my interview

A friend told me she wanted to hear about my experience with a head-hunter.

So here goes.

I got an email from a reputable engineering firm (my son and his boss vouch for that, and they work at a regional engineering firm and clearinghouse for such matters).

I replied briefly because it was open-ended with not a lot of detail.

They found me on LinkedIn. I know some of you are laughing.

Truth be told, LinkedIn (the free version) has been reasonably good to me.  I’ve pulled in a few extra teaching jobs via the website. And it’s free.

I missed a call from someone at the firm when I was teaching one afternoon. Hey, I try to remember to turn my phone off too.

I called back and left a message.

The next day I got a call asking when I might be able to talk seriously.

Okay. I bit. I did an interview.

Here’s some back-story. My middle daughter, the brilliant Kaitlin, has been telling me for a few years to get into industry. By that she means everything from city planning to larger-scale environmental work to nonprofits.

All of those discussions emboldened me.

grading 5

Yep, industry.

Alas. I may be too old for a position in industry.

They liked my level of experience in matters environmental. I liked that they liked it.


Yes, there’s always a big but (did Pee Wee Herman say that?).

The big but here is that this big engineering firm wanted a single person to do the work of an entire team.

They wanted me to do things that I knew I could do and they also wanted me to do things that I have no business doing. Not to contract it out (which I could easily do, I’ve done it before), but do it.  That would have involved signing off on it.

One person; seven or eight jobs. Hell, maybe ten jobs, the way the interviewer talked.

I’ve seen this kind of work out in the field and it’s not pretty. In some cases, it can even be risky down the road.  Lawsuits. Worse.

I could have lied and maybe even ended up with the job. The interviewer was almost urging me to lie.

If I’d have been younger, I might have decided, “Okay, I can learn this stuff. I’m a pretty quick study out there and I do have experience. I can do this. And if I can’t, I’ll learn.” It wouldn’t have been a lie, not really. It would have been the hopefulness of youth. And if I were younger, I might have ended up fired. And seen it as a door closing and now where is the next door?

As it is, I know that they were hoping to cut corners and get ten for the price of one. It was a salary like I’d never seen. And never will. It wasn’t as high as the presidents and VPs of the colleges/universities nearby, but it was high. I could have moved to the beach.

One thing about having experience in an industry and experience in life in general is that you can take a longer view. (Also time is shorter but I suppose that’s for another post).

It involved building schools. Can you imagine cutting corners on building schools full of people (and children!) in earthquake country?  Can you imagine?

When I pushed for the idea of teamwork and safety residing in good teamwork,  the interview drew to a close.

That’s my most recent failure in the Great Job Hunt.


So it’s back to downsizing and downsizing and more downsizing. That’s the life of a single mom, head of household, adjunct professor.

About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
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4 Responses to my interview

  1. queennarigon says:

    I wouldn’t call that interview a failure on your part. It’s a failure on their part.If they’re smart, they’ll listen to you and revise the job. And then in a perfect world they’d call you back and say, “You were so right, and we respect that you refused to take on an impossible job. Here’s your job. Now help hire your team.” Too bad it’s not a perfect world. They’ll find somebody to lie.

    • I know you’re right. There’s no way at all they’ll do anything except keep talking to people until they find someone who will do what they want. Hey, I’ve been looking over this blog of yours. I like. Different from the other, but also good. And you worked in the Queen.

      • queennarigon says:

        Oh, I didn’t realize I’d commented from this account. I’m teaching a blogging class this quarter, so I made a blog of my own for the class. None of my students read it!

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