Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Can You Sell Yourself Without Selling Out?
It had been a long damn time since I last tried to sell myself; to push all my awesomeness to the forefront just hoping that I don't look desperate. I mean, I don't spend much/any time on the singles scene and I already have a great group of friends to whom I never need to "prove" myself. I just am me. Unfortunately, this sliding, gliding be who I am and don't give a crap what anybody thinks about it attitude has had to be wiped off my snug little face for the ultimate selling of oneself - the job interview.
Oh yes, when interviewing for a job my pomp-a-hawk becomes more of a mom-do, and my nose ring gets slipped into my front breast pocket. My Chucks are replaced with sensible slip-ons and my ego gets kicked right out the door.
Some people appear better on paper than they do in an interview, and others have the opposite problem. I don’t really know where I fit into the spectrum. I know that I have a lot to offer an employer, but my resume doesn’t really speak to all of my unique abilities. Conversely, the resume communicates a lot of experience in a field that I never really meant to get into. So in that one particular field, I’m doing ok – It just may not be the field I dreamed of. Isn’t that true of most jobs?
Is it selling out to "put on your best behavior" for an interview? To try to appear non-controversial? To quiet down your politics? I sometimes worry that I am doing a disservice to myself by calmly and coolly describing each detail of my past employment without revealing my real interests, causes about which I am passionate, and the blue-donkey blood that runs deep under my skin.
There is a common retort to this sort of argument: “If they don’t like me for who I am than I don’t want to work there.”
Sure, this is true in the big picture. I don’t want to work at a place where no one is concerned about equality, the environment or human rights. I don’t want to work at a place where I feel uncomfortable or unaccepted for my style (or my lifestyle), but this big picture becomes a little blurrier each day.
It becomes blurry because unemployment is not a good look on anyone. Because working, even if it is with an organization that doesn’t match my needs or my personality, is still working. I think as each day goes by I’m more willing to compromise. Does that make me a sell out, or just a realistic adult?