Things I Hate

Obviously I couldn’t blog about this right when it happened, but I thought it would be fun to share an anecdote from my job hunting experience.

All in all, I probably went in about 9-10 interviews this time around. Many of those were at the same places — I actually made it to the third round of interviews at two different companies. (Though I didn’t get either of those jobs.)

One of those third-rounders was probably the worst interview I’ve ever been on.

The company was one that organizes sporting events (like dodgeball and softball games) for adults in the city to network and meet new people. I had already survived an initial meeting with their HR recruiter; it went well and we both seemed to get along. A good sign, in my book.

The second round, I was required to write an entire 3-month social media strategy, including a step-by-step list of the first three things I would do if I got the job.

Pause for a second (Zack Morris-style).

Can we just discuss how messed up that is? I mean, my ability to create a social strategy and help a brand define their digital voice is what I do for a living. That is my intellectual property. It’s what, you know, I get paid for.

And now I was forced to basically hand it over with zero promise of a return. (And since you already know I didn’t get this job, I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you this company ended up with my entire strategy, step-by-step tactics, and sample social posts. And I ended up with…well, you’ll see.)

The second interview went okay. The two guys I met with we’re a tiny bit bro-y, but nice enough. They kept up their poker faces the entire time, and, to be perfectly honest, I felt a little but judged for wearing heels and curling my hair. It could have been in my head, but it wasn’t in my head that this was not a girlie-girl setting.

Regardless, I thought I handled myself well. I was prepared for all of their questions, and my strategy even preemptively answered most of them. I felt I came across as capable, organized, and enthusiastic.

About a day later, I had an email setting up my final interview with the CEO and founder of the company. I assumed the second interview must have gone well.

When I arrived for my final interview, I was quickly ushered into a conference room with the CEO. He was an unassuming man from Long Island in his fifties, barely taller than me. He had a teasing sense of humor that I couldn’t quite get a handle on because it was a little, well, condescending.

I turned to face him, and he lifted a piece of paper that I assume had the questions he wanted to ask me on the side facing him. What he didn’t realize was that the side facing me had some writing on it too.

Notes. About me.

I know it was about me because it said Justine LoMonaco at the top.

And under that it said:

Not that into sports
Not funny or creative

There have only been a few moments in my life that I would describe as punches to the gut. This was one of them.

(Obviously, I’m talking about the second sentence. Anyone who knows me knows I make no pretenses about having a passion for sports.)(And this.)(And this.)(AND THIS.)

Let me be clear: I have no delusions that I’m the funniest or smartest person out there. But these are two specific adjectives that people use to describe me all the time. I mean, I’m a classic late-bloomer — sense of humor and personality carried me for years, folks. I work with people who literally will not schedule a brainstorming session unless I can attend. Funniness and creativity are just not things I am insecure about.

And then…suddenly everything changed.

I’m one of those people that if you really want to push my buttons, accuse of something that is just patently untrue. It’s like my brain can’t even process what you’re saying and I become simultaneously dumber and less eloquent. My cerebrum is all, “Wait…you mean…but the-what? SKY IS GREEN AND GRASS IS BLUE AND NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE.”

Obviously, this is not a good mental state to be in for, oh, let’s say a job interview.

Suddenly I found myself incapable of coming up with a single intelligent thing to say. I was trying to be funnier, which everyone knows rarely works out. And, honestly, I was on the brink of tears for most of the half hour.

The interview wrapped up quickly (clearly I hadn’t impressed), and I hesitated for just a second, wondering if I should address these two accusations against me. In the end, I said nothing (though I did stand up for myself a bit in my “thank you” email). If I had known I wouldn’t get the job anyway, I would have been bolder. Hindsight, amiright?

Instead I shuffled dejectedly to the subway, still fighting back tears, and called my friend to unload what had happened. When I got home and started telling Joey about it, I broke down.

Remember when I wrote this? That was right around the time I found out I didn’t get that job. (Or the other job that I had made it to the third round of interviews for.) I was so frustrated, and my confidence was at a low. Now I was confronted with the possibility that maybe I was just stuck where I was — and not funny or creative on top of it.

That’s a lot for anyone to take.

But wait! This isn’t a sad story. Because, in the end, I realized that I probably didn’t want to work with people who don’t share my sense of humor anyway. I don’t want to work for people who judge me the moment I walk in. I don’t want to work for hypocritical people who claim their business model supports one thing while their actions prove they don’t.

And the job I ended up getting? I’m a million times more excited for it than I was for the other one anyway.

So things work out how they’re supposed to. And the experience also showed me what a great support system I have when I can’t pick myself back up right away. Ironically, when I got my new job, they told me the people I had interviewed loved how “funny and creative” I was. As if that coffin needed one more nail, right?

Anyone else have a job interview story to top mine? Leave it in a comment so we can commiserate together (and laugh about how, in the end, it was their loss).

