If I Could Be Honest in Interviews

Girl-Computer-Uterus-Serious-Typing-Laptop Photo : Rachel Mandel

I spent 3 months looking for a job when I first moved to New York. It was awful. There are dresses I refuse to wear again because I feel like I’ll never get rid of the stink of shame within the pit stains. I can’t dissociate these these outfits from the most stressful and invalidating few weeks of my adult life, so they currently live in a box under my bed.

Interviews are emotionally taxing because while you want to remain as true to yourself as possible, you also live within a capitalistic hell that requires you to work and sometimes debase yourself to survive. There were many times where I had to resist the urge to throw myself at employers’ feet and scream, “I’m a self-starter and a go getter! Please!”

Answering the same damn questions over and over again got old.Even when I felt the interview was tanking, I responded to every uninspired question with my best and most rehearsed answers.  But there were times where I wish I just left my fucks at the door and gave answered honestly, which would have went something like this:

Tell us about yourself.

I is smart. I is kind. I is in need of money and healthcare.

I’m punctual. I’m neat and generally agreeable. I’ve been told I’m good at what I do, but I’m also a part of the “everyone gets a trophy” generation, so I don’t know for sure.

I have experience in this field and I think I like this work enough to get out of bed most mornings.

My hobbies include buying books and never reading them, people watching at cafes, going to Target to unwind, and being a feminist writer. I hope you didn’t  Google me.

Why Women’s Studies? What do you plan to do with that?

Um. I plan to do this particular job, which is why I applied.

Also, I didn’t spend six years perfecting my bra burning technique. Women and Gender Studies is the social science that brings women, people of color, LGBTQ, and others from vulnerable populations at the forefront of scholarship and research. I have a deep understanding of gender and its relation to other constructed institutions of power, such as race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. Having both a B.A. and an M.A. in Gender Studies has intensified my desire to uplift all people, because none of us are free until we’re all free.

But I will say, sometimes I do lean into the stereotype. SCUM Manifesto changed my life, and I can only hope to write something half as tantalizing in my lifetime.

Why do you want this job?

Because y’all are hiring. Next question.

How would your past coworkers describe you?

My past coworkers would describe me as a pleasant person willing to put up with insurmountable piles of bullshit. Cover your shift? Sure. Come in early? Ok! Stay late? Well, I live to serve!

I’m also a great leader and work well with others. (That’s just a positive spin on my controlling tendencies—in groups I prefer to do most, if not all of the work. It’s better that way.)

What qualities do you look for in a boss?


Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I hope to start my own organization that rivals the ones I’m currently applying to. I also hope to be married. Unfortunately for me, a woman saying the words “family” or “marriage” greatly decreases her chance of being hired, so I’ll give you a vague answer about working my way up, taking on more responsibilities, and being a leader. I doubt you offer family leave anyway.

Also, is it conceited to say that I think I’ll be a hot 30 year old? I’m envisioning myself as a super hot, take-no-shit Boss Bitch — think Sandra Bullock in The Proposal. Or Kerry Washington in Scandal, but without the quivering pout.

Why should we hire you?

Because I have the experience and education requirements you asked for. Because I’m young and broke and willing to fetch coffee or “network” or do whatever bullshit you need done so that I can pay rent.

Because I am a hard worker, and I’m dedicated to helping others.

Because I’m a Black woman, and you probablyyyyy need more diversity here. And you definitely need someone with an understanding of political correctness and enough patience to call in that problematic employee that’s making everyone uncomfortable with their “off-color” jokes. Just a little trick I picked up while getting my Gender Studies degree.

Do you have any questions for us?

When do I start?

Feminist, activist, writer, and horror movie aficionada. She’s currently trying to lose her Virginia drawl in NYC. Tweets nice things @JenikaMc