Cooler Than Me
I’ve been called a lot of things in life (except late for dinner!), but this one word had evaded me until this past Friday:
The context, though?
A reason for rejection from a job interview for a position I truly wanted.
Well that wasn’t cool.
The recruiter told me “they thought you were too cool and hip to interact with others there”.
Cool? Hip? Me? No.
On the surface, sure, some of the things I mentioned, both career and hobby-wise could come off to the untrained ear as “cool”. But let’s dig deeper on how deeply uncool I really am:
My current position: I get to help a lot of people that need help the most, and interact daily with people of all different backgrounds, personal and professional. Sure, I gave the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, a tour of our office a few weeks ago. But I’ve also:
- Helped people on and off the toilet
- Fixed and washed someone’s dentures
- Made extremely bad puns from customer’s last names
None of the above tasks are remotely cool at all, especially the last one. During one of our staff meetings, one of our senior staff members asked our program manager if he could punch me in the face for spouting terrible puns, and was given approval (honestly, rightfully so, they’re really bad puns).
Public Speaking: I was President of one of the 9th-largest Toastmasters club in the world (100+ members, and there’s 15,000 clubs world-wide), have earned many awards, won public speaking contests, and helped mentor several people that started as struggling speakers and became success stories. But I’ve also:
- Bribed people to use “the word of the day” in their speech with dinky prizes or punishing myself with 10 push-ups every time they used the word correctly
- Sat through a 90-minute leadership training seminar on how to effectively use a flipchart in order to take home sad ham sandwiches in my own (7) Tupperware bowls
- Spent the majority of my vacation time at work schlepping 2+ hours each way via public transit for mandatory seminars and events (with said sad ham sandwiches)
Did I mention this was all unpaid work for sad ham sandwiches (okay, and some professional development)?
Comedy: I write and perform sketch comedy at ImprovBoston. I get to get on stage, play wacky characters, and make a bunch of random strangers laugh the night away! But I’ve also:
- Spent $100+ on purple body paint when Grimace (the McDonald’s character) in an office romance sketch
- Cried onstage about Warren Buffett in only a poorly-made cloth diaper for 5 minutes
- Devoted the vast majority of my social media posts/messages to inviting friends to see my comedy show (most are no longer friends after seeing me cry in a diaper, even for the sake of art)
Did I mention this was ALSO all unpaid work, but WITHOUT FREE SAD HAM SANDWICHES BECAUSE IMPROV THEATERS DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF BUDGET?
Maybe If I had had time to mention the specifics of all those during the interview, instead of pointless topics like budgetary spreadsheets (like my apartment utilities and how my roommates keep “forgetting” to Venmo me their share) and where I see myself in 5 years (probably OD’ing from Ben & Jerry’s if I haven’t gotten this job), I wouldn’t have been thought of as “too cool” for this job.
Wait, maybe that was just a nicer way of saying I seemed unprofessional?
Nah. They totally meant I seemed too cool.
But trust me hiring managers, you SHOULD think you’re cooler than me.