I’ve just come out of the first face-to-face interview I’ve had since 2015.

The pandemic has a lot to do with that, sure, and for my last job I interviewed remotely due to distance… during the pandemic.

I’ve written so, so many cover letters. I’ve found at least 20 ways to describe myself as a good fit for well over 50 applications. I’ve memorized my business profile and and gone to sleep thinking of ways to describe my hard skills like I describe my soft skills.

This interview was for a part-time, “loosey-goosey” front desk position at an organization I’d love to work for long term. A way to get my foot in the door, if you will. I knew I had the job before the interview through emails with the hiring associate.

We started late. I was overdressed. He told me more about the position and expectations for scheduling. Then he said, “Tell me about Alana.”

I blanked.

Maybe because we were having a casual conversation about the position. Maybe because I haven’t practiced my “elevator speech”. Maybe because the position was part-time and not what I wanted to do long term.

I know it was all of that and the fact that I have only had a few in person conversations since the new year. I can still do casual conversation, but I am unable to talk about myself in any way except this:

Hi, I’m Alana. My life is an absolute wreck.

What else could I talk about for the last three years? I could have described it as the perfect storm of calamities. The coalescence of natural disasters. Because life happens.

The shame and embarrassment slithered into my mind and coiled around it. I had greatly over shared. I shouldn’t have said that, or that, or that. Or that.

I still got the job, and a possibility of a full time position, too.

As I left the building the mental punches to my esteem started. It was like I had curled up into the shape of my own brain and I was still able to kick and stomp myself. In my car I held back tears. Who am I anymore? Who have I become?

Somehow I redirected my thoughts and reminded gently that the past few years have been incredibly difficult and it’s normal to feel like your life has been taken over by one aspect. Do better next time.

Obviously I need to practice interviewing skills. I need to keep going to my therapist and practice redirecting. I was lucky this time that the position was low-risk, low reward. I’ll do better next time.

What do you do when you feel like you bombed an interview? Which interviewing skill have you had to diligently practice?

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