offended, I completely agree with those who are donating their clothes to Goodwill, or the homeless. They’re still clothes, and if A&F doesn’t want specific people wearing them, then that’s a superb solution to “stick it to the man”.
However, to the woman on Good Morning America, who wrote a strongly worded letter and shipped back the HEAPS of clothing, her TWELVE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER owned, to the company…what do you think they’ll do with those perfectly good clothes? Burn them. That’s what. You obviously have the means to afford their clothes, and the means to turn around and ship them off without blinking an eye. That’s not a statement, that’s a waste.
I feel uncomfortable walking into Abercrombie & Fitch, because when I shop for clothes, I usually like to see how they would look ON, not OFF. And I hate leaving a store smelling like the belly button of a bad decision. So it’s been my personal choice not to shop there.
But if you shop there, that’s your decision. You already know what you’re getting yourself into. You know if they carry your size. You know if the clothes are what you wear.
Again, the statement was wrong…but why is everyone so insulted?
We live in a world of multi-tasking: watching the news while making breakfast, cleaning while listening to music, pooping while playing Angry Birds…
We’ve all done it.
We’ve all dropped a deuce* while browsing the Internet…that’s what a smart phone is for, right? And you’d be lying if you say you’ve never texted someone while taking the Browns to the Super Bowl*. (And when they ask you what you’re doing you say, “Just hanging out…” You are not “just hanging out”. You are releasing the chocolate hostage*.)
And all of this is fine…until you start holding phone calls on line 1 while doing number 2*.
This is an intervention for all you toilet talkers…you commode conversationalists…you bathroom banterers who insist on bringing your phone call into the public restroom.
First of all, did you know that your cell phone has more bacteria than a toilet seat? Yup. Wanna know how that happens? Oh, don’t worry…I’ll wait for you to finish your call.
Secondly, that’s awkward for everyone involved. As a third party observer – just sitting in my stall, texting my boyfriend about the spreadsheet I’m currently filling out* – I don’t care about your conversation. I just want to do my business* and exit as if girls don’t poop (because we don’t).
Also, it can’t be comfortable for the person on the other end of the conversation. Ask yourself, “Would I talk to this person if they were standing in front of me while I was making shortcakes*?” (Most of the time, a better question to lead off with is, “Would I allow this person to be in the same building as me while I was dropping the kids off at the pool*?”) The answer is probably a resounding and finite, “NO!”
And if you are comfortable with them being on the phone with you while you drop a Biggie Smalls*, I reserve the right to listen in on your conversation, flush my toilet at an inappropriate time and laugh when you inevitably drop your phone in the toilet.
Hang up the phone. You can answer a phone call or nature’s call, but there’s no three-way calling.
*All euphemisms for pooping.
Originally published on Hahasforhoohas.
I have yet to meet a woman who didn’t know how to wrap her hair in a towel.
It’s automatic. Head down, apply towel, twist, and voila! Your hair is out of your face, and you’re free to do what you do while it dries.
There are other things, however, that don’t come naturally.
Most of them are taught in school: reading, writing, recorder performances of Hot Cross Buns – all things that were meant to better us later in life.
Well, it’s officially “later”, and cursive is deader than Latin, I haven’t don’t long division since phones came equipped with calculators, and my recorder skills haven’t exactly translated to the working world.
I feel cheated. Sure, I’m a well-rounded individual, and I’m proud of my education, but bragging to my coworkers about parachute day in gym class isn’t winning them over as much as I thought it would. There are so many things I was never taught that would have benefit me more than knowing how to calculate the velocity of a penny dropped from the Empire State Building.
So, seven years out of the public school system, I give you, 10 Things I Wish Had Been Taught In School.
(Some of you might have extensive knowledge of some or all of these, and I applaud you! These are just common sense things that sometimes leave my brain…not an excuse to be dumb, just an acknowledgement that there are things we never really “learned” that are now biting us on the butt!)
1. How to file my taxes.
Like a dog dabbling in chemistry, I have no idea what I’m doing. State taxes, federal taxes, social security, dependents…it’s all geek to me. Whenever I see people in the movies filing their taxes, they have a shoebox full of receipts and a frazzled accountant shaking their head in dismay. WHAT RECEIPTS ARE YOU SAVING?! I don’t have a box like that. The receipts I have are from the workout DVDs I bought, but have yet to open and will inevitably return. Even e-filing doesn’t feel right. If I owe money, I did something wrong, and if I’m owed money, I still probably did something wrong.
