A lot of things changed last year. Some were directly affected by the pandemic, some indirectly.
For example, the revenue of the company I worked for was directly affected by the pandemic.
How Covid-19 affected my job
As members of the digital team, we started working from home fairly early. Soon, everyone else was WFH too.
Indirectly, soon after, our salaries took a hit. Some people were laid off.
How things are said matters way more than what is said.
I had the fortune of having a considerate, humane team break the news to me.
The feeling of powerlessness is truly despicable and I was never made to feel powerless or like I didn’t have a choice during the call when they told me I was getting a 50% pay cut.
I understood. Global pandemic. People were being laid off. Others were dying.
I was fortunate to have a job (and be healthy). I was well aware of this.
But as much as I understood the company’s point of view and that they had to reduce costs to keep afloat, I also understood that I wasn’t in a legally binding together forever contract with the company.
After 3 years, I threw my hat in the freelance ring again.
A few mere days after, a potential client reached out to me, telling me they loved my Manifesto page and wanted to work with me. The payment was great (I had an hourly rate of $35), our values were 100% aligned, the project was exciting.
We started working together.
I managed to fuck that up, but that’s a story for another day. (If you’re reading this, hi David!)
Today we’re talking about the funniest*, most absurd, and uncomfortable interview I’ve been in.
*funniest in retrospect
Back to my 50% pay cut. While I loved the company, I also loved myself and wanted what was best for me.
Quitting wasn’t really on my plan, but I wanted to keep my options open. (At this point, we’d returned to office.)
So I searched in job boards for Writer/Copywriter/Content Writer/Communication Expert positions and applied to the ones I liked.
If you’d told 10-year-old Delfina she could have a full-time WRITING job in Albania, she wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, I’ve worked in 3 companies here as just that. A Writer. Mind-blowing.
Fun fact: I only stayed 1 day at one of those companies. Here’s Why I Quit My New Job After 4 Hours and Didn’t Look Back.
I also sent a few Open Applications to companies or organizations doing cool stuff.
What’s an Open Application again?
In case you don’t know, an Open Application is an expression of interest in the company itself rather than an application for a specific role they’re advertising. More and more companies are offering General Applications on their Career pages as a way to find the right people rather than the right people for X job.
And it’s smart, right? You leave an open communication channel for people who’re interested in what you’re doing, but they have experience in Research and Design and don’t want to pigeonhole themselves. Or maybe they’re not looking for something right now but want to keep in touch.
You attract amazing people and then see how you can put their amazingness to good use to benefit your company.
I sent an Open Application to a fact-checking organization.
In the email above, I said I loved what they were doing, explained what my field of expertise was and how my experience related specifically to their line of work. I also sent them my resume and work samples.
Then, my phone ringed. Yes, in Albania, a lot of job interviews are set during a phone call.
Someone from the fact-checking place told me they were interested and asked if I was available for an interview on X/Y date.
Would I have to go to a job interview during my lunch break? Sure.
Did I have a work meeting I had to physically be at a few minutes after the job interview would supposedly end? Yeah.
Would I have no time to eat lunch or have coffee? Yeah.
Do I enjoy living vicariously? Yeah. For the most part.
I showed up at their offices early, like I always do when I’m interviewing somewhere.
(Funny fact: I’m looking at the WhatsApp chats with my boyfriend from that day and my timeliness was a lie. The interview was at noon. I went outside to get a cab at 11:54 am. I’m sorry I lied. I thought I was telling the truth.)
The office manager told me to sign a letter, which also had the names of the other 4 people they’d interviewed that day. It seemed like a breach of privacy, but then again, adrenaline was rushing through my body, so I couldn’t register any of those names even if I wanted to.
I had to wait a long time. Considering it was a weekday and they knew people had to get back to work, I didn’t particularly like their time management or organizational skills. But, hey, sh*t happens.
Finally, it was my time. I entered the interview room. Three people were there. I will refrain from mentioning identifying details, but one was an external stakeholder and the other two worked there. One would potentially be my boss and the other my boss’s boss.
I have a bad habit of not writing things down soon after they happen. I called my boyfriend after the interview, so I don’t have–as the kids say–the receipts.
The actual interview questions are a bit of a blur. What I remember clearly is how I felt. It felt absurd.
According to Comparably, the top 80% of Deputy Editors make $168,000.
What does a Deputy Editor do? According to Target Jobs, they’re “the second-in-command at a newspaper, magazine or website, who takes over the editor’s role in the editor’s absence.”
Deputy Editor jobs are considered senior-level positions. You need 10+ years of editorial and managerial experience to be considered.
Friends, I was being interviewed for a Deputy Editor position.
The questions were about my experience managing all aspects of publishing, how I supervised and coordinated others’ work, how I oversaw publication production and many others in a similar realm.
Granted, I had these experiences to some extent, but I definitely wasn’t senior level. I’d been working full-time for 2 years at the time, for God’s sake.
At one moment, they did ask me point blank, “You don’t have lots of experience. Why do you think you can do this Deputy Editor job? What made you apply?”
Sure, to some degree, I believe that my life is a movie. I’m the protagonist. The world is mine.
If I turned my head to the inexistent camera as they do in The Office to whisper, “But I didn’t, though,” it would’ve been funny.
There are three reasons I didn’t do that.
1 I believe I’m in a movie only to some extent.
2 It would’ve been disrespectful.
3 I was worried about the HR person/Office Manager who’d messed this up so massively. In my General Application, I’d said explicitly what my experience was and how I could fit into their business and editorial plans. Hint: I didn’t fit into “Deputy Editor” in the slightest.
See, I lied again. There’s a fourth reason why I didn’t do a camera state, The Office style.
4 This might make you think I’m conceited and out of touch with reality. But, hey, we keep it real here, right? Deep, deep, deep, deep down, I thought I had a 0.1% chance of getting this job. Why would I ruin that by making silly faces?
So I remained calm, or at least tried to. I answered questions to the best of my ability.
I managed to make it to the end of the interview without embarrassing myself.
Rationally, I knew I had no reason to feel embarrassed because I hadn’t applied for this position and wasn’t willingly wasting these people’s time. Still, I felt a huge responsibility to not fuck up in a way that would risk the HR person/Office Manager’s job.
I made it back on time for that work meeting, feeling high.
As you might’ve guessed, I never heard back from them.
I wish we lived in a world where prompt rejection emails are a given-I say prompt because if I hear back from a company a year after I’ve applied, it better be to tell me my email was lost somewhere and they want to offer me a job–but we don’t. It’s beyond me that so many large companies still miss this simple, humane component of the hiring process. Offer us some closure, God damn it.
Alas, they weren’t a big company. Alas, they were probably disappointed and thought I was an entitled person used to having everything handed to me on a silver platter.
I mean, I believe in manifestation, but hey, I’m realistic and I know that everything will come in its due time.
From what I can tell, they hired a Deputy Editor with 13+ years of experience. As they should, lol. I’m sure it was very well deserved. I wish them the best of luck.
Also, the irony of this happening at a fact-checking place isn’t lost on me. The irony of me fact-checking myself and being 100% wrong isn’t lost on me. But hey, isn’t that what life is all about? The irony of it all, the interconnectedness of it all, the humor and perfection found in the little things?
I really think it is.
*This is based on my memory and a few WhatsApp chats. It’s my version of the truth and I’m aware it may not be the only one. Also, um, any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.