Anxiety and Other Awkwardness

When Anxiety Gets Interviewed

They said to take some time off to ‘find myself’. I said “To hell with finding myself! I’m going to march my tushy into the big bad world and work like a battery operated robot for half as much as I deserve!”

Great idea, right?

Here’s a question for you, what happens when you take person who has anti-anxiety meds on her all the time and send her to a job interview?

Let me illustrate that for you. I won’t bore you with the details, let’s just cut to the awkward parts.

Interviewer: What’s your name?

Int 1

Me: Bar….Barbarian. Jaggles. Yes. That is my name.

Interviewer: Er, ok. So tell me about yourself.

Int 2.1

Me:  I, uh, went to business school. Sometimes I paint………….tofu.

Interviewer: So tell me about [random project] you worked on in college?

Int 3.1

Me: (rambles in business-y terms) Business strategy formulation……..macro-economic something or the other……BPR!

Much later…             

Me: So if I do get selected, what would my job entail?

Interviewer: You’d be speaking to a lot of people on the phone. And we’d need you to update our Facebook and Twitter pages with events for marketing purposes. Just let the people know about us. Do you think you could do that?

Int 4

Me: Yeah! I could do that. That sounds like fun. So fun.

To top everything off, I had the biggest, most awkward smile on through the whole thing.

Int 5That’s not scary at all.

I nearly cracked up when he asked me at the end if I was nervous. Me? Nervous? Never.

But the interview must have gone well outside of my head since I got a call back. Look at me, almost-sort-of employed! Now to learn to be un-afraid of Facebook and social interaction in general. Because I am fearless.



This will be painful.


Your turn! Tell me about your worst interview.

92 thoughts on “When Anxiety Gets Interviewed

  1. Loved this. It’s hard to pick my worst interview, they were all pretty much exactly this. My first one out of college (also business school when I’d rather paint tofu with words) was for a financial examiner position that was almost 100% travel. I didn’t want to travel at all, but said I thought it sounded awesome. I felt like a kid playing dress up in my mom’s clothes. They asked me to do a simple calculation that I learned in my first finance class, and I couldn’t remember how. I just sat there with the calculator, hands shaking and after a few painful minutes mumbled the wrong answer and said, I can’t remember how to do this right now. Sorry.
    I did not get the job.
    Great post though, and I’m glad you got called back! Interviewing is the worst…

    • What is it about business school that makes you want to think about tofu, or anything that isn’t business related?
      I completely understand, you just blank out. One minute it’s there, then it’s gone!
      Good thing you didn’t really want that job anyway, right? Interviewing IS the worst.

  2. Sorry these were so hard. You should show them your blog, that will win them over right away! Enjoy the process. I am sure that you unique talents shine through. I hope you get what you want. 🙂

    • Hehe, maybe they’ll get me to draw cartoons for them. See now that sounds like a fun job.
      Thanks, Jon. I think I just need some time with it. I am definitely enjoying writing about the process though. 🙂

  3. OMG, my interview strategies came just in time, huh? I have been on soooo many interviews and they all suck. I remember coming out of them with this smile – much like the one you demonstrate – stuck on my face. I was actually having face pain from the fake smiling I did whilst my heart beat like a freight train trying to escape through my chest.

  4. Thankfully, that you have no arms is distracting enough that your creepy smile isn’t even noticeable! lol. Good stuff. I once interviewed for a position in a science related field several years after I’d graduated college and had long since forgotten everything I ever learned en route to my biology degree. Thankfully, it was a phone interview and when the guy started asking science related questions that I clearly didn’t know the answer to, I pretended the dog did something with the phone (we used land lines back then) and hung up on the guy. Bless his heart, he called back a couple of times but I’d not answer the phone.

  5. My first interview for a job was at age 17. I did a contemporary joke (like a dumb kid would do) with the old interviewer who didn’t get it but hired me anyway. The other odd one was for a training position about 20 years ago. I did 2 2-hour intensive exhausting interviews. The then called me back to demonstrated a 20 minute training segment for the executives. I was told that I did the best training but they hired someone with an MBA instead. Sadly (and with some glee on my part) she only lasted 2 years. By then I was very happy in another job.

  6. oh lord it only gets worse! my first corporate interview out of art school went something like that – i wore a suit instead of a flower crown, and the entire thing felt like a sham. my goals for the future? umm… figuring out how to be successful enough not to work here? write a book, perhaps? speaking of writing a book: how many breaks do we get? will i have Word on my computer?

  7. I think all my interviews are bad, but I’ve somehow remained employed for the last 20 years. I guess I’m doing something right. Either that, or the other candidates are always dumber than I am.

  8. Congrats! I’ve had several bad interviews, and to be completely honest, the onus is one me for being a bad interviewee for a lot of them. I underestimated the value of asking good questions…

  9. Sounds like you held yourself together well if you got a call back. Congrats! I don’t recall any bad interviews, but I certainly recall nerves along with sore facial cheeks from smiling so much all day…

  10. Congrats! It’s funny that the interview that you think went horribly is the job where you end up working. At least, that has happened to me. I dread the panel interview the most. It seems they’re all there to rip you apart. The best interview happens when you really want the job. At least there can be honesty. The worst is when you could care less about the job but you desperately need it. You’ll be fine with social media. Look at your awesomely successful blog!! Best of luck. You can do anything!

