Impressive Impressions

I’m always struck by how much it seems people put on an act for others. The masks and costumes we carefully put ourselves in every single day to impress the people around us. Makeup, plastic surgery, designer fashion, and the list continues.

Yet, we crave authenticity. We desire clarity and are always searching for the truth despite the all encompassing masquerade. I feel like I’m stuck in a world of double standards and double meanings.

I’m in the process of trying to find a new job. My daughter’s getting older, and I finally feel semi-comfortable (is it ever 100%?) leaving her in daycare and getting back to work. As much as I enjoy staying home with her, I also miss having a formally structured job. I’m a little terrified about how it’s all going to work out, especially if she doesn’t learn to sleep through the night soon ( I’m going to be exhausted), but I’m also excited. However, I HATE HATE the job hunt.

Some people (I have yet to meet them) are thrilled by it, the chance to start something, to impress…Interviews are like a game of chance and they enjoy the thrill and excitement of it all. I, on the other hand find job hunting to be an anxiety producing ball of stress and self-doubt that I attempt to juggle without dropping it all on my own head.

I am excited by new prospects. I like searching for new jobs and thinking about all of the different possibilities, imagining myself in a new position. The problem with all of it is the pressure to impress. In every interview all I can think about is whether or not I am doing everything right. Am I wearing the right clothes, using the right words, asking the right questions…In the interviewers eyes am I the RIGHT person or is there something WRONG with me? 

The problem with the job hunt is the simple fact that even if I do everything right and believe I am perfect for the job (in fact, know that I am perfect for the job) none of that matters except for the employers opinion. If I impress them within an hour then great! But one mis-step, one mis-interperted question or response, one slip of my costume, and none of it matters. Every rejection letter, unanswered inquiry, etc. is a blow to my self esteem. It hurts to not be chosen.

I know, that’s how life works. That in a world with more than just you, you cannot get everything you want. There is competition and competition is important. It’s not the competition that bothers me – It’s the fakeness of it all. The fact that the person presented in the job interview can be completely different from the person who gets the job, and the person who doesn’t get the job  can be completely different from the person in the interview. Isn’t it a little strange to judge someone off of one stressful encounter and carefully manicured presentation?

The picture for this post is an ad at the local supermarket. Every time i see it I giggle a little. But looking at it again in this context – I can’t help but wonder… what would happen if we showed our ‘jockey’s’ a little bit more often and were more intentional about removing the masks and costumes that we squish ourselves into everyday? (Or would that simply be too much?)

 

 

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