Sunday, May 27, 2012


I was not going to mention it, but it tears me up not to write about my life, so I'm just going to admit what I have tried to do.

I got a job interview.

It was in Washington state, at one of the state universities.  They are looking for someone to run their developmental education programs and writing center.  It paid ok and is in a good part of the state.  Small town next to Seattle.  Perfect for me and wired enough to make Grey happy.  And they called me.

Now, there are many factors to consider when we have been looking at jobs outside of Oklahoma.  The primary one is location.  Neither Grey nor I wants to be in backwater nowhere, living in a swamp or a desert wasteland.  And Grey agreed that if I could get a job, he would follow me wherever it went.  But with that comes responsibility to not just pick a place in the middle of racist or homophobic nowhere.  We both want some sort of cosmopolitan center nearby.  Neither of us wanted to live in California (though it's a great place to visit), Las Vegas, Arizona or Mississippi.  We would move overseas though.  Anyway, that was the criteria.  So I applied and they called me the next week.

I got an email with my itinerary.  I expected an all-day interview and I was right.  Nobody spends that kind of money and time for a two-hour meet-and-greet.  Included in the email were instructions to prepare a 15 minute public forum presentation.

So I did what any self-respecting Ph.D. would do: I emailed my professors to ask a million questions and express my anxiety. Baines wrote back advising me to come see him and that he would help me through the process.  We talked about what to wear, what to say, what not to say, and rhetoric.  Apparently, I scare people.  *sigh*.  Here was Baines' last piece of advice:

Modest and very smart (though understated), you would be easy to get along with.  Everybody loves Mindie.


I also talked to Cathy and picked out outfits with Grey.  He suggested one that I had not thought of and I think it was the right decision.

And then I was off, on a plane.  And here are some things I know about faculty interviews:

  • The interview begins when you are picked up at the airport.  
    • Grey and I picked out a "getting off the plane" outfit as well.  
    • The search chair picked me up himself. We had two hours to talk and say hello on the ride to the university. I used that time to be informal and talk about my professional passions- teaching and education theory.   
  • Eat lightly!
    • I was nervous the whole two days.  It was tempting to not eat much at all, but I found soups and salads to be comforting and also not too filling so I wasn't slowed down. 
    • No drinking~ I was offered a martini with lunch.  I used that as an opportunity to say that I don't drink liquor and that more than a glass of wine makes me sleepy.  
  • Be affable
    • The schedule changed throughout the visit.  Every single time, I said "hey, no big deal. I'm cool with that".  The search chair remarked at what a nice attribute that was.  
    • This also bought me the opportunity to meet some unanticipated people and learn from them.  
    • Also, people mentioned the wind several times and asked if it would bother me.  I answered honestly: that the wind comes sweeping down the plain and I was used to it.  
  • It doesn't hurt to over-prepare
    • I read a dozen articles on developmental education theory and issues of reform
    • I also talked to people and bounced ideas off of them as far as what I would say. 
    • The presentation was in powerpoint, and I had two readers scrutinize it.  Then I sucked it into a prezi just to be sure.
  • Things will go wrong~improvisation is good
    • My tablet wouldn't connect to the overhead they had.  They had a vga connection and my connector was for a pokey thingy.  So I used their laptop and the prezi.  Problem solved! 
    • I also didn't get much of a campus tour, so after the meeting with the search committee, I was walking with one of the members across campus.  She kept talking about a Japanese garden so I asked her to show me.  It was beautiful and charming. 
  • It's a personality contest.  Seriously.  
    • This maybe was the hardest part for me.  I work damn hard and don't want to rely on my looks and a winning smile.  But people do want pleasant co-workers and I don't blame them.  So I talked about what kind of a co-worker I would be.  
      • Also, just be a good listener.  Lots of times people want to tell you stuff and it pays to only answer direct questions sometimes. 
  • You are going to repeat yourself a lot
    • I told the same story three times. 
  • The interview doesn't end until you are at the hotel or airport.  
    • So yeah, I got there at 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon and got back to my hotel in Seattle on Wednesday at 6 p.m.  
I was exhausted by the time I got home on Thursday afternoon.  There is a two hour time difference, I hadn't eaten properly and got up at 3:30 in the morning to catch my flight home.  I slept for 12 hours and ate a decent and healthy meal.  

This is me halfway through.  I'm tired but very focused
I controlled everything I could.  Really, I did.  Sent a follow up email and spoke well.  The search chair and I got along very well, which is good as he would be my boss.  

Now, as with anything else I cannot control, my only job is to do my part and to let everything else go.  I might get the job. I might not. I will probably find out the day before my wedding.  Either way, we are going to have a great time.  

Speaking of the wedding, there are so many other things I cannot control that I have almost forgot to stress out over it.  The interview, whether or not my relatives will behave, where I will be in three months, and what the weather will be like in a few weeks.  Oh, let's not forget the ambush-style bridal shower that my friend Kimberly Stormer set up and which others completely surprised me with.  Cake, food, gifts and games.  I have to admit I had a great time. 

Ah well. Right now the sun is up and it's getting hot.  I'm going to go outside and snip a few things and plant a few things in the yard. 


  1. I hope you get it! I will miss you, but at least there is internet! My #1 fail is that I cannot play the game. I can't see it to play.

  2. Great advice for preparing for an interview. I have a good friend who lives in Seattle, if you have any need for information about the city.