Flipping appropriateness the bird

I’m upfront. I’m generally pretty upfront about being upfront, too, so if you don’t like that about me you at least get to find it out fairly early on, can pour your drink into the nearest pot plant, and slink off for a refill. It’s not because I court controversial conversations, either. In fact, the opposite is true, and I’m a conflict avoider. If somebody starts talking  politics, my drink is suddenly the one that is quickly in need of a refill. It’s simply that I suck at small talk. The weather is so boring I’d rather just skip it and engage you in proper conversation about STUFF like the relative merits of various taco fillings, and vodka vs a gin martini, as quickly as possible. (The answer is gin. Duh.)

This has good points and bad points. It scares some people, but in the right situation, I can make people laugh by unexpectedly breaking the ice. But how does this play out for me in a work or professional environment? I feel like I’m bound and gagged almost as soon as I pour myself into a suit, and become terrified of the Kimisms leaking out of me like word burps. In high school I was called ‘weird’. Hopefully this has matured into ‘quirky’… but nowadays when I want to comment on the stupidity of people saying ‘disorientated’ instead of ‘disoriented’, or ask how many times it’s acceptable to eat sushi rolls for lunch in a given week before you start to resemble a fish, I need to stop myself. Quickly. The workplace is not the right place. Neither can I break out the jazz hands to emphasise a very exciting point I need to make. Or spin around on my desk chair 50 times if I get really bored.

After only just learning how to behave like an adult, it seems I had children and had to forget how to be one. Once you have kids, your JOB is playing. Playing is not fun. It’s only fun if you tap back in to your inappropriate, sing all the songs, dance like a dufus, immature let-it-all-out self. And then you go back to getting a job, and the let-it-all-out-self has to put it all back in.

Sorry Gnome - nobody will employ you with that attitude.

Sorry Gnome – nobody will employ you with that attitude.

I’m learning though. I’ve had a few interviews now, and I’m no longer just the scared person trying to be all they want me to be. I was so worried about how much of myself to let out, and whether it was too much or too little, I bombed at one. That’s ok. It was pretty much a comedy of errors as soon as I sat down on the squeaky chair and said a spoonerism involving ‘commas’ that also involved the word ‘hunting’. Got it? Picture three people, frozen in silent terror, wondering how I’d recover from that one. I’d have crawled under the desk, but it would have made the chair squeak some more.

Good things are happening now. I realise, also, it’s a two-way street, and that you also need to interview the potential employer. Appropriateness is important, in that you need to look polished and present the best version of yourself, but ultimately, still BE yourself. A job is not going to work if it’s going to be a place where I need to be a bound and gagged version of myself, day after day, most of the year. I’ll explode. So, I’m being myself at interview, and seeing if I feel comfortable in their environment also, since that’s going to really matter to me.

These questions about things like sushi frequency are IMPORTANT. I need an empathic (or empathetic? Hmm now THERE’S a question for the water cooler of nerds) listener who will let me know at exactly which point I will start to form gills and waggle my bum like a tuna. And look out after hours. Appropriate? That’s not my name.

Do you agree that interviewing is a two-way street? Or do you just need to be all they want in the current economic climate – and get the job at all costs? Can you let too much of yourself out at interview? 

24 thoughts on “Flipping appropriateness the bird

  1. I knew I liked you for a good reason. I too am very upfront, a tad inappropriate and get soooo bored with small talk. Bring on the juice stuff I say. Lets skip the getting to know you part and just get on to the good stuff. As for interviews? totally a two way street. you wouldnt want to start a working relationship by not being true to yourself. It would only be asking for trouble down the track. xx
    Sonia Life Love Hiccups recently posted…Letting Friendships Go.My Profile

    • Hell yes, straight to the juicy stuff (and the shocked faces). I was true to myself, and somebody was un-horrified enough to give me a job. Whaddya know? It’s full time. Agh. I’ve got two weeks to rearrange MY WHOLE LIFE. Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!! xx

  2. Honestly I haven’t had to interview for many jobs, but when I have I ALWAYS over share info, but then again I used to interview for newspapers so they environment is always pretty much the same, journos who drink (and used to smoke) too much, are cynical, blunt and love to drink!
    If you’re not snapped up soon someone down there needs to cup of “shut the hell up and hire Kimstar” xx

    • Thanks hun. Never fear – I’ve been ‘snapped up’. Whether they like to drink, however, remains to be seen…. fingers crossed! xx

  3. We are so very similar, it’s quite scary!! You have to like where you work and have good peeps to vent with. So important. Xx

    • And it worked, AND you got my dream job! And, I followed your advice, and I just landed a pretty damn decent job too. :) Being full time, I suspect I’ll be gagging for that gin martini by the end of the first week!

