I’m Pathologically Demand Avoidant. It Rules.
A need for freedom & healthy suspicion of authority has protected me, not hurt me.
It’s the summer of my first year in graduate school and I’m standing in a small office on Northwestern’s campus. I’m there for a job interview, for some short-term research assistant position, and my sweaty body’s at ease in a stretchy cotton skirt and loose blouse. My hair is hanging freely at my shoulders, unmolested by a brush, and my face, as always, is bare.
A printed-out copy of my resume sits in a manila folder in front of me — both office supplies having been stolen from my main job. There’s a lilt in my step as I roam idly around the room. I’m pleased by the gentle weather and the peace that a semester off from my studies will bring. I even begin humming to myself.
The hiring manager walks in, in a full suit and full face of makeup. My goofy, unfiltered appearance makes her open her mouth with surprise. I just smile back, obliviously. She brings me back to her office and quizzes me about my work experience and statistical knowledge. I rattle the answers off, feeling zero stress. Everything seems to be going well from my perspective, when suddenly, about ten minutes into the exchange, everything comes to a halt.
“Do you even want this job?” The woman asks me, gesturing to my appearance, and my leg casually crossed over my knee.
“Sure,” I tell her, with a shrug. It’s thirteen dollars an hour in 2010 money, in a field relevant to my career. I’ve got to make rent. I could do worse. This interview isn’t that big a deal, but it is worth my time.
This is not the correct answer for her. Or really, it’s not the correct performance. I’m supposed to be desperate, well-dressed, and ready to please. But I’ve never been able to pretend that something of little consequence is all that important to me.
I do not get the position. In fact, I’m thrown out before the interview can really get started. Somehow this doesn’t bother me either. I can do a job for money, but I can’t become a new person. I walk home, still humming. I know I’ll figure it out.