Friday, March 19, 2010

Bay Area Interview Questions

Today, I had an interview...during the 2 1/2 hours that I was being interviewed, I got the typical questions:

- "Tell me about yourself"
- "Tell me about a time when you failed"
- "What are your strengths?"


The main question that jumped out at me though was: "What does HTML code look like?" What?! I've never been asked this question before so I did the best I could to warble my way out of the question. If you catch me on a good day, I'm a pretty good bull-shitter, but I'm pretty sure that I bombed this one today...!

When I got home, I told my husband the question and asked what he thought. His answer? Some long winded simile to The Matrix: "Like when Neo gained his powers in The Matrix and saw his world as computer codes." I love Keanu Reeves, but this is one movie of his that I've never seen...too bad because I think that answer was probably a lot more intelligent than mine!

So...Is this a Bay Area thing? I've never been asked this before!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Was it Worth it?

A year and a half ago, I attended a wedding of a dear friend and randomly had a conversation with an older man who was pretty successful in his career and on the verge of retirement. To the best of my memory (and actually there were others there who can attest to the fact that this is actually accurate) the conversation went a little something like this:

Man: So what do you do?
Me: I just finished my MBA and am a marketer at a small company.
Man: Oh congratulations! Where did you get your MBA?
Me: USC.
Man: Really! Now tell me, what rank is USC business school these days? I mean, is it even worth it to go and spend money for a school that's not even in the Top Tier?
Me: (Literally LOL.) Well, USC is ranked about 21 these days, but I don't think ranking is the most important thing when you're choosing a school! And besides, people go to business school for different reasons. I was an English major in undergrad so I thought it would be a good idea for me to broaden my horizons and learn more about business!
Man: Psssshhh...English. Now that's a useless major!
Me: (Literally LOL...again.) Well, it's not so bad. It helps people with their communications and writing skills!
Man: Oh, I suppose. What did you study as an English major? I assume you read the Classics like The Iliad and The Aeneid?
Me: PUH-leeez! I translated those from Latin to English in high school! No, as an English major, you study the English writers such as Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare! But I focused a lot on women Romantic writers because I liked that the most. Oh, hey! My drink is empty! Please excuse me!

Fast forward to 2010...this weekend, I attended an online marketing lecture, given by Lorrie Thomas (if you Google her, she's the Marketing Therapist - not the accused murderer) at UC Berkeley extension, as part of my ongoing efforts to expand my horizons. Before the class we went around the room and gave brief introductions of ourselves and it turns out about 30% of the class was unemployed - I suppose a sad sign of the times. During a break, I was chatting with a few people and the conversation went something like this:

Girl #1: So you went to business school? Where did you go?
Me: USC.
Girl #2: So how's that working out for you?
Me: Ha! Apparently not that well, since I'm sitting here right now!

Anyway, since then, I've been thinking about the fact that I did indeed go to business school and really have nothing but my diploma to show for it! I took out a shitload of loans (thank goodness it was only 2 years, not 4 like medical school) and I haven't recovered even half of it! Not to mention my forgone salary from my old job and all the on-the-go job experience I would have accumulated!! I'm no financial analyst, but it doesn't take a genius to put these facts and my blog together to realize that I'm not optimizing my ROI for this particular investment!

However, when it's all said and done, right now I'm still glad I went. It was a great experience to get out of the industry I was in, work on a diverse set of projects, and in general learn more about leadership from smart people with different professional backgrounds than myself. Although I do have to say, when my little bitch of a friend, Sallie Mae, comes calling once a month, I do get pretty annoyed...but to answer some questions..."Was it worth it and is it working out for me" to have gone to business school? It's debatable...but as my career is a marathon and not a sprint, ask me again in another 10 years. :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Feel Like an Oscar Winner

Yesterday, I had a conversation with an ex-colleague of mine that made me feel like Gwyneth Paltrow! No, we did not talk about how thin and gorgeous I was, we didn't talk about couture clothing, and we didn't talk about how I won an Oscar when I was going out with Ben Affleck.

Instead, my ex-colleague told me about some work related events that happened at the video game company that I worked at! Apparently, the guy who I hated and basically quit because of (see a few posts ago) is still a total douche lord and still hated by most of his team AND 5 different people went to HR to file complaints about him on ONE day! Now, I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with me since I don't work there anymore, but I just felt so glad! Seriously, once in a while I have doubts about having quit this job without anything lined up but this made me think that if I was still there I'd be completely miserable and this totally reinforced my decision and made me feel so glad!

This is TOTALLY how Gwyneth Paltrow must have felt when Winona Ryder got caught shoplifting at Sak's! Remember back in the day when the two were best friends?? And then something happened and they weren't? Well, Gwyneth blogged about how happy she felt when Winona got caught shoplifting and how it felt "good to hear something bad about someone you don't like!" It's so true...who knew Gwyneth was so intuitive!?