Monday, June 20, 2005

What fascinates me about this group interview I've got Thursday is the responses I get from people when I tell them about it. Some folks echo my sentiments, but what amazes me are the friends at the opposite end of the spectrum, who are enthusiastic about this group interview idea like I just won the chance to make a million dollar half-court shot at Madison Square Garden. And there's the whole range in between, but I think I can make a pretty clear divide here: there's the people who, out of consideration, remind me to be optimistic and there's the people who, out of consideration, don't. Right now, I need to express my heartfelt appreciation for the latter.

Normally, this is the point where I call someone obtuse and berate them for a paragraph, but I won't do that now because I know that everybody who's cheerleading for me with the "be optimistic" and "be confident" inspirational poster platitudes does so out of love. But at the same it is extraordinarily frustrating to hear my friends tell me to do things that are completely outside of my constitution, and say it like they're telling me to blink my eyes or take a breath. People: if I could, I would! Jesus frickin' Christ!

What the fuck ever happened to "be yourself"? Isn't that on a goddamn inspirational poster somewhere too, maybe with a picture of a sunset and a bald eagle and a fat, lazy, pimply slob covered in that orange Cheetos residue and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns. Not like you didn't say to be yourself.

But really people. "Be confident!"


Blink. He shifts his eyes around; maybe there's a bureaucrat in the room. Okay, I will be confident:

What the fuck? Do you really think it's that goddamn easy, that there's this well of confidence I have in reserve, just waiting for a chance to shine? Is there a switch I can flip somewhere to turn the confidence on? Or could you perhaps get it through your thick, self-centered head that not everybody is exactly like you, that maybe some of us have a set of life experiences we draw on that make us anticipate how this or that might not go so hot.... What? Too much confidence?

Catharsis. I'm so brave sitting behind my computer keyboard.
But like I said, I won't do that, because I wasn't being sarcastic when I said that my more ebullient friends were making their sadly moot suggestions out of love. I try to push them, also out of love: "How exactly can I be more confident?" hoping they won't suggest I imagine my job competitors in their underwear. (Unless, of course, one of them is an attractive woman — in which case I will be much less confident, but imagining her in her underwear nevertheless.) Is there like a pill I can take.... yes, yes there is a pill I can take. One of my friends suggested that maybe I head to a bar right before the interview — just a glass of wine, she said. I should talk, Ken said, but not too much.... and I figure I should try to keep behind my tongue anything asinine I might want to say. And I'm totally willing to accept the possibility that I hit it off with the group, or the interviewer, or some subset of the group, and I'm totally willing to accept the possibility that might give me some confidence. I'm just not betting on it.