Sometimes You Have to Trust Your Gut
Ok, first the good news – I recently landed my first real after-college job with a film studio, working in Public Relations and Social Media. But I am not going to lie; it took a lot of hard work, dedication, patience, and tears to finally find an occupation. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be that hard for a recent college graduate to find a position. But, as with many other lessons I have learned throughout my life, I was wrong with this as well.
I mean, I am not coming from an unknown university, my GPA isn’t too bad either, and I gathered quite decent experiences in the professional field during my studies. Still didn’t help me to make the proper cut to potential future employers. I sent out countless applications-while I was very motivated in the beginning, in the end, all I wanted was only to have a job, didn’t matter in which industry or if it was paid or not.
Well, of course I have to somehow be able to pay my bills. But at that moment, I just wanted a position that would provide me with challenges and the opportunity to learn. Throughout this whole ordeal (yes, it really turned into an ordeal) I became invited to three interviews – Three. This is not a very big number when you count in the fact that I probably sent out more than 60 applications. Not that I was not appreciative of those three invites, but it gets very discouraging when you try to put effort in each and every one and then don’t receive anything in return.
My first interview with a physical therapy practice went well; at least that was my impression, until I had to disclose that I am holding a work permit and don’t have the Greencard yet. I knew instantly that that screwed my chances, and I wasn’t surprised when I received a rejection letter a couple weeks later.
My second interview was with an events marketing company. This one was different from every interview I underwent before. The interviewee didn’t really ask me questions or was much interested in my background experiences. She talked for five minutes, and then asked me if I’d have any questions. When I declined (which is usually very bad and should not be done in an interview as we all know) she told me that the top five out of all the applicants will receive a call back that same night.
Since I hadn’t asked any questions, I for sure thought I’d be out. Wrong. That same night, I received a call back and was invited to come in for a second interview the next day, where I would be shadowing one of the supervisors at an event. I know I should have been very happy about this, but for some reason, my gut told me otherwise. Something was off, and I was about to figure it out sooner than later.
The following day, I appeared at the office at 11 a.m. sharp just to receive the information of where the event was held. When I arrived, I first didn’t find it. I honestly expected it to be way bigger. After I finally met my supervisor, she explained me a little bit what the “event” was about. Basically, I was supposed to try to sell cleaning supplies to customers at a gas station while they were pumping gas. I instantly felt that something was off and that this position had not much to do with event planning.
Thankfully, that day I only had to shadow and not do it myself. After about 30 minutes, my supervisor gave me a sheet with questions I was supposed to answer at home and then send the responses to her in an email. That same night, the company then would make the decision what three people they would hire out of the top five. I honestly felt relieved when I didn’t receive the call that night. The position looked way too much like sales, something that would conflict with my work permit restrictions. Besides, I am also not good at sales.
That following day, I had two voice messages left on the phone from the company, telling me that I got the job. I called them back, telling them my concerns of not being a good fit, but they somehow convinced me to take the job. I kept telling myself I can do it, but still had a bad gut feeling. The day before my official start, I had a really bad feeling. I didn’t sleep well, and when my alarm rang, I felt beyond uncomfortable going in.
When I made it to the office that morning, I was bombarded with information. But to cut a long story short: I refused to sign the contracts they presented to me. The first clearly stated me as being hired as a sales person. I explained to them again that I am not legally allowed to work in sales. They tried to spin it around by telling me that I would sell something in any position I am going to work in: either myself, a product, or a service. I still wasn’t convinced. But once I read the second contract, it was clear to me that I would not be working with the company.
The second contract declared that employees will only be paid commission. No thank you! I personally think that pay based solemnly on commission is a total rip off and I would never engage in that. Eventually, my supervisor had enough and guided me out of the office. We shook hands for one last time. I cannot tell you how relieved I was once I stepped out of the office. Some people might call me stupid, that is fine. To me, it was what I had to do.
While I was beyond relieved to not have taken the job, the hunt had to continue. I sat back in front of the computer that same day and found a posting for a Social Media internship that sparked my eye. I instantly sent them my resume, and the next day I received an invitation for an interview for the following day. That interview actually went really well, and I instantly had a very comfortable vibe of the people and the company. When I received the notification that I was hired the next day, I was truly happy. And my gut felt the exact same way.
Anne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.