2. Basic household repairs.
There’s a good time and a bad time to discover you don’t own a plunger. The same can be said about knowing how to operate one. From plumbing to hanging pictures (and subsequently, filling holes and painting over them), there are things you don’t know how to do until you’ve done them horribly wrong. “Righty tighty, lefty loosey” can only get you so far.
3. Basic cooking techniques.
In sixth grade, we learned how to make a grilled cheese in Family and Consumer Science. That skill saved me from the Ramen-induced rage felt by many a college student. Now I consider myself a good enough cook, when I have a recipe in front of me, but there are certain things that cookbooks assume you already know how to do. Like how to hard-boil an egg. Or cook chicken so you don’t start a salmonella outbreak. God bless my mother for always answering my phone calls, and patiently talking me through mashed potatoes.
4. How to buy a car/house.
There are big purchases, like your prom dress, and then there are big purchases, like a car or a house. It’s something that you need to plan for, save for, and understand the jargon. I’m terrified to deal with a real estate agent that will use words like “escrow” and “equity”, or a car salesman who calls me “little lady”. Also, should I rent? Lease? Buy a fixer-upper? Do I need to be near good schools? I’m only 25! Why am I thinking about kids?? I’m a horrible future mother!!!
5. When it’s acceptable to start calling “grown ups” by their first name.
Granted, certain friends’ parents will always be Mr. and Mrs., but when do you start meeting people older than you, and refer to them only by their first name? When you’re 18? When you can rent a car? When you stop wearing pigtails? There has to be a line drawn, people.
6. How to apply for/pay off a loan.
Being an upper-middle class college student meant I qualified for none of the financial aid, but still had all these bills. Look in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s bank loans with incredibly high interest rates! Getting a loan was confusing, and then awesome. I suddenly had all this money, and wanted to pull a “Blank Check” and just roll around in it for a while. And then I had to pay it back. No one told me about this part. 7% over 10 years, 12% over 15…I have no idea what that means, but look at my bank account! LOOK AT IT!
7. What to do if you’re ever pulled over/have to deal with the cops.
I’m not talking about a Breaking Bad situation, but just preparing for interacting with your city’s finest. If that happens after you got caught going 12 miles over the speed limit, or the first time you call the boys in blue because your rambunctious frat-boy neighbors are keeping you up at ungodly hours (10:30 on a week night), it’s just good to know protocol. And if and when you need a lawyer, who do you call? That’s right…mom and dad.
8. Basic table manners.
Don’t worry, mom. I got this one. No elbows on the table. Check! Chew with your mouth closed. Check! Set the table…with all these forks and knives!!! Wait, what? I relate with Julia Roberts on many levels, but I never feel like Pretty Woman until I’m sitting at a fancy dinner and am given my own army of utensils. And there are rules of etiquette that I’m pretty sure were made up. Like cut off one bite at a time, and only butter your roll one bite at a time, and how to place your utensils if you’re still eating or if you’re done. I might never be in a situation where these rules are put in effect, but just like owning a pair of elbow length gloves, I’d like to be prepared.
9. How to fax.
THIS IS OLD AND OUTDATED AND I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO FAX SOMETHING!!! But, it’s still at least semi-relevant in the business world today. I’m just going to go watch, “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead” and do exactly what Christina Applegate does.
10. How to tip.
I used to work in the food industry, and we had a saying…If you can’t afford to tip your server, you can’t afford to eat out. Case closed, end of sentence. Tips are how service people make money, and the rates have changed since your parents’ day. BUT food service isn’t the only service you should be tipping. Bartenders, hair stylists, delivery people…knowing how much to tip whom is crucial. Usually, it’s a gut instinct, based on services received, but I’m still not sure how much to tip housekeepers v. masseurs.
I’ll learn most of these in time, but for now there’s Google. And mom.
Originally published on Hahasforhoohas.
To quote Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, “I’ve been on a diet every day since I was nineteen, which basically means I’ve been hungry for a decade.” Except I haven’t been on a diet since I was 19…because I like food.
My diets typically last one week at a time, and start with a celebrity endorsement and end with something involving bacon. I would love to lose weight, but I would also love to eat more. This is my problem.
There are many dieting woes out there, but here are some of mine.
- I have no idea how vegans do it. One too many salads and I find myself on WebMD looking up “lockjaw”. Salad bars aren’t bad, but I don’t know if bacon, eggs, cranberries, nuts and half a cup of dressing over a mini bed of lettuce truly constitute a “salad”.
