Thursday, October 6, 2011

What I Would Really Like to Say Part 1: Tell Me About a Time you Failed

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Job interviews are all about selling yourself, massaging the truth in your resume and interview questions to present yourself as the perfect candidate. We’ve already established that I’m pretty terrible at this. I’m too blunt and honest, self-detrimentally so, and it irritates me to play these mind games. In that spirit, I’ve decided to start a series on how I would actually answer interview questions if I could be totally honest.

Tell me about a time you failed.  

Well sir, let me answer that question with a question. Do you mean fail as in an experience in which I didn’t complete an assigned task or goal and learned a valuable lifelong lesson in the process OR do you mean FAIL in the common internet meme usage?

Because I have an excellent example for the second. Let me set the scene for you. It was a crisp September day and my mother, sister, and I decided to go for a bike ride. We were pedaling along, full of joie de vivre...

 ...when suddenly The Baity Instinct kicked in.

 Let me take a moment to explain The Baity Instinct. This is the spirit of fierce competitiveness that lies dormant in every member of the Baity family, waiting to be aroused by the slightest provocation.  It’s the spirit that incited my mother to march across the gym and ball out some parents complaining about the amount of play time I was getting in a first grade basketball game. As she so poignantly and loudly explained: the rule states that every kid has to play two quarters and we were not technically cheating by leaving our best player in for all four quarters. It’s the spirit that led my uncle to give the old Italian hello (read: the bird) to the entire student section of Kent Denver High School during a rowdy district championship game, and the same thing that causes my grandmother to cheat at every single board game, from Dominoes to Monopoly, and fall back on the old age excuse when caught. It’s as much a part of our makeup as dark hair and sarcasm.

This bright September day was not immune to the Baity Instinct. The bike ride started out pleasantly enough. We rode merrily along, chatting and enjoying the weather. Then someone started pedaling a little bit faster than the others. Of course the other two had to keep up, and not only that, we had to go even faster. Soon the three of us were in a full blown bike race down the Highline Canal trail.

My mom, firmly in the grip of the Baity Instinct, was in the lead with me close at her pedals and Laine pulling up the rear. It was at this point that I made a tactical error. I attempted a move outside the realm of my biking experience. I tried to pass my mom but ended up hitting her back tire with my front one. The result: I catapulted off my bike and ended up spread eagle on the trail, woozily staring at the sky. This wouldn't have been so bad, if Laine hadn’t been directly behind me. The next thing I saw was a bike tire at an uncomfortably close range. Two actually. Laine rode over my face with both tires.

Her story is a bit suspicious. She claims she had no time to think and instinctively swerved INTO MY FACE.

“That was the choice? Swerve into my face? Why wouldn’t you turn the other direction?“ I demanded.

She then proceeded to tell me I had been a jerk to her all day and she didn’t feel the least bit sorry. Like I said, suspicious. She didn’t even feel sorry when the emergency room nurse took one look at me and laughed because of the pronounced tire tread across my nose. I ended up with five stitches where Laine’s sprocket cut my head open and a nasty case of road rash. Laine didn’t even fall off her bike. I’m going to give her an EPIC WIN on this one.

So I think I nailed that question. What’s next?

A few more just for fun...

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