It’s Friday—we’re so close to the weekend we can taste it, and we are counting the hours until we’re off the clock.
Was this a good week? You know, one of the ones where you got the good parking space the day it rained when you didn’t bring an umbrella? Was it a week that slipped by so fast you aren’t quite sure how you got here (but you’ll take it)? Or was it one of those weeks that has you looking for blankets, because it’s time to build a fort (no jerks allowed)?
Whether you got that parking space or are holed up under the covers, we’re here for you.
But since it is Friday, and we are waiting for the weekend, we thought we’d share a laugh—because sometimes you have to laugh or you’d cry. And goodness knows there’s a lot of that when it comes to the job market. So, grab a snack, take a moment, and if you can, send a laugh back our way. I’ll be the one in the blanket fort. If it’s a good laugh, I might even share my leftover Valentine’s chocolate. Might.
They got me… they really got me.
Somehow, I was born with the talent of finding a way to put my foot in my mouth. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s just a gift. Either way… I’ve got it. And in one particular interview, I seemed to have it in spades.
The interview didn’t start out well. I was prepared, I knew my stuff… and the interviewers spent the first ten minutes schooling me in how their sports program dominated that of my fiancé’s alma mater. Not the golden start I’d hoped for. I spent ten minutes wondering when we were going to get to the bit that actually applied to me… and then we got there.
It was a simple enough question.
If it were at a party, I would have answered it without a second thought, and then gone to grab that interesting appetizer I’d passed on the way in.
What book do you dislike?
I could have tried to spin my answer.
I mean, “dislike” is a strong word… there’s some good in most things I’ve read. While I might not be as interested in the plot or the characters, all books are teachable in terms of language, structure, blah, blah, blah…
But I didn’t.
The older, wiser version of me sees this question for what it is: a conniving “gotcha” question meant to put a young applicant in her place. I know now, this is the moment where you make like a cartoon bunny and tiptoe around the subject, giving your best spin or non-answer.
Seeing as I was neither older nor wiser, I did what I usually do: I opened my mouth and assumed they wanted the truth (they’d asked for it).
I hate All Quiet on the Western Front. Hate it. I would never teach it if I didn’t have to.
I think the sports enthusiast grinned. It was like he was back on campus, and my fiancé’s college team was ripe for the trouncing. He could taste victory… even if it wasn’t remotely appropriate.
Oh, really? Well… That’s on our reading list for this position.
I think they may have even sniffed. I could be confusing their reaction with that of Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey, but somehow, I think not.
I tried to backpedal. I claimed that my dislike for the text would help me to relate to the students, that I could teach anything.
By the time I left, I knew for sure my sympathies would have been with the students… I might have thought about writing something myself on the bathroom walls.
Years later, I can see that this wrong answer probably saved me from teaching a book I hated and working with people I wouldn’t have liked—though I always like to imagine I would have ended up like the English teacher version of Jack Black in School of Rock. I could have been a legend.
Happy Friday, y'all! May this be a weekend of not putting our feet in our mouths.