(This is the “After” photo. The “Before” photo probably would have looked shaky. I was really nervous.)
For the last two years, I’ve been looking for jobs. I’ve applied to be a swim coach, teacher, professor, tutor, admissions guy and now a financial aid worker. I’ve had plenty of interviews: most over the phone. I’ve talked to folks from Germany to Japan to Nebraska to Colorado to Montana and some more.
While residing with a friend in Bozeman, Montana, I applied to a ton of jobs at Montana State University. Eventually, MSU’s admissions department interviewed me. While they were incredibly kind, I didn’t end up with the gig.
My Aunt Nancy in Washington had a stroke earlier this summer. She offered a place to stay in Seattle. I would need to take care of her, so I decided to get moving.
It was Friday. I bought a ticket for Saturday. A little bit afterward, I received a phone call from one of the folks at the financial aid department. This MSU Financial Aid big boss lady wanted to know if I could come into the office on Tuesday for an interview. I asked if I could do it over the phone. She declined.
Honestly, by then my faith in myself had sunk to a new low. I needed a change of scenery after consistently striking out. By now, my friend moved and I was staying in a hostel. I needed to get out of the place.
Waiting around for another three days, and then waiting a few more to find out if I’d get the gig or not hampered me. I’d already been turned down once by MSU, so I wasn’t keen on waiting to hear again.
I took an 18-hour bus ride from Bozeman to Seattle. The trip wasn’t too bad, except I listened to some guy chatting on his cell phone for a few hours. When I asked him to please wrap it up, he kindly finished. Then yelled at me because, “Hey! I’m started to get hard of hearing!” I told him that’s too bad, but I shouldn’t need to listen to him talk all the time in a public bus.
Seattle and Washington were both great. That’ll be in a later blog.
Out of nowhere, MSU’s Financial Aid department called me again. This time, she found me on a public bus to meet a guy and talk about copywriting.
E-Rock is name of MSU’s Financial Aid recruiter. Well, that’s not her name, but I don’t know if she wants to be associated with a fart joke blogger…like me.
E-Rock called me while I was at the library, walking into the gym, going to the bathroom, eating and maybe even waking me up from a nap.
Every time I felt confused. “She’s calling me? Again?”
Most job interviewers give you one call, and then they call it a day and move to the next person, but E-Rock seemed genuinely interested in me.
Finally, I needed to do something. I feared this something might get me wiped clean from the list. Over the past two years, I’d applied to hundreds of jobs, so I’d forgotten her job’s details. I’d be helping students figure out their financial aid. While this isn’t what I sat up and dreamed about, this is something I truly believe I could help students understand.
Most important to me, it’s a permanent job, has benefits, sounds doable and is in Bozeman. Bozeman has been my favorite out of the last cities I’ve “lived in” such as: Seoul; Denver; Chicago; Cincinnati; Bloomington, Indiana; Bozeman, North Bend, Washington; and Seattle.
The city is just nice all around. Nice people. Cool stuff. Clean and clean and clean! How could you not want that?
But what the heck was I going to do about my current life in Washington?
I started a tutoring job in North Bend. I worked about 15 hours a week. That’s cool, but it just wasn’t enough money.
My feelings and ego started tumbling. While at the gym one day, I decided that I’d stick around Washington for two more weeks and then go back to Colorado and work at my friend’s store. This wasn’t my dream life, but I decided to think seriously about doing something full time.
I sent off more emails to more jobs. Then, E-Rock called me back! I thought I’d fudged things up by asking what the job was. She asked me if I could come in. I asked when. She wanted me in the next day! I told her I needed a little bit of time to get things figured out. I asked her if she could tell me as soon as possible if I received the job or not. She agreed.
I needed to tell my tutoring boss that I needed to go seek out a uni job. She’s not thrilled with me, and I understand. But I told her I wasn’t going to stay there when I started out, and I just needed a new opportunity.
What about my friends? I made friends with Garmany and Lexy. While both of them are supercool, again, I need to take a chance on this possibility. What about my family? Uncle, aunts, cousins and second cousins! Again, I needed to take a chance and make a change.
My Aunt Nancy and I drove from Seattle to Bozeman in less than nine hours. We made great time. She liked the generous speed limits in Montana. We shared a room in a cute motel. Neither of us snores, so that’s a relief! My mom does.
Yesterday, I ate some breakfast and then some lunch, and then took a hike to MSU for my job interview.
It’s been a while since I’ve been this nervous. This is kind of my last hurrah. If I failed this, I’ll be moving back to Colorado and working at a store. No benefits. No way to move up. Nothing as majestic as Bozeman. Dirty Denver with some douchey dickheads.
I prepared my questions and answers to their questions. I tried mumbling the words out without looking like a psycho — I practiced in the uni’s cafeteria. I showed up early. I was a pro.
Everybody at the financial aid office was nice. There were some flustered students. Yesterday was the 15th School Day of the semester, which means there is a change. Everybody at the windows did a great job of explaining things. I didn’t understand anything, but they seemed nice.
The job interview started at 4 p.m. I finally met E-Rock and the other interviewer J-Rock.
Both were super nice. As it happens in this small world, E-Rock lived in Korea as she was growing up and J-Rock is from Colorado and some of her family is from Indiana — which I didn’t really make fun of while explaining my home-searching summer (but I said, “Bloomington is a lot like Bozeman, but flat and no mountains.”)
During the interview, if I did anything poorly, it was starting on Chapter 4 before explaining Chapters 1, 2 and 3. Will that kill my chances? I don’t know.
To combat this, after about five minutes of being confusing I stopped and rewound everything. I explained that I worked with and explained all types of material to uni students in Korea and at the Colorado Daily. I talked about making copies, writing headlines, shaking hands, how to write a resume and plenty more lessons. I know how to start one project, get interrupted, start again, get interrupted again, get told to do something sort of different but similar to the first thing and then to make coffee for everybody.
I think I did a great job explaining how I’d be great for this gig. I’ve worked with students. I work hard. I have great customer service — I talked about working at KFC, being a bouncer and being heckled by a student at Gachon University.
The ladies were both laughing. That wasn’t really my point, but I guess that’s the side of my personality they witnessed. I felt like I did a great job. I explained my good points and how I’d succeed at this job. I said I didn’t know how to do things just yet, but I would like just like I learned about commercial real estate in New York City, NCAA football, insurance, power plants and whatever else I’ve written about in the past.
Afterwards, I talked with my mom. She wants me to get the job — as does everybody else I talk to. I think she’s worried that I made the folks laugh instead of hitting them hard with a great interview. I think they can be one and the same.
That’s fine for me. This department can easily find somebody that’s better at math than me. But, they’re not going to find somebody who can be likable, hard working and easygoing as me. If I have something to do, I do it.
I like this city and want to stay. I like everything from the library to the Jiu Jitsu gym. I hope this place keeps me so that I can stay.
Keep your fingers crossed!!!
If I get turned down, I’m down to Denver to work with a friend at his store. While I don’t think it’s a terrible job, it’s not what I want to be doing.
Why the heck would I want to work in a store then?
Well, I’m sick and tired of looking for jobs. I’m tired of being on the computer, filling out applications, rewriting resumes, buzzwording cover letters, researching jobs, searching for jobs and waiting and waiting and waiting some more to hear back from people.
Having steady income will hopefully help out my mental state. Free time is fun and everything, but enough is enough. I want to work, get some benefits and watch my savings account grow — even if by just a little.
And, MSU is the Bobcats. I’ve already been a Bobcat before. At NYU, but who’s counting?