I got a job interview. One I’ve been hoping for. One that I’ve been working towards for months now. One that could result in a great job opportunity. As you can imagine, I’m very excited about it.
Almost as soon as I got the phone call, however, the panic set in. This particular interview will be done by a committee of four or five people. Most of those on the committee already know about my background. But at least one does not. Immediately, I began to fret about how I would handle the “background” question should it come up during the interview. What would I say? How will I phrase it? How do I be honest without making them think I’m a monster, or that I’m minimizing, not taking responsibility?
And it’s one thing to tell people face-to-face, one at a time. I’ve had to do that many times. And most of the time, it worked out well. People who know you can be quite forgiving and even understanding. But to have to talk about this shameful part of my past to a group of people, one whose job it is to judge me as a candidate for a job, well I’m honestly not sure how to handle it.
My “fight or flight” instinct kicked in unexpectedly, and I found myself wanting to turn down the
interview, to tell them “thanks, but no thanks,” to run and hide in the comfort of the world I’ve built around me, safe from scrutiny. I won’t run away, but oh, how I wanted to.
Like the solider off to war, steeling himself for whatever lies over the next hill, I will march myself into the interview, answer their questions as honestly and sincerely as I possibly can, and deal with the issue of my background IF it is even brought up. The end result may be that I don’t get the job because of my past. It may be that I am embarrassed, humiliated, and scorned because I told the truth. Unlike the bloody battles of war, I suspect I will not die from humiliation, though I may momentarily wish I had.
And it may also well end up that I DO get the job, either because my past is not brought up or because there ARE people who are willing to look beyond what I’ve done to see what I am doing today. People can and do change, and sometimes, I find the right combination of others who will recognize that in me and give me a chance. This might be one of those times.
I won’t know how it will turn out if I don’t try.
Don’t get me wrong. I fully anticipate being nervous, having the occasional panic attack, and fretting obsessively over what I will say and how I will respond during the interview. When it’s all over, I’ll either have a new job, or else I’ll return to the jobs I have now. I will live either way to figure out what’s next for me, and ponder what the future may bring.
It’s not easy, but I know I am not alone. I have family and friends who support me. And I draw some comfort in the knowledge that I am not alone in this.