During my second ever job interview, for a part time job in college, I was sweating. It was really muggy outside but I also really wanted the job. The woman who would be my boss had a good vibe and her home office was like an oasis in the hot summertime. Toward the end of the interview, she asked: “Do you have any other experience?”
I paused. I did have some but was hesitant to share it.
I was twenty and spent my nights studying Chaucer and Shakespeare, so high school classes felt like distant, childish memories. Every interview etiquette book and article advised against referencing them. Also, my Grandma’s warning, “Don’t toot your own horn,” rang loudly in my ears as sweat pooled in the crooks of my elbows. Despite all of this, the urge to share was still strong. She was an entrepreneur and my experience with graphics, layout and writing might come in handy, even if it came from high school yearbook.
Her eyes lit up.
After being hired on to do some “light admin work” she ultimately sat me down in front of a computer and said, “Can you come up with a flyer?” I wound up spending a year crafting marketing pieces for a variety of business projects and gaining experience that inspired a change of major and launched a career I truly love.
If I had listened to those etiquette books and kept my mouth shut, things would be a lot different now. I would probably still be spending my nights wasting my eyesight analyzing literature for pennies.
I like my eyesight and my work and, because of this, I will always speak up.