Staying unattached.

25 08 2009

When I was interviewing for internships in college, I had my heart set on working for Gap Corporate.  Fun, functional, and stylish clothing was one of my favorite things and I wanted to be a part of it!

Image from Gap, Inc. 8/25/09

Image from Gap, Inc. 8/25/09

I had a really fantastic phone interview with the team manager and then I came on site for a second interview.  It was not as good… but I thought, hey, maybe I’m wrong on this one.  I wasn’t.  It didn’t work out.  I was crushed.  When the recruiter called me to break the news, I almost immediately hung up on him, knowing that it was too painful to hear!   I finally had my chance and I was REJECTED.  Now what?

For the next few weeks, I couldn’t walk past a Gap store without feeling a stab of inadequacy.  I abandoned the brand entirely and refused to use their services.  I was truly butt hurt over the situation after pining over it.

Looking back, I wish I hadn’t.  It all comes back to the round hole square peg scenario.  I didn’t realize that the company was not a good fit or me.  I was enamored by what I didn’t understand.  Please raise your hand if you’ve ever had a crush on someone in your class that you didn’t know well, but you liked them anyway.  It’s kind of like that.  I fell in love with a company’s brand before I learned anything about the company culture.  It’s the one thing that people outside the company can never fully grasp and not understanding it allows for misconception about what the company is like.  Cool brand = Cool place to work, right?  Nah, not all the time.

Finding the right role for you is like finding the love of your life.  You might try a few different careers along the way… you might even have a few that you love… but you will probably find one profession that just speaks your language and a company that makes you feel like you’re complete, challenged, but satisfied.  You fit together like warm brownie a la mode.

Line up your options and start interviewing them to see if they are the right fit for you.  Do your research on employee conduct, values, mission statement, and driving philosophies.  Do they resonate with your habits, passions and aspirations for yourself?

Highlight these values and goals on your resume, in your cover letter, and during your interview.  It’s a strong message that might separate you from the next person who might be talented, but has no idea what he stands for and what he wants.

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