- Did you know alcohol has calories? And here I thought I was beating the system by switching out a fatty dinner for a vodka cranberry. Wine is made from grapes…that should be a fruit. Vodka’s made from, what, potatoes? Vegetable. It shouldn’t be this difficult.
- Whenever I have a good day of eating well, I feel like I should be rewarded…with food. And not, like, a fun size Snickers. I come home from work and want a family size chicken pot pie, a fork and Jillian Michaels standing above me saying, “You’ve earned this.”
- For every low-calorie recipe on Pinterest, there are four more cream-based, bacon topped, caramel coated recipes to fill your cookbook. Pair them with all those exercise pins you haven’t gotten around to and you just might break even.
- Restaurants have started posting nutrition information on menus. This is good to deter you from super sizing, but it also eliminates the element of surprise. Take off your rose colored glasses, because you’re stuck looking at the soups and salads.
- Have you ever tried themed Oreos? Like, the ones that have orange filling in October, red in December, pastel in March…they’re amazing. They aren’t quite double stuffed, but have more filling to cookie ratio than regular. And themed Oreos are just the beginning. Chocolate filled Santas, marshmallow dreidels, AN ENTIRE DAY IN DEDICATED TO EATING…November and December hate diets.
- I hate wasting food. I love leftovers, but when there isn’t enough to rationalize dirtying Tupperware, I always find myself bent over the pot with a protective glare in my eye and a spork in my hand.
Ugh! No more excuses! The diet starts today! Or tomorrow…I just ate a cookie.
Originally published on Hahasforhoohas.
I am not a runner.
I’m not totally physically inept, but I’m not a runner. I played sports in high school, and displayed Olympic-quality potential, up until running became a deciding factor (soccer, basketball and softball, in that order). I never used “women problems” to get out of P.E., but I scheduled a counselor’s appointment in the middle of our last gym class so I didn’t have to run the two mile final. And if you found me running in public, there’s a good chance you’d find a zombie behind me, or a cupcake in front of me.
I am not a runner, so why I thought running a half marathon would be fun, is beyond me.
Up until now, my “marathon” accomplishments have involved my couch, Tyra Banks, and a group of bright-eyed hopefuls vying to be America’s Next Top Model. 13.1 miles…that’s traveling. That’s someone saying, “The closest mall is thirteen miles down the road,” and you thinking, “That’s a very long way away. I’ll just get some jeans at KMart.”
In my four short weeks of training, I’ve started and ended eight different diets, experienced enough chaffing to make Smokey the Bear nervous in a drought-ridden Colorado, and discovered that Fatboy Slim’s “The Rockafeller Skank” is cute in “She’s All That”, but not when you’re about to collapse in a pool of your own sweat. On top of all that, I’m a ginger, and running any distance makes my face an adorable mix between “blushing” and “third degree sunburn”.
Through all of this, I have developed a repertoire of reasons not to run. I’m not going to call them “excuses”, because I have this fear that Jillian Michaels surfs the internet, looking for chubsters in chat rooms whining about their work out, so she can intimidate into shape. (Maybe that’s what I need…meh, whatevs.) Instead, I shall call these “Cupcake Recipes”.
Cupcake Recipe #1: I can’t run today…I have to run tomorrow.
One of the hells and joys of being on a running schedule is that you have running days (hell) and rest days (joy). So on the days where someone else goes to the gym, acting all superior, I take satisfaction in telling them that I am required to rest…for tomorrow, I dine in hell.
Cupcake Recipe #2: I already showered.
The logic behind this one is faulty, so be sure to do your hair and put on make-up and real people clothes. This is especially helpful if you aren’t a very hygienic person, because then you can’t be argued with…you bathed. What more do they want from you?
Cupcake Recipe #3: I need new shoes.
This is a solid excuse, up until the point where you inevitably get new shoes. Then you have fancy feet, and should be showing them off.
Cupcake Recipe #4: It’s raining/too hot/too cold/etc.
The weather can be an inhibiting factor. You wouldn’t want to catch a cold/heat stroke from pursuing your lifelong current dream of half-marathon success, would you? If the news tells you to stay inside, you stay inside! You do not want to be a statistic.
Cupcake Recipe #5: I don’t want to.
WARNING! This one will be followed up by a guilt trip, both external and internal. People will tell you that you’ll feel better when you’re done, and you’ll appreciate it in the long run. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS! They want your spot on the couch…you’ve made a nice butt indent, and those fade. Also, your brain will try to tell you that you’re lazy for not going. AGAIN, DO NOT FALL FOR THIS! Your brain’s just revolting against the episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” you accidentally watched…turn on the Discovery Channel for a bit. You’ll bounce right back!
