Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics, 17.8% of Registered
Nurses, or 431,691 R.N.s, changed jobs in 2004. Nearly half a million of us took
the plunge and changed jobs.|
Hundreds of thousands of us struggled with
updating a resume trying to put our skills and accomplishments in the best light
without embellishing, "Adept at hazardous waste remediation: expert in formed,
semi-formed, soft, loose, and liquid waste."
Once the resume is complete
and the perfect outfit assembled, there comes the interview. The interview process
may be broken down into several component stages. There is the initial euphoria;
"Queen of the Known Universe? That is the perfect job for me!"
interview date approaches, so do the jitters. One minute you are just fine and
the next minute all the extra blood in your body rushes to your stomach, your
hands develop a tremor, your eyes start to water, your mouth dries up and you
find yourself shouting at your family, "What do you mean what time is supper?
I am practicing shaking hands right now! Clasp, pump, pump, release."
And then comes the day of the interview. You may have noticed, as I sometimes
have, that God in His heaven has a kind of funny sense of humor. Not always funny
"ha-ha." You may rest assured that the day of the interview will be the day that
your watch stops, the toilet clogs and overflows, the cat develops grand mal seizures,
your carburetor goes out and you find that the three pairs of brand new pantyhose
you knew you owned have been made into the World’s Most Powerful Slingshot by
your precious little feller. This will throw your whole schedule into disarray.
Please note that it is nearly impossible to put pantyhose on in a car.
are not a child. As a friend of mine once said, "You have been to two cow ropings
and a county fair." You have made allowances for the quirks of the Universe in
your schedule. You arrive for your interview. You are not late. In fact, you are
early. Forty-five minutes early. No, thanks, you don’t need a magazine. You will
just sit quietly and compose yourself. For forty-five minutes. While at home the
toilet you thought you did not have time to deal with continues to cheerily gurgle
on and on and on.
You have been sucking on your
tongue for forty-five minutes with your hands splayed out on your thighs in the
hope that they will be neither sweaty nor cold. This was wasted effort. As you
stand to meet your prospective employer perspiration gushes from every pore in
your body. You reach out to shake hands thinking, ‘Clasp, pump, pump, release.
Wait! MAN! Did I just say pump, pump out loud?’ You gasp in dismay. And aspirate
your chewing gum. That is okay, because you are not supposed to be chewing gum
anyway, and while you meant to swallow it when your name was called, at least
it is gone. But now you can’t get a breath and your vision is dimming.
As soon as the helpful receptionist has Heimliched you and given you a glass of
water you are ready for your interview to continue and you can feel assured that
you will be remembered.
Your interviewer knows that you are nervous and
wants to make you feel at ease. She may give you a brief overview of the organization
and the job to give you time to settle yourself. She may ask you how this sounds
to you. Save your so-called humor for some other time. Do not mention anything
about work release programs. Remember, she does not know you and may not know
when you are kidding.
As the interview progresses you may find yourself
experiencing a moment of calm. You know who you are, what your abilities are.
This sense of calm is a great relief for a moment or two. You may feel that you
and the interviewer are on common ground and that you are responding in an intelligent
and professional way. But there is an aftermath to the huge tsunami of adrenaline
you have been surfing since you woke up this morning. And that aftermath is the
dreaded yawn. Pinch yourself, imagine disaster, pretend there is a spider in your
shoe. Do whatever you must do, but do not yawn. Don’t. Do. Yaaaa-haaa-haaaa. It.
Also, do not mention clogging. I mean, if you clog dance and you love it, you
may mention it. But suppose you are nervous and when she asks you to tell her
a little about yourself your mind suddenly becomes a big Mojave Desert of anything
interesting. Try not to grasp desperately at the first irrational straw that comes
to you. Especially if it is clog dancing. And isn’t it interesting, from a psychological
standpoint, that the first thing that pops into your mind is clogging? Something
you know absolutely nothing about. Interesting in a horrible, horrible way. Interesting
in a way that you are bound to spend many, many sleepless nights considering.