The Job Interview
or something like that
This is my entry into The Soaring Twenties Social Club Symposium series for October. The theme for the month is “Work”.
As I walk into the conference room, I remind myself that the interviewer wants this to work out just as much as I do.
I’ve been in their shoes before. I’ve been the one who desperately needed more butts in seats to take care of the seemingly neverending pile of work. I’ve been the one that hoped the next person to walk through the door was “the one” so I could get back to my own seemingly neverending pile of work. All I’ve got to do is convince this person that I’m “the one”.
Welcome! Please, sit down. Can I get you some water or anything?
No, I’m okay. Thank you.
Great! So, I know a bit from your resume, but why don’t you start by telling me a bit about yourself?
Sure. Well, I’ve had a bit of an eclectic career so far. My first real career-type job was as the bass player in a major-label band. It was definitely a different way to make a living.
Wait, hold on, really? I don’t hear that kind of response every day. Tell me more.
Haha, yeah, I suppose it is quite unique. The band was called Pressure 4-5. We signed with DreamWorks Records on, I’ll never forget the date, November 22nd, 2000, so it was one-one-two-two-zero-zero. We did the whole big-budget recording studio thing, the video shoot at Universal Studios, and all that, which was an amazing experience. But then our single hit radio and the video hit MTV2 a couple of days before 9/11.
Oh man, that’s rough.
Yeeaaaah, not ideal timing, to say the least. Nobody really cared about an upstart rock band then. Sorry, nu metal band. That was the genre we got lumped into, even though we kind of hated that genre name.
Anyway, we toured for the better part of the next year-plus. But then after it was clear that the label wasn’t going to fork over an advance for the next album anytime soon, I left to join my brother’s band.
It was a tough time in the music industry for heavier bands. I actually have this theory, if you’re curious.
Yeah, for sure. Hit me!
Okay, so my theory is that there hasn’t been a really big heavier rock band since 9/11—like platinum album status big—because the mood of the world changed drastically that day and aggressive music became way less popular as a result. I mean, before 9/11, Slipknot sold over 1M records and they’re super heavy and wear creepy masks, you know?
Hmm, yeah, that’s an interesting theory. I can’t really think of a band off-hand. Hmm, yeah. I’d have to think more about it. I keep thinking of bands that actually came out before then.
Alright, so let’s totally switch gears here. I’m sure we could talk about music for hours. Haha. Why don’t you tell me why you’re interested in working here?
It’s pretty simple, really. I’m interested in the intersection between buying food and providing shelter for my family…
Haha, that’s actually pretty funny.
Thanks. I tweeted that once.
Anyway, I’m interested in the job because I really need to make some money right now and I’d at least like to do something that’s somewhat intellectually stimulating while I make said money. Plus, I’m good at cranking out work quickly and working in a small, scrappy early-stage team. I mean, I’ve really only had one big corporate job and I actually liked it but I think it was mostly because my boss recognized that I was really good at the work and he pretty much left me alone.
I wouldn’t say I’m unmanageable or uncoachable or whatever, but I do like some amount of autonomy. Yet, I also like collaborating with others and brainstorming ideas. If I could get paid to just brainstorm stuff, that would be a super ideal position for me.
That’s the one thing that’s tough about smaller teams. There’s so much to do and so few resources to do it. But if you’re someone who likes to riff with others and you actually enjoy meetings sometimes, it can be challenging.
Oh man, that reminds me of the time when I was on a committee at that corporate job and we had a meeting that was explicitly for scheduling other meetings. I was sitting there in disbelief but also savoring every moment of the ridiculousness of it all.
Okayyyy, that’s, umm, interesting. Maybe we can move on to—
Wait, hold up, there’s another funny story from that job.
This time, I was on a different committee. I know, I know, there were lots of committees at that company. Did I mention it was a giant corporation? Anyway, it was a statewide committee for California and I’m not even sure what it was for anymore. We would do these weekly or bi-weekly calls with something like 60 people on the line. Most of us listened as a few people ran through the agenda. This one day they’re talking away about something or other and suddenly a toilet flushed. I nearly did a spit take at my desk. And, of course, since remember this was a huge corporation, we all got sent a memo about how we needed to remain on mute if we weren’t talking.
