12 March 2010

job interview

This week I had my first job interview in eleven years. Part of it I aced. Part of it I bombed.

I may not really want the job that much. If my next job interview is for a job I really want it was good practice. I am reminded of an old hacker maxim: make one to throw away. One of my favorite programmers says that this is completely wrong; replace it with: never throw anything away! But I digress.

The part I bombed was the interviewer's question on leadership. I was trying to say my preferred style of leadership is to lead by example; unfortunately that came out as lead by doing and I could not even stumble upon what I was trying to say. If it was useful to the interviewer to find out I lack imagination for leadership, I gave him precisely the information he needed by omission.

Later I was going through the meatball wiki and found a much better recipe. This seems to be from some Taoists or other related eastern philosophy. Leadership is ideally done by heart, by hand, by mind. First by heart; nobody is going to follow you unless they perceive some authentic empathetic listening on your part. Second by hand; this is leading by example and is only secondary to the first requirement. So, even my attempted answer would have been lacking. Third by mind; this is where you create solutions to problems. All three necessary, and in that exact priority order.

The question I had to think about after bombing that part of the interview is how this leadership issue affects my worthiness, my golden resume, and my job aspirations. I did lead on my last project successfully, by example, with hand and with mind. There was very little of what the Taoists would describe as heart in it. There has been little of what the Taoists would describe as heart in any of my professional endeavors. Perhaps that is an impossibility given the economy, my industry and management culture at my employer.

My non-work works in the past year have been successful without qualifications. I wrote 1000 pages; made my glossy brochure; invented two meditation techniques; read a decent library shelf filled with books on finance and investment and economics; made a number of frameable artworks. These activities were all done passionately. My job has been fine but definitely at a lower level of emotional engagement. Perhaps the relationships have been a burden and not energizing. My bosses view me as introverted, aloof. It is possible they think I am apathetic. The question may be moot here and now but maybe deserves attention at my next job.

I don't know.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.