Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nuts to Minimalism!

I had another interview today, at another cool agency. Agencies are all about the cool, the ultra modern, the minimalist. At least this one was in a real building, not a loft, and there were offices, loads of them.

Agencies are not the only entities that are into minimalism; career advisers love it a lot. I attended 2 career seminars on how to interview in 2011, and both emphasized dressing minimally (no, not like a pole-dancer) as follows: suit, hose, good shoes, well-groomed hair: yes; makeup, perfume, jewelry, briefcase, (even handbag if possible): no. One should strive to look like this:

Oh and pockets must be empty. No one must see a bulge from wallet, glasses, cell phone, or anything else. G-d forbid you might be human and have real needs- no employer wants to be reminded of that!

OK, I put together a few outfits based on a light jacket, dark skirts, different tops. I wear my watch (with catching trains to interview in New York City, a watch is essential), my wedding jewelry, and my college ring. I took off my earrings (let the holes show!), the necklace I always wear, even my MediAlert bracelet (hooked it to my purse strap. Left my briefcase home (although half the places I interviewed with wanted extra copies of my resume, le sigh) but really, cannot forego a purse. About the purse: my usual purse is this very practical bag by Timbuktu, in the very same color, which I wear crossed over my body:

I never have to wonder where it is, it's lightweight and washable and waterproof.
Career adviser said, "If you must take a purse, it must not be that one!"
DD#1 said,"Oh Mom, you cannot take that purse with you into an interview! What will people think?" Note that this is the same daughter who has the same purse, in aqua, if you please.
So what does Mom do? Mom bows to DD#1's superior hipness and modernity and asks her to choose a suitable fashion accessory for Mom.
DD#1 says, "That straw one you bought in Hawai'i will be perfect for summer interviews. I always loved that one."

Mom: "When I land a job you shall have it."

So back to the interview today. To say it was broiling hot in the city would be to underestimate the temperature of lower Manhattan. Yet there I was, in suit jacket over top, dark skirt, heels and hose, purse, no briefcase but carrying a file folder containing more copies of my resume, walking in the noon day sun from the train station to my destination (those of you familiar with Manhattan will know that walking is often the best way to get around the borough of Manhattan). As I was quite early, I stopped at a cool (in the literal sense) café a block away from the agency, to sip a tall iced coffee. Purse slung on back of chair, iced coffee in hand, I read over my notes on this agency. Feeling refreshed, I walked the last block and entered the building (this agency owns its own building). Asked for ID by the guard I reached for my purse-- but it wasn't there! Yelling to the guard that I'd be right back, I RAN to the café, praying the entire time.

With heart in throat, I re-entered the café. Miracle of miracles, my purse was right where I left it. No longer cool (in the literal sense of the word) nor as early as I'd like, back I went, found a ladies' room, and cooled down with copious applications of cold water.

And the interview? Well without experience, they won't offer me a job. That's a full-time job. They will offer me a part-time job as a free-lance writer because I have knowledge of a product area that's coming their way: the exact area of my expertise. They gain my knowledge, I gain experience (and some pay), and who knows? They might offer me a full-time job eventually. They want me to come back soon and meet more people. Absolutely, am I willing to come again.

I'm going back to my usual purse after today. And DD#1 can have the woven straw bag from Hawai'i she likes so much. I am not risking it again.


Donna Lee said...

It's a heart stopping moment all right when you realize you don't have your purse/wallet/keys. I think people can take this minimalism thing too far. I'd have a hard time giving up my purse, too, although I know women who don't carry them. I always wonder where they carry their tissues. Everyone carries tissues, right?

Experimental Knitter said...

Heart-stopping- good way to put it.
Of course tissues!
The younger ladies must need to carry other personal paraphernalia too. I can't remember the last time I saw personal products in a ladies' room vending machine.

sapphireblue said...

Oh my! I can't believe the purse was still there! I'm hopeful you do get the position you want.