It would be unreasonable to expect that every run would go swimmingly, right?

Enter the bad run: Your legs feel like lead, your stomach bothers you, you can’t focus (or rather, unfocus and get into that weird, mindless running headspace), and the miles seem to molasses-crawl past.

It’s not the same thing as hitting “the wall” because, in this case, the wall smacks you in the face the moment you step outside.

I’m sure I had bad runs when I was a casual runner. I remember how sometimes four miles just flew by, and other times I was killing myself to eke out two. But when you’re staring down an 8-, 12-, or 16-mile jaunt, a bad run just stings a little bit harder.

Saturday’s “12-miles” was a bad run.

From the moment I woke up, I just wasn’t feeling it. Determined to shake it off (and with, you know, this little thing called the actual marathon winking at me from three weeks away), I laced up my new sneakers and donned my fleece.

Because, oh yeah, it’s still freezing. This weekend’s run was a delightful mix of just barely uncomfortably warm (when the wind was at my back) and face-numbingly freezing (when I was running into the wind).

So, you know, generally awful.

I tried all my usual running tricks, including reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to run. Including trying to remember when I couldn’t run because I was injured, and how jealous I was whenever someone sprinted past me on the sidewalk. Nothing worked.

In the end, I ran about eight miles. And felt like a total loser.

I’m trying to shake it off, though. I do think I could have forced myself to finish those last four miles. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to hate running. If I had made myself pound the pavement a little while longer, I think I would have ended the run hating it and dreading my next run.

And considering I have another 20-miler next weekend, that’s not a place I want to go to mentally.

So I cheated one of my runs. I don’t actually think this will hurt me significantly. This time next week, I’ll hopefully be back to my confident I’m-running-a-marathon-and-you-can’t-stop-me self.

Any other runners have experience with bad runs? How do you shake it off (in case I wake up on April 6th with a bad case of dead legs)?

I need to let a few things out.

In the immortal words of white girls everywhere, I’m over it.

I’m over the cold. Do you know how cold this winter has been? No one in New York remembers a winter like this in the last ten years or more.

That’s how cold.

It just keeps snowing, and the temperature keeps not budging above thirty. It’s a sick joke.

Speaking of sick jokes, here’s another one: No matter how cold it gets, I still have to train for a marathon.

That means one to two runs a week in the biting cold, wondering just how many times I can lose feeling in the tip of my nose before it just falls off. It means that at least once a week, I spend hours in literally freezing temperatures wearing various layers of spandex and fleece and telling myself that it’s not that bad.

And let’s talk about those hours. I’m getting tired, y’all. The last month, I’ve been leaving my apartment about half an hour later than normal because, when my alarm goes off at the usual time, my brain just rejects that it is time to get up. My body refuses to swing my legs to the floor and vacate the bed because I’m so dang tired and did I mention it’s cold out there?

Because, oh, another thing: My apartment is freezing. The super keeps playing dumb like we’re imagining that our thermometer says it’s below sixty degrees. Like maybe we won’t notice. But I notice.

And then when we complain, the heaters magically turns on for a few hours. And then it shuts off and we start the song and dance again.

I am tired of this dance and I hate this song.

And you know what else? In an effort to avoid exposing my tired, cold skin to even more frigid air, I foolishly decided taking the bus eight blocks would be smarter than walking this morning after a 7-mile outdoor run. I then sat on said bus for an hour before finally giving up at ninth avenue, meaning I STILL ended up walking five blocks in the cold. I COULD MURDER SOMETHING RIGHT NOW.

Pfffoooo.

My apologies for this spree of negativity. I promise to do better next time.

59980c45ac86846eb5bc430437f2ccca

Would you describe yourself as someone who handles disappointment well?

Until recently, I think I would have. I’m pretty resilient and adaptable, with enough grit to plow my way through just about anything. Sure, I needed to work on letting things roll off my back a bit more, but in general, I thought I’d outgrown letting other people how I should feel about myself.

But lately, I haven’t been so sure.

A few things have happened that have been, for lack of a better word, disappointing. Nothing terribly tragic or disastrous has happened. A few things in my life have just unfurled in unexpected and undesirable ways.

And, you guys? It’s messing with my head.

I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth in the last five years overcoming most of my insecurities, and for the first time in a while, I’ve felt them start to creep back. And I don’t like the reminder of how I used to feel and think.

In my first draft of this post, this is the point where I actually listed a few of them out. But the shame I felt at even seeing the words was a bit too much for me to share with you guys. Suffice to say, I think they’re things everyone feels sometimes. Suffice to say, I feel a lot like that unfortunate dude in the photo above.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doubting yourself from time to time. I think it’s normal. The problem is when it starts to become a weight to carry. The problem is when it starts affecting your will to try again.

