it was my first job interview out of college. “junior photo editor” was the position and i knew it was meant for me. even knowing that it was probably the equivilant to “data entry” only for photography, interviewing for the company’s magazine seemed like a huge opportunity. so i prepared. i wore my best suit (my only suit), and decided to pull my hair back and not wear as much makeup as i normally would (because in my head girls with long hair and make-up aren’t taken as seriously apparently).
unfortunately, the interview might as well ended as fast as it started. the door swung open, and two girls walked in and sat down across from me. they introduced themselves, and then continued to gossip about their day, laugh at inside jokes, and completely forget that i was even there. ironically, i am probably the same age now as they were then, but at 21, they seemed like the older, cooler girls and i was intimidated.
they begin to ask me the standard questions. “what’s your experience? what are your weaknesses? do you have any questions? only every time i answered anything, they just turned to each other and go into some other inside joke that i have reminded them of. it was like being the uncool kid at the lunch table trying to keep up with the conversation…except this was supposed to be a professional JOB interview. regardless, i ignored it and just tried to do the best i could.
until they asked me what were some of my favorite design classes i took….
“i loved typography.”
“typography? what is that? have you heard of that?” (looking at the other girl)
(other girl) “uh, no. no i have no idea what that is. and i’ve done this a long time.”
“oh. well, typography is the art of arranging type. it’s what makes logos have uniform spacing in between each letter. or making the spaces between letters in a word, or words in a phrase exact.”
“for example (as i grab a magazine that happens to be sitting there)- in typography class, we would have had L in the word “Last” moved a little bit closer, to make it more uniform with the rest of the word. the L is spaced out much further than the other letters in the word.”
(other girl) “but that is a design. that is the look of the logo. that is how it was intended. you’re not making sense.”
and just like that it went from bad to worse. the look on her face tells me i clearly have offended her, her education, and the magazine that is sitting in front of her. after trying to explain that it was just an example, that all rules were meant to be broken, and that maybe i was wrong or not explaining myself correctly, they just looked at each other with their knowing smiles, crack another inside joke (which again leaves me feeling awkward) and left me to do the final portion of the interview (edit a news article) on my own.
now, (8 yrs later) i look back and i’d like to think that i’m a little bit wiser. i look at that experience from a new perspective, because the fact is, they actually made me question and doubt myself. i actually tried to justify that this class i took really existed and that it was a legit practice. they made me feel stupid and embarassed about knowing something about their industry that they didn’t. and instead of being confident about my knowledge, i ended up trying to dumb myself down to make them feel better.
so now, i know better. the truth is, there will always be the mean girls with the inside jokes- that will never change no matter what industry you are in. i look at where i am now in my life, relationships and career, and i hope to never be the girl with too many inside jokes to bother including others. we should always be open to learning something, even if that bit of knowledge is coming from someone who may be newer to the game. hell, i am amazed everyday at how much i have to learn, and yet sometimes surprise myself by how much of my experience and knowledge i can offer to others.
we all had to start somewhere.
a sneak peek at megan + brian’s adorable engagement session coming this week :)