Hello friends. I’ve been feeling anxious, exhausted, and generally overwhelmed by life lately and I know I’m not the only one. So I’m setting down my worries for a moment to tell you all an Awkward Girl story I have never told before.
It was 2014, Awkward Girl had a pretty great job working for a hospital as a lead over the departments specializing in financial care for patients who couldn’t afford their bills. It was work she was passionate about, but she had a few frustrations with the way things were going.
One night, she was looking up contact information for a particular county’s Director of Indigent Services only to find that the person who had been in that role a decade or so had recently retired and the position was OPEN.
Awkward Girl wrestled with this information for the rest of the evening. She was only a lead and had never even held the title of supervisor so it seemed unlikely that anyone would consider her qualified to be a director of anything, much less the largest indigent services department in the state. That said, she read the list of qualifications over and over again and there were only a couple things she wasn’t already familiar with, nothing she felt she couldn’t learn.
The next morning she mentioned it casually to her mom who immediately said, “You have to apply. If you don’t get it, who cares, but if you DO get it . . . just think about that.” Her cousin, already a director in the company she was working for, said much the same, “DO IT.” Her uncle, her husband, her dad, everyone was in agreement. So Awkward Girl straightened her shoulders and got to work on her application.
She was stunned when she got the call to schedule an interview. Stunned and suddenly terrified. Whatever bold thoughts had lead her to click submit deserted her entirely and she felt very much like a small dog who thought she wanted to run with the big dogs but should have probably stayed on the porch. She had no idea how to act or what to say in a director level interview and, most importantly to this tale, she had no idea what to wear.
With less than a week to prepare, she and her mother went out the next day to shop for something that said, “No, really, I know what my application says, but I can do this!” The previous director had always worn suits so that’s where they started.
Two jackets, twenty button downs, and one pencil skirt later, they found “The One.” It was light, it was summery, it was almost comfortable and they found an amazing, twist-front, white shirt with a crisp collar that made Awkward Girl feel like her awkward melted away as she tucked it in.
A few days later it was show time. Awkward Girl had been practicing, rereading statutes, and generally driving herself crazy, but when she woke up that morning she was calm. Her husband took her shirt and pants to iron them (yes, Awkward Girl’s husband does the ironing . . . she’s not just awkward, she’s also slightly lacking in most domestic skills!) and when he came back, there had been a terrible mistake.
The suit slacks were cotton, the shirt was not and where her once beautiful, crisp, white shirtsleeves had been, were two, brown, perfectly flat, melted together disasters. There was no salvaging “The One,” so she put on the “The Other One” a blue button down she’d also grabbed hoping she’d need it one day soon . . .
But looking in the mirror, her confidence was shot. The blue just didn’t have the same affect. So . . . she went back to the white shirt . . . stared at it a moment . . . really, it was just the sleeves that were ruined . . . would they even show with her jacket on?
She carefully, gently, and with great precision, ripped the sleeves off, put the shirt back on, pulled her jacket on over it, and with a deep breath went to the mirror. Perfection! Well . . . at least it looked that way.
Instead of practicing interview questions on the way to her interview that day, she practiced what she would say if anyone offered to take her jacket, or if it was hot and someone recommended she remove it, which thankfully no one did.
She was all business on the outside (I mean, look at those eyes, they practically scream, “HIRE ME! ALSO, I DID NOT RIP THE SLEEVES OFF OF MY FANCY SHIRT!”:
But underneath, she looked more “Hey ya’ll, pick me! I’m real good at directing things!”
(Photo: Steve Snowden/Getty Images)
Two interviews later, Awkward Girl was offered and accepted that position! Which turned into the best job she’d ever had. The moral of the story? You don’t need every single qualification in a job posting (Heck, you don’t necessarily even need a whole shirt!)! If you’re willing to work hard and learn, you should always throw your hat in the ring.
Until next time, embrace your awkward, my friends! : )