Interview and Fate's Sense of Humor

I apologize for not posting this update sooner. The 3 days I prior to my interview I spent all of my free time preparing which resulted in being a few days behind in my business and personal projects. Family comes first. I will post an update as soon as I hear any additional results from the interview. Below is my personal journal of the events I experienced during my interview. I have kept the location and names private out of respect for my potential employer and also my personal privacy and safety. Thank you.

As many of my friends and family know I had an interview in Bowling Green, Kentucky, June 10th at 10am. Late Monday night on June 6th, I saw an ad in Bowling Green Daily News' Classifieds for Sales/Graphic Design Coordinator. Those that know me well, know I spend most of my free time editing photos and creating graphics in Photoshop and PowerPoint. I love what I do, especially for the clients of Soul Gaze Photography, but I miss a regular paycheck. Having your own business, even when successful or choosing to be part-time, the income can vary according to economic changes. I emailed the contact listed in the ad requesting information whether or not the position was still available and what their requirements were. I also attached my resume, just in case.

The next morning he replied that it was received, but they'd already started interviewing applicants. He asked me to call him so he could schedule an appointment. I honestly wasn't expecting to receive such a prompt reply. We discussed it, and I was scheduled for 10am. I'd also asked about the hours and additional information not listed within the ad. The job is M-F 8am-5pm. The pay was better than I'd expected at Mid-$20's! I was very enthusiastic to try my best, so I made sure I cleared Friday morning and replied I'd be there.

What couldn't be communicated via email was how incredibly nervous I was. Since I wasn't expecting such a prompt response and interview request, this only left me three days to prepare. For some people that's plenty, but for me it's not enough. If you've noticed, I tend to focus on details and I wanted to be 100% ready to answer any question he had. The ad had said:

Sales/Graphic Design Coordinator 

(Company name removed) is searching for an experienced Sales/ Graphic Coordinator.
Must have excellent organization skills, interact and communicate with highly skilled sales professionals. Highly proficient with Photo Shop, PowerPoint, Excel and Microsoft and other design software. Must be able to demonstrate your talents. This is a full time position. (Company name removed) offers a comprehensive benefit package which includes a wide range of health benefits, 401k, life insurance and much, much more
Send cover letter and resume to: 
(Contact name, company address and contact email removed).
is an E.O.E employer.

Thankfully, I have experience in all of those. Many, many years of long nights and constant research and practice to enhance my knowledge. I'd originally learnt the Microsoft programs in high school and later purchased them for my computer. Currently, I'm running the newest versions with Windows Vista 64. I'd excelled in the programs in high school and have continued to use them for my business. As for Photoshop, I'd gotten it several years ago and quickly learnt how reliant I am on it's incredible capabilities. I honestly couldn't see me living without it! Sounds crazy to be in love with software. Guess this makes me a geek? I'd love to one day upgrade to the newest version, but I've not got $700 sitting around for that purpose just yet. I've learnt to appreciate what I have and create the best I can with it. Currently, I have been blessed to receive multiple requests for editing tutorials or classes or compliments regarding my skills, so I can't complain!

Every night I put my kids to bed and stay up late editing photos, researching new Photoshop techniques and learning everything I can to improve my skills and work. This same dedication is why three days was NOT the ideal amount of time to prepare. I took the time to simulate ads in PowerPoint and enter data in Excel. I wanted to ensure I was ready, regardless of what 'demonstration' was required. All this 'studying' had made me stressed and it was getting hard to sleep and focus due to lack of a break. The pay and not letting down my friends and family was also putting pressure on me. In order for me to afford the equipment I've been needing for Soul Gaze, I need money. Our family could really benefit too. After purchasing our first house last year, things have been tight. We understood the difficulties we'd face after transitioning from renting to having a mortgage, but it would be nice to be able to do more for our kids and with each other.

I'd spent those three days, with very little sleep and gathered everything I could for a suitable portfolio including both printed work and digital examples via my laptop. I woke up around 8am and quickly got dressed up for the interview. Thankfully I've never been one of those girls to take hours preparing myself, but unfortunately, I'd not slept well. I had about 5 hours of sleep and was still nervous, so I was starting to doubt myself. I was also about to be driving in Bowling Green which is a wet town boasting more traffic than Glasgow. What many people don't know is that this would be my second time in 26 years to drive in Bowling Green. It's not that I can't drive. I just have never really had a reason to go to Bowling Green. I've driven in Elizabethtown many times and love it there. After last Friday's wreck, I had no interest in driving around anyone else for awhile, but I couldn't let fear cause me to miss this opportunity. I kept reminding myself that if I could survive blitz (Friday after Thanksgiving sales) then I could just as easily drive today. Whether or not I get the job, I had to try. I owed it to my family, friends and to myself. I really appreciated the wishes of 'good luck' I'd received from people and focused on their inspiring words and votes of confidence in my skills.

The drive went well. My GPS had estimated about an hour to arrive and it was correct. I'd meant to arrive about 15 minutes early to study, but safely arriving was top priority. Upon entering, I informed the receptionist I had a 10am appointment with (private name). She asked me to fill out a paper application so they'd have it on file. I complied. I had about 5 mins to look over my notes when I was told he was ready to see me upstairs. I stood up, picked up my laptop bag, purse and tried to remind myself to breath. I'd not eaten anything before I left the house due to my nerves. I tried to convince myself that my nausea and dizziness was due to the lack of food, but we all know that was hopeful thinking. Atleast I was trying to be positive!

