Do you want the perfect job — a position that is financially remunerative, intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying? A job with understanding managers and convivial co-workers in a company that cares deeply about you as a person and sincerely wants you to succeed.
Of course you don’t.
The problem with a good job is that you may never quit it. You’ll never become a carefree beachcomber in Antarctica or fritter away a delightful decade or two, fungus hunting in the Amazon. Instead, the days will rush past in the blink of a bloodshot eye, until you wake up one morning, a broken-down carcass with a gold watch and a tin 401k, wondering where your life has gone.
Fortunately, the avalanche of advice on how to find the right job can also be used to find the wrong job. It’s simple! Whatever the experts say you should do, you don’t. Whatever they say you don’t, you do.
Consider this recent Regina Borsellino article on the job site, The Muse, “How the Interview Question ‘What Are Your Interests?’ Can Help You Avoid a Workplace You’ll Hate.”
It is Borsellino’s thesis that if you answer this common interview question honestly, and your interviewer vibes with your response, you could be hired by a company with which you and management are simpatico. This, in turn, will result in avoiding a job “that feels like it’s eating away at your soul.”
Could be true, except that a job that is constantly nibbling and noshing is exactly what you want — and jobs this bad are not easy to find!
If you want a position that will make you miserable, here are five fresh answers, hot out of the oven, to the inevitable interview question, “What are your interests?” Each one is guaranteed to get you a job you’ll despise.
No. 1: “I’m interested in using slick marketing techniques to scam as many customers as possible.”
Very few companies have mission statements that include “tricking gullible customers into spending more than they can afford on products they really don’t need and that really don’t work anyway.” Yet, this is obviously the goal of 99% of the companies whose products pop up on my Facebook feed. (Except for Renfield Labs Magic Socks — they really do wash themselves while you sleep and never pill.)
If your interviewer lights up when they realize they have found an individual who could lead the company to new levels of depravity, you know you’ve found a hateful job and you must take it.
No. 2: “I’m interested in the mating behavior of the vampire moths of Malaysia, especially Calyptra thalictra.”
If the recruiter does not end the interview immediately, reach into your pocket and place a handful of leaves, lint and desiccated chicken bones on their desk. If the interviewer threatens to call security, get out fast. You’ve found a good company and you must not accept a job. If the interviewer reaches into their pocket, pulls out a handful of dirt and twigs, and offers to show you their collection of burrowing Formosan termites, you have a sure winner in the bad-job sweepstakes. Grab it.
No. 3: “I’m interested in clawing my way to the top on the backs of my co-workers.”
This level of honesty rarely produces positive results, unless interviewing at a large financial institution or applying for an entry-level position in the Mafia. You are almost guaranteed to find a hateful job at a bank, but be careful when recruiting with the Mafia. Unlike the bank, it’s an organization that puts a lot of effort into creating a positive and nurturing environment for its employees and, therefore, should be avoided.
No. 4: “I’m interested in scaring my co-workers by being the weirdest person in the office.”
Arriving at an interview on a pogo stick and wearing an aluminum-foil hat will go a long way to convincing the recruiter that you are not only weird, but also difficult to work with and impossible to manage. This is exactly the kind of employee bad companies want, and you can expect to be offered a job. Be careful. Being the company weirdo has its risks. You could be promoted to CEO.
No. 5: “I’m interested in earning a lot of money for doing not much work.”
Totally true, yet it is an interest given by very few candidates. In interviewing, you must be careful about expressing this level of honesty. I’m someone who used a desire to earn more for doing less in my last interview, and look where I ended up.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.