Designless in Seattle continues...
by Melissa Mason
Mr. Barista sat me down and immediately engaged the script of questions.
Then it got to one of those uncomfortable silences. You know, where you wish you had a ready-made joke in your pocket. I like to laugh randomly, to break the ice, and with a head nod slip out the word, "Excellent!" I feel that word gives off a tone of success and confidence. It is like affirming a great idea without knowing what that is.
One issue was that he was very young. Not to be mean here, but he was no older than the salad I had this morning. And two, communicating with a young designer was like trying to entertain a kid who just received a Playstation 2 for Christmas. I find flashing bright colors, and talking with my hands (thanks to the month in Italy) kept his focus together. However, he continued to fade, I began to talk to myself, watching tumbleweed blow across the table.
Another flashback occurred about a two hour meeting with a warranty company.
The salesman asked, "On a scale from one to ten, ten being you wished you had stayed home, and one being you really want this job, what would you say you were at?"
I pondered deeply on this question. I mean it was truly thought provoking. I paused for a brief moment, and then responded, "Yes I am highly experienced with QuickBooks if that's what you mean."
I humor from these kinds of ridiculous tests.
I once had a firm give me a typing test. I opted out and told them I was not applying for a secretary design job. I know what coffee looks and tastes like; I don't make it for others.
There was even one crazy employer, also close to my age, that tested me on my brand knowledge. The position was for an edgy product development company. And the one question was, "What was the weirdest musician band name you have ever heard?" If irrelevance wasn't the theme, ironically they held their interviews in a mall Starbucks.
I was not looking forward to a business discussion that veered too loose from relevancy. Time is money. Don't waste my time, just give me the money.
Mr. Barista kept emphasizing in subtle ways to me of how fortunate I was to have this opportunity, "I went through 200 resumes, and picked ten individuals, of those ten consisted people with little to no design experience to those with years of agency work."
And where was I? The question was more for myself. What am I doing here? I felt that I was being pressured to continue to power sale my design. There was an instance months ago where I was in the same predicament. The client commented, "Your work is pretty and all but our industry may be too boring for it." Well I CAN do boring!
When the interview gets to the point where you are trying to justify your work to a yawning designer, you start to turn back on the decisions you made earlier, having to get up so early, drive all the way to silicon suburbia, wear heels, etc. His yawns to me were a sign to wrap up the meeting. I see dead people, I see a dead opportunity, and now I am ready to leave.
Sometimes an interview is just a way for you to know whom you should not be working for. Just imagine what their strategy sessions would be like: "Everyone happy hour: Starbucks!"
Bravo! Heads up to Melissa for this fun look at a really not-fun experience. We know she'll do well -- and that who ever eventually hires her will do very well indeed. If you would like to learn more about her design or to GIVE her work, you may visit http://www.semiartist.com or contact her via email through our contact form.