What’s your biggest weakness?

Her shoes clicked against the pavement.

With each step, her nerves chewed at her stomach.

It was one of the 200 jobs she’d applied for since graduating two months ago. She had been applying to whatever she could. Regardless if she met the description and requirements or not.

She’d googled “how to make your resume stand out” and “what should I wear for an interview” more times than she could count. All to be sure she’d have the right answers.

Using a youtube tutorial she had tried to recreate a hairstyle. It was to the best of her ability. Stray hairs were already falling from pins.

Don’t even ask how long the winged liner took.

Rejection had become well acquainted with her since she started hunting for her dream job.

Three years of study had prepared her for the dream.

She worried about her sweaty palms and if her clothes were professional enough. In her head, she went over the company’s mission statement and history. The impression she wanted to make was strong. However, anxiety was going to try to stop her.

The receptionist had a snobby expression.

“Take a seat.”

She had arrived five minutes early. A google tip.

The wait

Nervous habits of tugging at her clothes and chewing her lip. Every breath she took was deep and shaky. As she waited she tried to cover a coffee stain from the morning rush. The same get-out-the-door chaos as usual.

The reception area had been busy. Employees rushed around to get to their offices, to meetings. Maybe she’d become one of them. She extinguished the thought immediately chastising herself for being hopeful. ‘Hope leads to disappointment’ she told herself.

At the last interview, she had they had told her she wasn’t what they were after. Someone with more experience had applied.

It hurt.

She made the rejection reflect her. Not them.

Her fellow classmates hadn’t been silent about their success. It seemed as if everyday a new post popped up on social media. The guy from the group assignment landed a full-time position at the biggest company in the state. That girl who seemed to never pull her weight was the niece of somebody important. She wanted it to be her turn.

The idea of giving up had crossed her mind. With each application she sent out, hope faded. What was she doing wrong? She’d interned through university and had aced all of her classes.

Taking it personally was all she could do.

With each no, she fought harder for that yes.

It’s time

As she combs back through the memory of previous rejections she almost misses her name being called.

“We’re ready for you.”

The gentleman is tall and almost scary. His intimidating demeanor amplified once she stepped into the board room. A woman and another man greet her. As they shake hands she hopes they didn’t notice her clammy palms.

“Tell us about yourself.”

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“What can you offer our company?”

“What’s your biggest weakness?”

Each question she tried to not to stammer. She stumbled here and there but nerves aren’t a reason to demote someone’s ability.

They give nothing away. They nod politely and smirk at her light hearted jokes.

Weakness? Of course, she answered with chocolate.

Then the dreaded sentence came along:

“We’ll be in touch.”

Unease sits with her for the entire trip home. How long until she would know? She couldn’t tell if they had liked her or hated her. She knew emailing and bugging them for an answer would result in a no. How could she wait?

Have some self-belief

Despite previous failures, it’ll only take one yes to understand. One yes to realise all the rejection was for a reason. It hurts to be told no but it’s shaping her character. Just like a sculptor moulds their clay.

All of this disappointment will turn into her own wisdom.

She doesn’t know it yet, but no job interview can determine her worth. Just because someone doesn’t see the quality in a diamond doesn’t make it less valuable. If she’s unsuccessful she gained experience and was able to fight through the comfort zone she’s limited to. That alone is a success.

Every single classmate of hers could be employed in their career of choice. Even if she’s the only one she’s not any less of a person. She’s still special.

Life works in mysterious ways and what might look like an opportunity could not be. You can aim for the sky and completely miss but at least you took aim. That’s more than some could say.

She’ll cheer if she gets a call to ask when she can start. She’ll ponder what she did wrong if she doesn’t. Either way, it’s building her career up.

With every yes confidence is built.

With every no determination is built.

She doesn’t even realise that the path she’s constructing is built by her. Not by the people asking the questions at the interview.

With all this difficulty the final moment when she hears;

“You’re hired.”

That moment will be all the more special because of this adversity.

What’s your weakness?

Allowing yourself to be defined by anybody but you. So don’t let them.


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