  4. Word burps. Love. (And empathetic, empathic, tomato, tomato – let’s call the whole thing off!)

    I can trump your jazz hands. I recall – vividly – a time I was in a very heated meeting with the legal team about something we wanted to do. They were trying to trip me up on something or other, and one of them said, “Can you honestly put your hand on your heart and swear…”

    Can you already guess what I did? I put my hand on my heart and started singing, “Put your hand on your heart and tell me, it’s all over…”

    Yep. It was all over.
    Emily recently posted…You don’t need expensive toys to entertain a toddlerMy Profile

  5. I worked at an Anglican school for five and a half years (as a TA in Learning Support). I found it a little vexing at times :D What saved me was that many of the staff had a similar problem and would vent in the staff room or when we were sure there were no children around.

    Only doing relief work means I am no there for long enough for them to get to know me and I am generally fairly quiet (believe it or not) in a new employment situation. The older I get the less fucks I give and the less I am even able, assuming I was willing, to change for others.

    Appropriate is one of those words that is, essentially, meaningless in a wide context. Like offence or manners. Each situation requires clarification and a re-think. Eg, it is perfectly appropriate to say “Awright, you cunts?” in the neighbourhood I grew up in. It just means hello, and probably denotes a degree of familiarity with and even liking of the people being addressed.

    Of course, when someone is paying my wages I make an effort to follow their rules, however ludicrous I find them. But it is getting harder to pretend to care.

    As for the spoonerism, I would probably have laughed, and if they didn’t laugh – well fuck em if they can’t take a joke :)
    Oculus Mundi recently posted…the great australian barbie.My Profile

    • I know – WHY DID THEY NOT LAUGH? It was pretty bloody funny. Ah well. It was also pretty bloody sweary, and inappropriate, for an interview. Onwards and upwards, like some kind of astronaut dude, or something!

  6. I completely agree – I have made a vow to myself never to work in a place where I’m miserable/bored/held back again. So you definitely have to find out all you can at an interview. I was once interviewed by a lovely lady, who asked me questions and then answered t0hem herself (think, “what kind of trainer are you? I think trainers should be x, y and z.’ – of course I found out a great deal more about her than she did about me by the end.
    Mamagoingsolo recently posted…The Garden TransformationMy Profile

    • HA the perfect interviewer! Smile, nod, then say ‘yes – I’m hired!’ Although respect could have been something of a problem …

  7. I freeze like a deer in headlights during interviews and can think of NOTHING to say (which is pretty much me all the time). Meanwhile you can hear crickets chirping. In Brazil. Then I burst into tears and flee. Needless to say, haven’t been to any interviews in a rather long time.

    You are a very brave woman and I hope you get a job you’ll love with fun, quirky people. xo
    Ness recently posted…The Weird And Wonderful Things I Do When (I Think) Nobody Is LookingMy Profile

    • Thanks my love. I can’t imagine you having nothing to say. When I eventually meet you I’ll interview you about cake and Gilbert Blythe. You’ll be just fine. xx

  8. I bet I’ve bombed more interviews in my time than you have! And I was called weird at school. “Quirky” was beyond my classmate’s vocabulary.
    If it is of any comfort to you – I’d employ you in an instant. Its just a shame that I’m not a high powered business owner.

  9. I’m still stuck on “empathic” or “empathetic”… what’s the answer, miss? I do think that interviewing is a two-way street, but maybe with the lane being a little wider from their side. They have an unfair advantage, don’t they?! Any luck so far, you fabulous thing? xx

    • They’re both ‘technically’ correct (unless you want to get back into the etymology, then there’ll be arguments.. but I’m not that much of a pedant. Personally I prefer empathic. Cleaner, more elegant. They SO do have the advantage. Three versus one is kinda cheating, I think!?
      But I won! Yes – I start 20 August – full time. xx

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