Whenever these feelings start creeping in, I always reread my Happiness Project post. I remember even when I was writing that thinking, “There is going to come a time when this is not going to feel so easy. There will be a day when I am so down, I will feel stupid for even writing these words. When I’ll scorn my own hubris at thinking I can control my happiness.”

But I still wrote them. And I still published the post. Because even when those two sides of my are at war, I want it on record that the most rational part of me sides with the optimist.

And I’m trying to keep perspective. I am so incredibly fortunate to have a great support system around me who love me and believe in me even when I stop believing in myself. Plus, like I said, what I’m dealing with are disappointments, not tragedies. If I was talking to me, this is the point when I would gently take my own hands and say, “I am both sad and happy for you that this is the greatest struggle you’re going through right now.” Because I know and love so many people going through so much worse.

So, I get it. I get it. I’m just wondering…how do you deal with disappointments?

{image source}

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m not a camping person.

But because my previous attempts at roughin’ it had been resounding successes (read ‘em here, here, and at the link above), I’m usually up for a few days in the woods when the opportunity arises.

I like the food, remember? I like hiking and lakes and campfires.

So at this point, I thought I could safely say that while I may not be the ultimate camper, I do like camping.

I thought wrong.

As I actually pointed out in the post at that first link, I had only ever camped in cabins before. Bare-bones-wooden-bunk-communal-restroom-type cabins, but cabins nonetheless. I had never expressed nor felt the desire to camp in a tent. And if I had just followed my (prissy little) gut, I might never have had a bad camping experience.

I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

Last weekend, we joined a few of our friends in Vermont for a little camping adventure. I knew going in that it was tent camping. I knew it. But I had convinced myself that it would be fine. FINE. I mean, how much time do you spend in your tent anyway, right? I would still have all the parts of camping I genuinely like. And the company would be great. WHERE COULD THIS WATER-TIGHT PLAN GO WRONG?

Actually, “water-tight” is particularly apropos. Because it rained. The entire time.

And what did we discover upon arriving at the campsite and opening our tent? That we were missing the top part that keeps the rain out. Le sigh.

Fortunately, Joey was able to fashion a frankentent out of a few extra tarps:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.10.29 PM

Unfortunately, the door zipper was also broken, meaning water could leak in from all sides. Fun!

After one night of torrential rain and damp EVERYTHING, I opted to sleep in the car. I have no regrets about that.

Other than the rain, though, it really was a nice trip.

We toured the Magic Hat Brewery:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.11.09 PM

Visited the Ben & Jerry’s factory:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.09.37 PM

Shopped at a local farmer’s market that made me miss the Midwest like whoa:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.09.53 PM

And, you know, spent some time communing with nature:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.11.31 PM

Plus, we swam and rowed at the lake, ate way too much of everything, and enjoyed the company of our friends. All in all, can’t complain.

Though I think we can rule out tents for the rest of my life.

 

1. Joey admitted that the creature he had killed in our bedroom was roughly the size of a chipmunk. We should all just start evacuating now.

2. Apparently this fact lessens the chance that it was an actual cockroach and increased the likelihood that it was what people around here call a “waterbug.”

I’M SORRY. A waterbug is one of those spidery things that dances across ponds and lakes and looks like the insect version of a ballerina. IT CANNOT BE MISTAKEN FOR A COCKROACH.

Apparently New York waterbugs look exactly like cockroaches except giant. I had to hear no fewer than three people tell me last night, “Oh, that doesn’t sound like a cockroach. It had to have been a waterbug.” Then they would look at me like they had just delivered reassuring news.

My response:

tumblr_inline_mocibeOcNa1qz4rgp

Cuz, uh, guys? “Bug that looks just like a cockroach but is technically not a cockroach because it’s BIGGER” is not a consolation.

The only thing that might actually be a consolation? Apparently waterbugs are less of an infestation-type thing and more of a one-off occurrence. WE CAN ONLY HOPE.

On the bright side, when you tell people your cockroach horror stories in New York, invariably someone tops you. Which means I have heard some of the more horrendous, nightmare-inducing cockroach stories of my life in the last 12 hours. I haven’t even begun to live the cockroach nightmare. (One of my friends was actually pinned down and had an entire cockroach nest swarm his body. At that point, I’m pretty sure I just black out and hope I never come to.)

So anyway. I haven’t burned down my apartment (yet). But if this happens again…I just don’t know, you guys.

***EDIT: OMG I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Joey also admitted that the reason why he woke up and saw the cockroach/waterbug/stuff-of-nightmares in the first place is because he HEARD SOMETHING CHEWING THE PLASTIC THAT OUR RUG IS WRAPPED IN.

I need you to take a second and think about that. He woke up from SLEEP because he could HEAR this INSECT CHEWING. CHEWING. LIKE YOU CAN HEAR A SMALL CHILD CHEWING. CHEWINGCHEWINGCHEWING. I literally cannot get over it. CANNOT WILL NOT.