was I being an asshole during my interview?

*First published via email on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Click here to subscribe.

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I had an interview yesterday with an entrepreneur who is starting a falls prevention program. Let's call him Mr. X. He's looking for entrepreneurial occupational therapists to help him market and administer his program, and when I saw that job listing, my eyes went "Bing!"

In today's email, I wanted to share something that I noticed during the interview and am celebrating in case it's helpful for you, too.

I am celebrating the fact that I successfully treated the interview as a conversation to see if we would be a good match to work together, and after deciding it was not (at least not at the moment), I was able to share that openly without making excuses.

When I used to interview for jobs, I came from an "Omg, please please please hire me, please please please I need the money" point of view. I was constantly trying to feel out what the other person would want to hear just so I could say it, hoping they would like me enough to hire me.

Have you experienced this?

Maybe because I've applied to similar startup companies like this before and have gotten my hopes up, I knew to be wary. Not in a fearful kind of way, just in a very matter-of-fact is-this-aligned-with-who-I-am-and-want-to-be kind of way. As he explained more about his program, I could tell that it's still very much in the beginning stages. Which means his first focus needs to be in marketing.

When he explained the position to me, he said he was looking for driven, self-directed occupational therapists who are willing to "help" with the marketing. But the payment structure was that I would get paid 75% of the Medicare payout only when a client has a session with me. It makes sense - he doesn't get any pay until Medicare pays him, right?

But...my very first business involved a lot of marketing to doctors and clinics, so I know how difficult, time-consuming, and downright demoralizing it can be. People hang up on you, they tell you you have to buylunch for the entire office, and they give you 5 minutes while they chomp with their mouths full before they ditch.

I couldn't fathom voluntarily going through all that again without getting paid for my emotional and physical energy. So I decided to tell Mr. X my concerns about the pay structure, and he said that he'd been thinking about possibly paying the therapists to help with the marketing, too.

With his permission, I offered the idea of paying therapists to go into senior communities to hold free introductory workshops about fall prevention and his program, and at the end of these workshops, they could offer paid 1:1 home fall-risk assessments. And he said that he "could be convinced to pay for that."

Eventually, I asked to just stay in touch, that I'd check in with him in a few weeks after I've moved to see how his advertising campaigns are going and what kind of interest he's getting in the program. 

After that, the call ended kind of abruptly.

And I felt like he might have been disappointed.

And hearing that tone of disappointment as he hung up brought up familiar patterns of self-doubt. (Has this ever happened to you?)

Did I share my thoughts kindly?

Was I being an asshole?

Was I being egotistical?

I could spin around for the rest of the day worrying about this.

But the call was over, and I made a decision to focus on the things that went well instead.


I feel proud of myself for speaking up.

For sharing my thoughts thoughtfully and as kindly as I could.

For not being so desperate for a job that I took it without talking about the parts that bothered me.

For not making promises that I didn't want to keep.

For trusting that I'm going in the right direction with my life and career.

For trusting that even though this job sounds exciting, it might not be the best match, and it's ok.

For knowing that by saying no to this one (at least for now), it gives me more space to accept what's coming up that might be even better.

I'd love to hear from you - How do you usually feel in job interviews?

With love,




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