Thursday, May 3, 2012

Interviewer asks, "So why Mississippi Earrings?"

On occasions, when I've applied/pitched for some interesting job or assignment and people check my CV and ask me about what I am doing currently, and I tell them that I've set up a venture of my own called Mississippi Earrings, I've received some of the funniest responses.

Some are astonished: EARRINGS!!! MICA Grad, Communications pro, and earrings!
Some ask, how is it doing? If I say it's doing decent, they ask, so why a job now?
Some ask, but why did you venture on your own?

Such questions. I pity these folks who have very little to ask but these questions. Especially the 'why' question. Thinking for a couple of seconds can give them all these answers. But wtf, they've been trained to ask 'why'.

But then questions are not meant for evaluating the literal answers. Some questions are oblique ones. In the sense that 'Why Mississippi Earrings?' might be asked to evaluate my vocabulary or the quality of my voice or my body language.

Anyhow, since I haven't converted any of the interviews so far, I have 5 major alternative inferences about the interviewers' judgments of me. Mind you, none of these could be related to the 'why' they ask and to the answer I give to that 'why'. There could be more inferences of course but 5 is a good number.

I don't have the requisite skills. For me it's hard to believe that I don't have the skills. But then there's a possibility that I am fucked up in communicating that 'I have the skills'. In which case, I have licked jack-ass all my life and in all my career so far.

Third could be that I don't have experience in the domain. Fuck the domain, I don't want a domain-dependent job. In which case I am better off not having been selected.

Fourth could be that I am seen one bloody greedy opportunist, who wants to have a venture of his own and earn from a well-paying job/project as well. So I need a kick in the ass for my vice.

Fifth could be that if my venture's doing decent then I would pay more attention to the venture than to the job. So that's how people behave, right? My girl-friend's got a fracture and my mother's admitted in the hospital. So I will take care of only one. Or rather, I will not be able to take care of any of them since my attention gets divided. I am a management grad but 'management' in such a case won't work, they think. So, gone.

'Why' is a scientific question. And ridiculous too. In the context of a career path, all answers to 'why' can be concocted. 'Why' led economists to turn to behavioral economics. And the 'whys' they uncover sometimes are so bizarre that the 'why behind those whys' cannot quite be answered.

You can't ask Mukesh Ambani as to why he has a textile company and why a refinery and then why a retail company. But you will raise questions if I try to execute a strategy which I presented to a client and which was not accepted for whatever reason and which I believed could unlock value and give me some creative satisfaction. You will raise questions if I try to pull off more than one thing. The possibility is, I might just do.