Disclaimer: I cheated on this one (just a bit).
As a university junior nearing summer break, my internship interview schedule has become quite full in these past few weeks. One never knows what to expect from computer science/programming/information technology interviews. Some could be very straightforward, like “What experience do you have with PHP?” or “Describe a time you had difficulty working on a team.” Those are basic questions and, minus the one about PHP, one could expect to be asked similar questions at any job interview.
Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed at a small web development and marketing firm in the beautiful Rittenhouse Square section of my hometown, Philadelphia, for a web developer position. Before this, I had been to numerous job interviews, some for internships, but mostly for part-time retail jobs. After some light discussion about my favourite superhero and villain, my estimate of the number of registered vehicles in the U.S. (I guessed 75 million, actual is 62 million), I was posed the titular challenge: “Describe yourself in three words.”
It was the first time I had ever been told to do that. Immediately, I began to contemplate whether I should describe myself, the person, or in such a way that makes me seem fit for the job (or, at the very least, competent). The three words I ended up choosing were:
I suppose I chose this one to describe my demeanor on a normal day. Even on an abnormal day, I’m not usually an agitated person. I’ve always been one to hide unhappy or even sad feelings and put them away. I’m of the mentality that “Why should anyone else be worried about what I have to worry about? People have enough problems.” However, I only enforce this policy upon myself. I encourage others to talk about their problems, even if it’s to me, because I’m always more than willing to listen. Perhaps, this “relaxed” personality helps me keep a level head and abstain from passing judgment on others, a judgment I have no right to pass.
-Soft-spoken (What a snake I am, picking a two-word phrase!)-
This one was easy to pick, but no so easy to say (clearly). I’m, by no means, a loud person. I have thoughts of all kinds running through my head at any given second, but when it comes to choosing one and explaining it, I’m quite terrible. So, in an effort to reduce all instances of sounding like an idiot, I don’t speak so loudly. Besides, I can’t say I like the sound of my own voice at high volumes too much anyway. I dislike having to yell.
Between the last one and this one, there was a long, awkward pause. I had no idea final word characterized me most accurately. But I began to think about my life, in general. I’ve been blessed with a life full of problems that I’m quite fortunate to have. I never have to worry about from where my next meal will come, where I go if I get sick, or anything along those lines. At the same time, my life isn’t what I’d, ideally, choose. Of course, no one’s life is, but perhaps what I mean is that I can imagine a happier time in my life. Not to say that I’m not happy now, because I am, but that I could be happier. We all have events which shape our lives and the events that found their way into mine and caused this “dip” in happiness has surely changed mine forever. In fact, I would even say that it’s changed it for the better, despite causing me a certain sadness for every joyous moment I encounter. So, instead of saying “happy,” I think “content” more accurately described my life at that moment. Though, to be completely honest, I probably sounded pretentious. “What 21-year-old knows anything about contentment?” is what I was saying to myself walking to the train station that afternoon.
I ended up not getting that job, and I’m okay with that. I had a fantastic experience, nonetheless, and don’t regret taking the time to meet with those who interviewed me. I was forced to look at myself and do one of the hardest things any of us could be asked to do: describe ourselves. It ended up being the most difficult question I was posed that day, and the most difficult question that has ever come up during a job interview for me (so far).
I have been meaning to do this for quite a while, but it’s finally time to get to it. Being the optimist that I tend to be, my interview experience also gave me great fodder for an intro post to my blog. I intend to write, for the most part, about my passions for technology, interest in politics, and just some interesting thoughts on life.
As I mentioned earlier, I have numerous thoughts about various things running through my head at any given time. Time to actually articulate on a few or, hopefully, many of them!
Welcome to Mocha Dark!