Right, let me tell you about this.
I’ve done loads of interviews so far. Phone interviews, Skype interviews, face to face interviews, group interviews, individual interviews, video interviews etc.
And I know pretty much any possible question the recruiter could come up with.
At least I thought I knew all about it.
But there is always something that needs to leave you unprepared in an interview, doesn’t it?
Well, today my “unprepared” moment came when, after having asked me all the standard questions that I knew about, this lovely guy comes up with:
“So, which are the achievements you are most proud of?”
Now, let’s think about this question.
1) Starting with “which are the achievements that” means that they are assuming that you have achieved something so far and so that it is impossible to think that you haven’t.
2) The use of plural (which are the achievements) assumes that there must be more than one as well and that again, if you even managed to come up with just one, you would look like a loser anyway.
3) They are not asking you about an achievement in general, but the achievements you are proud of. Which means that they don’t want you to tell them random things like, dunno, “I graduated” or “I got married”, but something that you are proud of.
Needless to say I was shocked by the question. Why? Well, because I’ve always been thinking the other way round.
Usually when I come to terms with my personal or professional achievements it’s one of those bad days when I think “look at the loser I am, I haven’t achieved nothing in my all life”, and in those moments I don’t usually think “actually this is not true, I’ve done this, this and also this”.
So you can imagine that for the first ten seconds after that question I didn’t have a clue of what to say.
Then I thought “let’s see…I am living in a new country, I actually moved here and decided to start from zero, which shows determination and self motivation I guess. I qualified as a teacher in a country which is not my home country and I can teach a language which is not my mother tongue, which tells something about my capabilities and communication skills I suppose. Also, I managed to teach teenagers who didn’t realise I was from the same country they were from, which was particularly challenging and scary and tells you something about my accent :D.”
So this is actually what I told to the guy.
But when I left that office I started thinking about that question and realised many things about my answer.
a) They were all professional achievements;
b) They were all linked to the last 2 years of my life and so, to teaching English in England;
So what about the other 27 years of my life?
Well, there are other professional achievements I am proud of which are linked to my previous jobs (being published by a national magazine at the age of 19, successfully surviving the most famous theatre festival in the world, selling a theatre show which hadn’t been produced yet, covering a role of huge responsibility such as dealing with a government funding request – although my role mainly involved collecting datas and putting them in the bloody spreadsheet without mistakes -, being able to getting reviews from some rather posh journalists, quitting a job because I wasn’t feeling motivated or rewarded from a human point of you.).
But what about my personal achievements? There must be some, somewhere…
So here I am, writing this post while I’m trying to come up with some special moments of my life.
And to be honest I think that the best achievement I have accomplished so far is that today, when I look in the mirror and I see myself I am proud of what I see. And at the same time, I know that everything will be fine.
Now, maybe for you this is bullshit and it might stop you reading further.
But for me this achievement is a turning point of my life.
It’s not something easy to accomplish, if you are used to be the negative person with the black cloud on their head who always thinks that “everything will go wrong” or that “there’s nothing to hope for”, because “things don’t change and life is shit”.
At the same time, though, it is something very easy to accomplish if you just start realising that living your life is the only tool you have to make it better than what it is. And accepting everything that happens to you is the best you can do to let things go and get rid of what you don’t like.
So, well, yes, I guess that the answer is:
“I am proud of being proud of myself. I am proud of being happy with what I have got and of being able to see things positively regardless of the situation.”