  11. I’ve had too many interviews to remember. Oh god I’m getting old. My worst one? The guy wanted to know if I did overnighters. Umm huh???? Seems he was serious, it was suppose to be for ‘adminstrative assistant’, oh yeah, he wanted his assistant to do sleep overs. Needless to say I didn’t get the job, because I said no I didn’t do sleepovers.

  12. It was a two part process – first part I had to take a test to determine if I had the prerequisite knowledge to even get to the interview, I did…sort of… I had a good enough understanding to ace the test. I’ve always been good at multiple choice tests…
    But, the interview was a panel of six people asking me questions I didn’t know the answers to. They were confused because I had a) applied and b) done well on the test. I was confused because a) I just wanted a job and b) really knew nothing about anything related to the job. I could have learned, I have no doubt of that – some on the job training and I’d have been their number 1 guy… but, that wasn’t what they were looking for. And that became more and more obvious based on their expressions…curiosity, confusion, displeasure, boredom…
    Whoops. Well, it seemed like a good idea when I applied.

  13. EVERY SINGLE INTERVIEW. I turn up looking like a school teacher, fail on an epic scale with the words and decide to run away and join a commune with hippy people who won’t judge me on the fact that I don’t like phone calls. They scare me.

  14. I pretty much relate to about 90% of this 🙂 – So what is it about us artsy-fartsy hippie types thinking business school is a good idea?? Oh right all the people who told us we needed to be realistic, earn a living, and get our head out of the clouds, etc, etc… 😉 and no I am not overly fond of tofu… just saying.

  15. My probably worst interview was when I got a call to go to an interview way too early in the morning, and I wrote down the address, HR rep name, date and time of the interview – but not the name of the company. I showed up to the interview without the slightest idea with what company I was supposed to be interviewing and was foggy on which position. I made it to the 2nd interview somehow, but I didn’t get the job.

  16. Argh chuckled throughout – I do so love your characters and sometimes you paint…tofu
    omg what a crack up you are! Serious note – buy some flower essences –
    hell the link looked big – so don’t know if it will work. Anywho – you spray them on your tongue – I have them when I’m conducting the services – they work for me..oh that and remembering tofu 😉

  17. hahahahahaha
    The smile killed me.
    My worst interview was the one that landed me the job I have now, I deliberately wanted to have a careless-don’t-give-a-damn attitude, but I think I went too far. My boss told me that he didn’t like my attitude at all, but at the end it was what got me the job.
    The smile, ohhh the smile…..

    • A job because he liked (or he didn’t like how much he liked) your attitude? That is fantastic. Me, I’m an awkward smile kinda person. This one’s for you, *giant awkward smile* 😀

  18. We’ve ALL been there at one time or another bearing our big awkward smiles….lol. My now brother-in-law look me to my first interview. While I was seated on the other side of a gigantic desk sweating at ridiculous levels, I turned around and out of the corner of my eye I spotted my brother-in-law. He had an umbrella with him that had a duck head on the handle. Well, he sat back in the chair and had the duck head peeking from behind the wall ….dancing! It made me relax, however I nearly exploded trying to hold in that laugh, but I did get the job!

    • Haha! Good job! Imagine the conversation if you hadn’t held it in as well as you did. “No, I’m not crazy. I’m not! There was a dancing duck in the back. Really! Why don’t you believe me?”

  19. Patchouli, tofu? What?! I wear tofu and eat patchouli everyday! — oh no — I meant — the other way around! I think you could totally work for “the man,” and develop a creative life at the same time. My worst interview experience is more like a really peculiar interview experience. What happened broaches somewhat of a sensitive area — I’ll just have to suggest that people “buy the book.” Good luck Barbarian! I can tell you about this one interview where the woman says, “We just need somebody breathing to fill the position.” I got the job!

  20. Oh my gosh. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your posts. Especially this one because you just brought to light how I am in interviews, and it makes me feel oddly stronger to know I’m not alone in my silly interview (or interacting with people while sober) anxiety. Yay you for your awesome sense of humor and brilliant writing!

  21. Oh man, interviews are so painful and unfairly balanced! Personally I’ve only ever officially done one interview, for Dominos Pizza when I was 14 and I got the job (YAY). But I’ve helped a few people prepare for interviews and boy is a nerve wracking experience!

    Hope things are working out at the job, and don’t worry you’ll find time for your hippy tofu painting 🙂

    *Nudie hippie hugs!*


    • First of all, how do you not want to eat everything when you work in a kitchen that smells so good? I always wondered.

      Hehe, hippie tofu painting 😀 Definitely making more time for that

      *nudie hippie tofu hugs*

  22. That pretty much is how I feel while having my exams…
    “Please tell us about WW1” – Ehrm yes, there was this war and Napoleon was there and then Norway was ruled by Denmark and yes, and noooooooooooo, that was all wrong…!

  23. Pingback: People I Meet at Work | Miss Four Eyes

  24. Let’s see, worst interview ever…so many to choose from. I do the blue collar thing, yet I’m an artistic intellectual type. I think the best one (ironically speaking) was for a roofing gig which ended with the foreman asking me “what, are you some kind of faggot?”. To which I replied “no, are YOU?”.

    I know the white collar world can be stuck-up and snooty, but the blue collar world is one where compassion is equated to wimpiness, to be artistic is to be effeminate and fey, and intellect is to be an “egghead”. Nonetheless, I can drag knuckles, chug suds, and shoot pool with the best of ’em when I have to. Boy, is my life f’d up or what?

    Oh, and when I speak like an intelligent educated man, office personnel look at me as if they just saw a dog walking on its hind legs. That’s a riot!

  25. Pingback: Interviews | SudoOne

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