For pretty much the entire time I’ve been writing this blog, and definitely for the last several months, I’ve been joking about how I pretty much missed the memo about how I’m supposed to become an adult at some point.
And of course by “joking” I mean “totally-joking-except-not-really-at-all-because-I’m-pretty-sure-my-life-may-actually-be-in-shambles-but-got-you-I’m-totally-joking-except-not.” It’s the same way a single woman living with cats talks about how she really doesn’t want to get married.
Call it what you will (defense mechanism, distorted reality, denial, insanity, what have you) poking fun at myself is a good way of distracting myself from the problem at hand — that is, at some point I forgot that I’m supposed to be an adult. This is well illustrated by the fact that I have repeatedly blown off grocery shopping to watch Disney movies on ABC Family with my roommate.
That’s not to say I don’t ever want to grow up — it’s just the opposite. I’m ready to be done with college. I know some of you are cringing at that statement, but I’m completely over having to do pointless assignments for classes that don’t matter. I want to be doing work that I enjoy or can at least justify for a cause or an organization that I care about and/or that pays me. I can imagine sinking my teeth into building a database for a company in ways I can’t even try to summon when it comes time to write tedious papers for a women’s studies class.
I know I’m supposed to be an adult, it just never happened.
Although apparently no one told that to McGladrey.
McGladrey is one of the top five accounting firms in the country, and has offices all over the U.S., including locations in Dubuque and Minneapolis. I had an on-campus interview at the end of last semester with one of the Dubuque executives regarding an MIS position. Truth be told, I didn’t think it went all that great. I felt like I was kind of off my game and that my interviewer wasn’t all that impressed with my resume, so I wrote it off as good practice and went on with my life.
So imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I received a phone call from HR in the Minneapolis office, asking my availability for an interview while I was home for Christmas. I was astounded and excited, and scheduled an interview for December 28th, determined to be well-prepared so I could knock their socks off the second time around.
And I probably would have had it not been for the debilitating case of stomach flu my entire family had the pleasure of enjoying on the 27th of December.
I entered my interview with all the confidence of someone who has just spent the previous 24 hours wrapped around a toilet, in a mental state that could be likened to a child-like psychosis, possibly caused by the body aches and lack of any solid food.
For those of you who haven’t had much experience in the area of interviews, these are not ideal conditions.
Any forethought I had given went immediately out the window as I tried to navigate questions about teamworking skills and resist the temptation of bashing my liberal arts education, all while struggling to remain upright. I vaguely remember trying to scrape together some adult-like thoughts about where I saw myself in ten years as my interviewer led me back to his office, but then he opened his door and the first words that came out of my mouth were, “Ohhh, you’re an Iowa State fan? I don’t think this is going to work out.”
Needless to say, I left that interview feeling even more lousy than I had when I left the first one. I tried to be optimistic, remembering the bits that went well, and the good vibes I got from the building, but I figured there was no way they were going to give another glance to the girl who was clearly holding herself together with Scotch tape.
Once more I chalked the experience up to being good practice, and went on with my life. I returned to school for J-term, went to San Francisco, and began fretting over becoming a grown-up again.
Clearly McGladrey doesn’t do anything the way I expect them to.
I was home the last week of January for J-term break, which gave me the opportunity to ski, finally update my contact prescription, and field a phone call from McGladrey’s HR department offering me a software consulting job in Minneapolis once I graduate.
I’ve learned several important lessons from this whole experience. First, while being a grown-up is something that we’ll all have to inevitably face at some point, there’s no need to force it to happen at the first sign of uncertainty. Keeping your sense of wonder and creativity from childhood will keep you on your toes and fill your head with dynamic ideas. Second, if you ever have the opportunity to interview for a job whilst recovering from the stomach flu, I actually recommend the experience. By having the majority of your energy focused on maintaining your systems during the recuperation process, your potential employer sees a more honest, and possibly less inhibited version of you, which hopefully isn’t a terrible thing.
The best thing about all of this though, is that I don’t have to worry about what I’m doing anymore. I know I’m not going to be living with my parents as some listless blogger, wishing for a direction in life and wondering if she shouldn’t have put off washing the car for Alice in Wonderland. No, instead I’ll be living with my parents as a listless blogger who is very focused on her job in IS for an accounting firm, and wonders what adventures she’ll find in Minneapolis.
And I’m still not a grown-up. It’s fantastic.