I’d been in banking for over 10 years when I was laid off. I thought it was time to try something new. With a full year’s severance I had the luxury of time, and I was certain something great lay in store for me.
Know What You’re Looking For
I put my resume together, built a great cover letter, and started targeting my ideal job. Weeks went by, then months. I had interviews but they paid less than I wanted or I was overqualified. With funds running out, I lowered my expectations. That’s when the house of cards started to fall.
With my new expectations came more interviews. While the specific duties weren’t something I wanted to spend my time doing, the money was good, and these people seemed to like my skill set. Then Merrill Lynch called. I’d just been laid off from my temp job, so I jumped at the opportunity. The phone interview went well and the face-to-face was scheduled.
Do Your Research
I did not research the company or the position. It was Merrill Lynch after all. I walked into the interview ready to answer the questions just to get a paycheck. Problem was, the job being offered wasn’t what I wanted.
The interview went well, but as they talked, I got a sinking feeling. They were selling me something I didn’t want. But being in interview mode I be positive, “Yes, I can do that! No, I don’t mind doing that.” I listened and nodded and was slowly filled with dread. Within a half hour the interviewer informed me that I had the job! Or I would have, after I completed a simple test. Again, not wanting to appear rude, I went along. Hey! It was a job, and I needed one. If I qualified, why not make the very large salary they were offering for a two year training program and then a life as a sales person?
Speak Up, Know What You Want
I ran through the first page of questions in a flash. Answers were simple, but questions seemed endless. Equations, tax charts, graphs, things I didn’t enjoy at all, but was actually good at. When I got to the 3rd page my stomach sank. Is this what the job would be? Spending days on end, sitting in an office, doing “math”? That’s quite frankly my idea of hell. I couldn’t continue. I picked up my test and walked out of room, stopping at the receptionist’s desk.
“That was quick,” she commented.
“No.” I told her. “I’m not finished, I just don’t want the job.”
I may have wasted their time, but made a very good decision; to be true to myself.
If there is one thing I hope you learn from this story, it would be – don’t grab the first job that comes along. Be honest about your skills and what you want in a career. It’s your life, don’t give up on it.
HelpGuide.org – Choosing or Changing Career Paths