While working for Aflac, I’m continuing to look for something a bit more permanent and better suited to my talents and desires.
I’ve had a ton of interviews, but very few job offers and no job offers that seem like good places for me to settle in. And it’s totally not them; it’s me.
I hate interviewing, because I’ve spent my entire life trying not to be arrogant. With softball, school, writing, etc… I was always trying to pretend that I didn’t believe I was awesome. Now, all of those attempts at fake humility are coming back around to bite me.
I am an incredibly organized, literate person. And yet, I can’t seem to communicate that in interviews because I feel the need to tell people that, well, yes, I’m organized, but…
Why can’t I just tell them that I’m organized? I put the damn silverware into the dishwasher in such a way that my roommate and her parents commented on it. I separate the forks, spoons, knives, and specialty items into their own sections.
It’s actually funny because I think what I’m struggling to overcome is something I studied in a linguistics class in college: hedges. These are words and phrases that don’t carry any meaning, but get inserted into sentences to soften them. Women use more hedges than men use, because they want to maintain a softer persona and the workplace is one of the most unfortunate places for hedges to come out because they make an otherwise competent person seem less competent.
I can’t seem to get myself to stop using hedges in interviews. Rather than saying I’m well-organized and providing examples of my organization, I say that, “Yes, organization is sort of one of my strengths.” Saying it that way makes it sound like it actually isn’t one of my strengths. I know that, and yet, I’m still sort of using hedges in the middle of trying to convince employers that I know what I’m doing.