Wow, I’m not sure how to even, umm—
Anyway, I think your startup is doing some cool stuff and you’re disrupting things or whatever, but you’ll probably fail and become this thing on my resume that I have to awkwardly explain when the next person who interviews me says, “So tell me about your work at [glances at my resume and attempts to figure out how to pronounce the company name they’ve never heard of before], uhhh, your last company.”
While I’m thinking about resumes, can we just agree that they’re kind of a waste of everyone’s time? I mean, I get why they exist. But there comes a certain point in a person’s career, at least in my experience, where it’s more about your reputation and your network and getting a solid intro rather than some bullet points on a piece of cardstock.
I’ve gotten at least two jobs because I’m good at putting words on the page and expressing my point of view, which apparently makes me seem smart enough to deserve a chance to receive a paycheck every other week.
This isn’t really an actual job interview, is it? I’m just a literary device so you can write about whatever random thing comes to mind, isn’t it?
Yeah, pretty much.
Cool, that works. What should we get into next?
I don’t know, you’re my prompt.
Should we ask the AI tool, Lex?
Good idea! I’m game.
So, what did you like most about your previous job?
Hmmm, that’s a tough question. I think it would have to be the people I worked with. I was really lucky to work with a bunch of really smart, driven people.
Huh, that wasn’t half bad for an AI. Let’s not do any more AI now, though.
Now that I think about it, it’s the people that I probably liked most about every job I’ve stayed at for an extended amount of time. The work itself almost didn’t matter. I mean, it mattered to a certain extent. But I’ve also had those jobs where I really didn’t like a coworker or boss and I’d basically phone it in until I could find something else.
That reminds me of the one time I got fired.
I liked the CEO a lot, but one of the other founders constantly rubbed me the wrong way. And because of that, I had been looking around for a new gig.
I remember it was a Friday and I had a meeting scheduled with the CEO at noon. Then I had a follow-up with a company I was hoping to work for at 3 pm.
I thought the noon meeting was about some Facebook ads I was about to launch, so I started off by talking about the ad copy I had written or something like that. He cut me off and got right to the bad news, which I appreciated. It was my last day. I wasn’t exactly surprised, but I was still upset about it. But then, three hours later, I got a job offer from the CEO of the other company. That was definitely one of the strangest days of my career, for sure.
I bet it was. Are there any other things you’d like to share before we wrap up?
Yeah, one more thing.
I recently listened to a podcast my wife had suggested. It was about happiness. The guest was a professor at some fancy university and he does research that’s somehow related to happiness. I forget the details. Anyway, he mentioned how when he talks to grad students they often tell him how afraid they are to fail when they go out into the world to start their professional lives.
It made me think of all the various career iterations I’ve had or the startup ideas that never quite worked out, and it made me think of where I’m at now after all those failures. I know that some could be viewed more positively and I’m probably being too hard on myself by calling them failures. But that’s not the point.
The point is that I’m not afraid to fail. I’ve proven to myself over and over again that I’m more than willing to at least give something a shot. Because I’d regret not trying.
So, I’m not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to put myself out there and give it a go.
Instead, I’m tired of failing.
I’m really enjoying my work these days, even though it can be all-consuming at times. I don’t want it to go away. I want to keep helping people understand the crazy world of crypto and why I think it will have a massive impact on our digital lives. I love being at the forefront of it all and I want to stick around for the long haul.
But I know I can’t guarantee the future. I can only keep showing up and doing my best and I can only control what I can control. The rest is out of my hands.
Well said. And with that, I’d like to offer you the job!
Wait, but I just said I really like what I’m doing now. Why would I want your job too? And also, don’t you remember you’re just a literary device?
Ohhhh, yeah. Forgot about that. Should we call it a night and watch a show or something?
Yeah, let’s do it.
I hope you enjoyed this one. If you did, could you please let me know by giving the heart button below a tap?
Wonderful! You handled that expertly. It was one of those approaches that if handled poorly could have gone hokey and jokey but you had me laughing - so great!
This was terrific, Lyle! Loved it!