Just before heading into the African jungle, I attended an interview for a sales job. It promised a salary of £5,000 a month. It turned out to be the craziest interview I’ve had.
On the day of the interview, I arrived early. I spent the first four hours hanging around with the other 59 hopefuls. After arithmetic and psychometric testing and a one-to-one interview, there were only three of us left in the room. But little did I know we were only just getting started.
I was summoned into a room and requested to sit down. A senior executive sat at the other end of a long table. He looked up from his papers, barely acknowledging I’d entered the room. Without an introduction, he asked me to sell a three-sided ashtray.
I joked, asking him if I had to sell to a smoker or non-smoker.
I went ahead and enthusiastically sold him the ashtray.
“I did well,” I thought. But it seemed the interviewer was far from impressed.
He then wanted me to sing a song. I didn’t expect this.
I felt uneasy but managed a poor performance of ‘Summer Holidays’ by Cliff Richard.
He then wanted me to tell a joke. Did I hear him right? I racked my brain for something appropriate. A semi-clean ‘knock, knock’ joke was all that came to mind.
The interviewer did not smile. He said nothing. No response.
I was relieved when he finally offered a meek “well-done” from across the table. It seemed he still had a final surprise for me.
As we were chatting, he asked if I was interested in being in the upcoming pantomime. There was an opening to play the panto-chicken. He asked me to audition, right there, in the interview room.
I hesitated. I looked for some surveillance camera. Was he serious?
Thinking about the £5,000 a month, I flapped my arms and clucked around the room. I even stooped to the ground to peck at imaginary corn. It was humiliating.
He got out of his chair, came over and with a big smile shook my hand with a proper congratulations. I got the job. But at what cost. I felt dirty.
I knew what the interviewer wanted from me, and I gave it to him despite feeling very uncomfortable.
I lasted two weeks in the job. It was awful. The people I worked with were cruel. The tactics they used to manipulate and sometimes force their way into people’s houses were despicable.
This experience helped me define the type of work I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to go door-to-door manipulating people to buy stuff that they didn’t want or couldn’t afford. And I certainly didn’t want to hang out with people that enjoyed this type of work.
I wanted to do work that was in line with my ethical and moral principles and values.
As a Virtual Assistant, one of the things my clients most expect from me is high integrity.
Integrity is being honest about what tasks I can and cannot do.
Integrity is consistently meeting deadlines (or communicating when I can’t).
Integrity is completing tasks to the best of my ability.
Integrity is accepting responsibility for the mistakes I make.
Have you ever done anything that didn’t feel right in your heart? Or something that felt like you were compromising your character?
What was the outcome?
Are you doing it now?