For flashback Friday, I thought I would talk about the topic of interviews and one dreadful experience that got me to grow a thick skin really quick- it's a good thing to have in this business!
I was fresh out of University and I had the golden interview that every designer dreams about. As a newbie full of excitement, motivation, and ambition, not to mention naivety... I managed to get an interview with a top designer, a design hero that I've been obsessed with for years. How exciting was that?! My design hero (I won't mention names out of courtesy) actually wanted to meet me and talk about my work - pinch me! He could have just ignored my email, right? To me, this was a ticket to a glorious start of my career.
As one could imagine on the day of my interview I was hyped, excited, nervous, and then some. I had confidence through the support of my peers, professor and family, so what could possibly go wrong? Oh how many things went wrong... I was already intimidated by the fact that he is such a well-known figure, but then he verbally shattered me. I cannot make this up. Every hope, dream, and ambition were extinct in a matter of seconds, what seemed like an eternity at the time. Not only did he ridicule my work (which he flicked through without an ounce of constructive criticism), he then proceeded to condemn my professor and my American accent. And this was my first interview starting my career as a designer - yikes! He mentioned a few other things that appalled me as well, but I won't get into those, it will only create an infamous Sandra monologue rant. It's too soon for those.
With all that said and done, may I say that it was a day I will never forget! Mind you, I laugh now, but I was bursting in tears when I left his studio; I'm only human. At least I can give myself credit for the fact that I managed to hold back the tears until I left - I have too much pride and couldn't give him the satisfaction- HA!
The reason why I decided to post this was not for the simple fact of ranting about a God-awful interview, nor to scare anyone, but on how to tackle something negative and make it a positive. This designer might have one of the best portfolios with awards galore, but his personality deviated from all of those accomplishments. Even if he thought I was a brilliant designer, it would only be a matter of time for me to realize that he would not be a dream to work for. If there's one thing I learned from my favorite professor, is that you can be the best designer, but if your personality doesn't reflect that, you won't go very far. I whole-heartedly believe this, I've lived it. Even though I was told that I would not get a good design job, I did. A couple months later I worked for The Sunday Times (a UK newspaper, comparative to the New York Times in the U.S.) and shortly after, at JMI (the top motorsports agency in the world). That just goes to show one person's bad opinion of your work or one bad interview does not mean you're not good enough. You just might not be suited for that position at the time, and better things will come along.
When my interview occurred many said that I just so happened to have the one-in-a-million bad interview, that I was unlucky. Four years have passed, and I can honestly say that I'm lucky to have experienced something so demoralizing. Now I can take a step back and grasp my goals with full-force determination. I have proven to myself that I'm better than someone's worthless words and that hard work and kindness always wins.
Hopefully my experience and insight will help those starting out or who happen to have experienced the same scenario. At the time, it may feel disheartening, but things happen for a reason and it forces one to outshine those negative vibes.
With that said, I leave this post with one word - KARMA.