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Eric Myers' Man of the House - Tell Me About Yourself

August 18th, 2014 11:07 am by Eric Myers

Eric Myers' Man of the House - Tell Me About Yourself

Okay, back to everyone's favorite subjects of fear and doubt! Specifically, back to my own saga of wrestling with different feelings as I re-entered the work force.

As I had mentioned previously, by design, our family was set for me to end my decade of being the at-home parent and transition into my working outside the home. In doing so, I became consumed by my own fears of whether I would be attractive to prospective employers (since I had a ten year gap on my resume) or whether I had the ability and skill sets to survive in today's competitive and tech-savvy work world (since I was 45). So now, I began the interview process.

I had one really good prospect. I had been talking with the founder of a particular non-profit for a few months about an idea he was developing. We met over lunch a few times and discussed the idea. He asked my thoughts on different aspects of the idea and we tweaked it here and there and I encouraged him to consider this or that. This process ended with my telling him that if they moved forward with this concept that I would be interested in being considered. A few weeks later I was asked to submit a resume.

My resume. I hadn't updated my resume for ten years. I hadn't been interviewed for twenty. Wow. What kinds of questions do they even ask now? Is it still the ol' "Tell us about yourself?" I hope not. What would I tell them? "I can cook an awesome Chicken Marsala!" or "You should see me multi-task?"

But as I came to think about it the kind of things you deal with as an at-home parent and the kinds of things I had learned and developed in that role are the types of things employers are looking for and need. You want someone who can multitask? Who can be flexible? Who understands things do go sideways unexpectedly and when that happens you simply re-adjust and don't get overly frustrated? You looking for someone who is used to putting in long hours and who understands the importance of planning their day? Yes? Well then, let's talk.

Maturity was on my side too. Any employer who was looking for someone who understood balance in life and who understood that you put in an honest days work (but that you can't possibly do it all in a day) would be interested. Any employer who was looking for an employee who had that old-school work ethic including unwavering honesty, loyalty, respect for fellow workers and superiors, who was professional, and who understood that character and integrity was foundational and that the reputation of a business is carried by employees - employees who will carry it well and build upon it or who can unravel decades of sweat and effort in one fell swoop. Anyone who understood those things would be interested. That type of stuff can't be learned overnight and many of today's young workers don't have some of those things. I have them.

But the biggest thing that was on my side was something else I had learned as an at-home parent...I understood that this was all out of my control anyway. I could do everything right and not get hired. I could stumble and stammer and yet, get the job. I didn't know what they were really looking for or why they were interested in me. And I didn't know who the eleven people where I was up against.

"Just be me. Just be honest," I thought, "and let the chips fall." And, heck, if I don't get the job, I can enjoy all eight weeks of summer vacation with my family! Not too bad when you look at it like that.

Well, I got the job. I was relieved and sort of surprised. I was also happy and excited. I was a lot of things. I was also totally blindsided by what I would experience next. What was that? You'll have to wait until next time.  

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