Thursday, May 3, 2012

Career Tips for Beginners

If nothing else, Away From the Cubicle provides a constant supply of practical, relevant tips that can dramatically improve your quality of life.  In yesterday's post, I provided some spectacularly useful advice for those aspiring to pursue a career in crime.  But if you're like me and you prefer a tamer, more...boring existence, there's some bad news.  Unfortunately, living life on the up-and-up that means that at some point, you're likely to face the dreaded job interview.

Interviewing for a new job can be a very intimidating experience.  It's important not only to make a good impression, but to also size up the potential employer to determine if you'll fit in comfortably with the other workers and enjoy working in the unique culture.  Interestingly enough, yesterday's advice on robbing banks is just as relevant when preparing for a job interview: once again, striking the right balance is critical.

In a formal interview situation, you should make it clear that you'll take the job seriously, yet you don't want to come across as too uptight.  Showing up over-dressed for the occasion can set you up for a potentially uncomfortable and embarrassing situation, so it's important to read the situation carefully before selecting your attire.  You choice should demonstrate that you can pull off a professional appearance, yet also convey confidence that you'll be just as comfortable on casual Friday.

Here's the recent story of a man in Sacramento who learned the hard way what can happen if you misread the situation.  About two months ago, Jose Ayala walked up to a welding shop in the Del Paso Heights area of Sacramento, hoping to get himself a job interview. Business attire would certainly be overkill for a position in a welding shop, so he went a more...shall we say..."casual" route.  Here's a clip to his story, which became an internet sensation:

That's right, Jose not only showed up buck naked to his interview, he was also high on meth.  It was truly a bold move--no one can blame him for not being himself and letting it all hang out (quire literally), but perhaps he took that principle to the extreme.  And Jose wasn't shy about self-promotion, either--when he walked up, he immediately told the shop owner that he was good with his hands.  That's an important skill for an aspiring welder, but when he's standing there naked, I could see where someone might interpret that comment as a little creepy...

I'm not sure that Jose thought this plan out thoroughly beforehand, but I can see a few pros and cons that he might have considered in his interview strategy. The pros:
  • Confidence is important in any interview, and Jose immediately made it very clear to his potential employer that he's a very confident man.
  • If Jose somehow received a job offer, there's almost no chance the shop owner would make him take a drug test, since those results wouldn't exactly reveal any new information.
  • Some employers appreciate staff members who help cultivate a relaxed atmosphere at the office, and Jose's outlook on life seems tailor-made for casual Fridays.
Then, on the other hand, there were some inherent risks with the naked interview strategy:
  • Some crazy, stuck-up employers have a weird hang-up about not hiring naked men who wander in randomly off the street--and about allowing heavy drug use on the job.  I don't understand it, but that bias does seem to exist in some workplaces.
  • When the cops show up--which they most certainly will--the inevitable naked struggle might give the boss the impression that you don't work well with others.

After weighing his options, Jose went ahead with the clothes-free option.  Unfortunately for him, the story's ending did not include a regular paycheck, just a free trip to the local jail.  It's an unenviable position in which to find yourself, but I feel worse yet for the pair of police officers (and a few bystanders) who had the even less enviable job of tackling and pinning the very naked Jose to the ground.

I have my share of bad days at the office, but not a single one has ended with my laying on top of a struggling, naked man.  If I were those officers after that particular experience, I'd be reading this blog post to collect some valuable, last-minute interview tips in preparation for a job search in a different line of work...

Here's a link to a quick recap of Jose's story:

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