Last week I discussed the three words my dad told me to rock a job interview.
Below he explains how he came to give that advice.
"Parents long for the day when their children seek advice on important life issues such as dating, choice of university, which career to pursue and other major decisions that young adults must make. It signifies a recognition of parental wisdom.
Recently, my daughter began to come to me for advice. The Junior Child, so named because she is the youngest, called me, her father, to get input on job interview techniques. Job interviews can be intimidating for those who are just entering this hyper competitive job market.
This was a new and pleasant experience for me. Up until now I was the nerdy dad. I was given to understand that I was definitely uncool and, to a young person, probably one of the most embarrassing people on God's green earth. To go from the category of uncool and embarrassing dad, to the dad who's opinion is solicited, was for me amazing.
Gone were the days of teenage attitude and eye rolling. Here was an adult who not only was asking for my advice, but listening to what I had to say. Better yet, she was even taking my advice! But like all good relationships, it had its challenges. While parents may long for the day of serious consultation, it would be preferable if the parent had something of value to say.
One day, my daughter called just as I was about to step into a meeting. She was having a meltdown. She was sure she would botch her interview. She was absolutely sure she would never ever, ever get a job. She needed reassurance and she phoned me to get it.
I didn't have time to converse over best interview techniques or tell her key points to reveal about herself. I couldn't reassure her that she always presents well, and that she didn't have anything to worry about. In a rush, I summarized my advice in three words: get over it.
I felt afterwards that my response to her plaintiff cry for help fell somewhat short of the mark. A curt non-answer is generally not a good way to respond to "un cri-de-coeur." Maybe I should have drawn on my vast experience with job interviews and distilled it into some pithy wisdom. However, I didn't.
Parenting is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of job. This new role as "advice giver," although welcome, was fraught with unknowns. In comparison, my daughter's pre-school years were easy. Her questions were along the line of, "Who shall I invite to my birthday party?" or "Why does my sister always get the best Barbie?" When she became a teenager, admittedly, my parenting skills were taxed. Her questions then revolved around her use of the car or were an inquisition as to my disciplinary techniques. Consequently, the adult to adult questions were a welcome development. But now, I had failed to deliver fatherly advice at the opportune time.
The good news is that my daughter didn't botch the interview and she did get the job. It's a good job too, that challenges her and contributes to society. Even better, it's a job that uses her degree, a seeming rarity these days. She later told me that my curt "get over it," helped her to do just that -- get over it. She did pull herself together and she got over her nervousness.
This experience showed me that I could be myself and still be a caring father. I realized that we had built up a long history of communicating over many years. Our relationship was not in jeopardy because I didn't have time when she needed it. That's just one of the many reasons to keep communication open and honest, so that when your advice is less than adequate, it can still be helpful."