I arrived upstairs at the indicated location. He was sitting at his desk working. I politely knocked on his open door and asked if he was (private name). He said, "yes" and invited me inside to sit and thus began the interview. Overall it went well. He asked me what I do and have done in the past. I told him about Soul Gaze Photography, The Amplifier and Southern Kentucky Photographer's Club. I told him about the design work I do for both and he allowed me to plug up my laptop so I could share my portfolio. I'd also brought some of my photography products that I'd made. He seemed to really enjoy my photography book. I answered a few more questions and he asked about my family, what I like to do for fun and about my pets. I informed him and asked him the same. I'm hoping the personal questions are a good sign, but they could be a common formality. I was very nervous, despite my attempts to override it. Hopefully, he understood. Times when I was showing my work or explaining software and technical subjects I was effortlessly knowledgeable and concise.

He was limited on time, so I was unable to show him my full portfolio. He then began to explain and show me what he expected me to do on the job. They basically pitch colorful presentations to companies with previously researched information about their target audience and how the company could benefit from advertising through them. My job, if hired, would be to take this information and compile it into a PowerPoint presentation that can be printed as a graphics heavy PDF document. He showed me multiple examples. Some were cute and humorous, others were more professional and serious. They all were covered edge to edge in clip-art and colorful backgrounds or text designs. I was really excited when I saw the presentations. This is something I can do well and actually enjoy doing. I had no way to know what was coming next...

I was lead to a small grey cubicle. Inside was an older computer with a desk, chair and office supplies. A woman was already there and had opened up a file pre-prepared as a base for me to start with. They both informed me they'd be leaving soon. I was provided one of the research pitches and told to create a PowerPoint PDF presentation, print it out and leave it on the desk. I was free to go when finished. Eager to get started, I asked a couple questions and got to work.

After they left, I realized that fate had a sense of humor. Not just small joke, but a carnival of madness. The computer was running Window's XP, Photoshop version 7 and ironically an older PowerPoint like what I learnt on in school. He'd said they were in the process of updating their software. My first thought was, "You gotta be kidding me!" I quickly became nervous once I noticed the differences in what I'd be working with verses what I was used to. I'd spent three days preparing on my software concerned I'd be working with a Mac or a newer version, and instead I was about to be using an older version with less of the abilities and effects I am used to!

I told myself that I know what I am doing and that the program is still the same, just older. You can do this. Show them what you got and make something that will stand out. I immediately got to work finding the same program buttons and features I was used to. Many were missing in these versions and as a result, the design was taking alot longer to create. Just when I thought fate was finished, the computer locked up. Yes I'm serious. It started where I'd make a change and it would lag. Sometimes five minutes would go by before the changes would take effect. When the computer locked up, I couldn't use Photoshop or PowerPoint. I finally had to use CTRL+ALT+DELETE and see what was using up so much memory. I closed out Photoshop since I had saved what I was working on. That left PowerPoint. It was using over 500,000 memory! I finally had to end the process since it wouldn't close normal. Honestly, I needed to restart the computer, but couldn't risk it requiring a password with noone there. I manually restarted PowerPoint and this time it was fluctuating between 12,000 and 120,000. Not perfect, but much better. Once, he returned and asked me why I was still there and made a joke he was going to have to add me to payroll pretty soon. I told him I was hoping so, but that I was still there due to the computer locking up. I told him how the software was older than what I was using which resulted in a small learning curve. He seemed ok about it and I got back to work. I had started working on the presentation at around 11:30. I finished my design within 45 mins of fixing the programs. I was finished at 2pm. I printed out the presentation in both black and white and color and left it where he requested. I took a moment to place a post it note that said "Thank you" with a smiley and my name to ensure he knew it was mine.

My design took in consideration the company it was for. I researched their website for design ideas and to learn more about them. I even used their color scheme. I hope my attention to detail is noticed and my goal was to show that company how the company I would be working for took the time to get to know them. I also met another one of the Managers I'd have. He was really nice too and talked to me a couple times. He gave me a few pointers and advised me to send a follow up email in thanks for the opportunity which I told him I'd already planned to do. I thanked him for his time and left. The receptionist and I also talked for a few minutes before I left.

Over the weekend, the issue with the computer was still haunting me. I knew that presentation wasn't my best work and I felt cheated by fate out of my chance at the opportunity. On Monday, I sent the follow up email as I'd planned thanking him for the opportunity. I also took a chance and recreated the same presentation in PowerPoint on my computer to show him what I really could do. I'd been told before the interview that he'd planned to make a decision by the next week due to having a few additional interviews. I've yet to hear from him. I was hoping my initiative and dedication to send a proper presentation would impress him, but am concerned that it was overbearing. I am doing my best to remain positive and will update this post at the top if I receive a reply whether or not I get the honor of working for the company. Thank you everyone for supporting me and believing in me. I apologize for letting you down if I don't get this opportunity, but I know everything happens for a reason. One door closes so another can open. I still have Soul Gaze Photography and my clients will always be a great opportunity! Thank you to you all.
Amber FlowersComment