Cupcake Recipe #6: My iPod isn’t charged.
To follow through with this, hide the charger and/or the iPod. You’ll know where it is, but that’s not the point. Out of sight, out of mind.
Even with all of these brilliant Cupcake Recipes, I usually still end up running. It hurts, but I read on Pinterest once that sweat was pain leaving the body, or something. Whatever, I’m just in it for the endorphins!
(The St. Louis Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon is set to go down on October 21, 2012, and I will be at the starting line, searching for someone to give me a piggy back ride around mile 7. Do you have plans to run a race any time soon? Let’s hear your best Cupcake Recipe!)
Originally published on Hahasforhoohas.
UPDATE: I ran the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon on October 21st…Overall time = 2:11:15. Finished 3772 out of 9362 overall. 211 out of 541 in my age division, 1803 out of 6043 in my gender. One of the best things I’ve done!
In 1991, I was pumped and prepared to be a big sister. At the tender age of 3, this consisted of proudly sporting my “Big Sister” shirt and watching “The Wizard of Oz” on repeat, due to my extremely pregnant mother’s general exhaustion. One of my other responsibilities was being asked what we should name the newest Ponath girl.
This is a risky maneuver at any age, especially since my influences at the time were ruby slippers, M&Ms and the samba button on my Muppet Babies keyboard. However, the name I suggested was an actual, human name: Emily*. While that name should have been immediately crocheted on everything from pillows to knapsacks, “Emily” could not be.
You see, our neighbor just had a little girl…and guess what her name was? That’s right: Emily. And even though we weren’t close with those neighbors, and they didn’t even make it past the next block party, “Emily” was off limits.
Never fear. The littlest Ponath got her name (Julia Margaret), and all was right with the world.
Except, no. It wasn’t.
She should have been an Emily, and it was the politics of baby names that kept it from being so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even kind of close to naming a child, or even a fish for that matter, but even the hypothetical naming process has become the Hunger Games.
Remember that episode of Sex and the City, where Charlotte lost her shit over her friend stealing the name “Shalya” for her baby girl? That is the world we live in: everything’s fair game until it’s on the birth certificate.
My friends and I aren’t quite at that level yet, restricting our name conversations to the newest celebrity children and those acquaintances from high school who have made it easy for their offspring to transition into the world of adult entertainment. However, we have entered into the next phase of adulthood: pet ownership.
While I don’t subscribe to the Sarah Mclachlan way of life, a lot of my friends have found four-legged companions who need names. The resulting names are off limits in a whole new way, because while it’s taboo to steal a name already assigned to a human, there’s no way you can steal an animal’s name. I can hear the conversation now:
“She’s so cute! What’s her name?
* silence *
I know…Lassie isn’t really a common name among human children, but you get my drift. From then on, those names are immediately associated with animals, and it’s just cruel to think otherwise. (Which also eliminates Underdog, Sea Biscuit and Simba from my potential future baby names…I don’t appreciate the world we live in.)
So, to review: duplicate baby names = no go. Animal names = definitely out of the question. What about names of people you know? That depends.
I grew up with a girl named Paula. She was kind of a bitch. She had bad hair, and got hurt when we were playing hockey on our carpeted gym floor in first grade, so the school banned us from ever playing it again. She moved away soon after (for a completely unrelated reason), but from then on I got all snarly when someone mentioned a “Paula”. (Except for my new Paula, whom I had the privilege to work with at summer camp. Love ya, girl, don’t ever change.) My point being, I will never name my child Paula, because it brings up bad blood.
(Sidenote: When asking my parents about my potential name, pre-Laura, I found out that my father had put “Wendy” on the table. “Wendy” was my dad’s ex-girlfriend. “Wendy” got taken off the table.)
TV and movies are regularly ruining legit names. (Don’t even get me started on the Twilight franchise.) But they’re also introducing original names that people are adopting as their own. In about 18 years, there will be graduation classes full of Hermiones, Peetas and (fingers crossed) a Voldemort, or two.
As my friends and I start marrying off, I have a feeling our conversations about potential baby names will become much more guarded. I plan on coming up with a decoy list of names, and hiding them in plain sight, just to throw them off the trail. Who knows…maybe I can convince one of them to take the Golden Girls route. I would love to meet Dorothy Rose Blanche Sophia. That girl will go places.
*The name was later revealed to not even be “Emily”, but instead Ann Marie, as featured in “All Dogs Go To Heaven”…a name that I still like and am henceforth calling future dibs on.
Originally published on HahasforHoohas.