Monday, August 14, 2006

The biggest interview of my life...making the move from Indian to Chief

For ten years, I have been dodging this move. Moving from the lowly ranks of the workers into the upper ranks and eschelons of corporate upper management.

Of course, I'd hardly call this a huge rise...I'm simply applying to be a supervisor, not a regional manager or a territorial manager or a zone manager or a vice president. Just a supe.

But it IS the first major step to getting one of those jobs that I mentioned.

I first entered the insurance world at the tender age of twenty-one. I remember it vividly. I sent out 500 resumes in the weeks before I took my finals at Carolina. I got a small handful of calls. I got three interviews. I got three job offers. One in Greensboro, North Carolina; one in Miami, Florida; and one here, in Dallas, Texas. I remember thinking that I would just cool my heels as an adjuster while I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, never dreaming that it'd turn into a career, and certainly never dreaming that one day I'd be someone's boss.

Yet here I am, four days shy of my ten-year anniversary of becoming an insurance adjuster, getting ready to do just that. Once I do this, I will never again be solely responsible for my own results and performance. I will from then on be relying on other people to perform and make ME look good. Can I scream now?

I have gotten a pep talk from literally everyone in my office on this oh-so-important behavioral based interview. They have kept me from getting new assignments for over a week JUST so I could prepare for this interview. I have had three supervisors since I've been at this company...K, my current supe, my former supe Queenie (also a K), and my first one, S, who is now my current K's boss.

And what are the odds? Today I did a practice interview with my current supervisor K and his boss S (my first supervisor), and one of the panelists on my real interview panel is none other than QUEENIE herself!!!! If that's not karma, I don't know what is.

Honestly, I'm really nervous. I haven't seen this woman in over a year and a half, I've talked to her on the phone once, and I've exchanged maybe three emails with her. In other words, she pretty much severed all contact once she took her promotion and moved away. I know that I should not be intimidated or nervous in any way, and that it only makes Q look good if I do well and promote up, but I'm still nervous. I'm nervous about she'll greet me, if she'll remember any of the examples I'm going to give from when I reported to her, if she'll ask me some tough questions that she knows are my weaknesses, that she'll tell the other panelists after the interview that I'm a basketcase and totally OCD, you name it. This woman knows my work better than ANYONE at my company does...including my current managers. She's the one that made me motivated to do better, to turn adjusting into a career, put me in tears on more than one occasion, and at times, alternately made me hate her and love her. Talk about complicated emotions!

And she has my future in her hands.

Overall, I feel ready, or at least I will by the time I go to bed tomorrow night. I'm leaving tomorrow after lunch to drive down to Austin and hole up in a hotel. I have no loftier plans for the evening other than eating a quiet dinner, taking a long ass bubble bath, watching Braveheart and Varsity Blues on the portable DVD player that P bought for me last week, and scanning over the last ten years of my life in claims for the perfect scenarios that demonstrate my customer service skills, my ability to be a good communicator, how I deal with people in my office that I don't like, and whether or not it is important to me to be liked in the office. (Yes, that was actually one of my practice questions which I responded with a resounding NO!) I am packed with all my stuff ready to go. I went out shopping tonight and bought a power suit, or at least close to's a black pants suit with a silky silver camisole and pointy witchy shoes. I even colored my hair differently...I no longer have that dishwater trailer trash blonde ends/dark roots going on that I've hung onto for ten years. In the words of Melanie Griffith, "in order to be taken seriously, you need serious hair!" so I now have hair of light golden brown. (By the way, Garnier Nutrisse ROCKS...first time I've tried it and I love it!)

Anyway. We'll see how this goes. I'm sure I'll have the worst runs of my life Wednesday morning (sure sign of my nerves) or be puking. Thank God it won't be my bathroom!


Blogger thutmosis said...

Good luck Erica! I hope you get the promotion!

BTW, how do you manage your rotation? You have some gorgeous projects on the go!

2:47 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

GOOD LUCK GAL!!! Sending good thoughts your way!

4:59 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Best of luck to you chiquita - you know I'll be thinking of you! Call me if you get bored on the road to Austin and I'll regale you with all the news going on in my house. I think you'll do great!!

6:05 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Thinking of you. Know that everything will go wonderfully!

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll do great - you always do! :-)


9:29 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Sending you all the good thoughts I can. I know you'll do great!!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Shalini said...

Good Luck!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Karoline said...

Good luck Erica, keeping everything crossed for you

12:13 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

Good luck...not that you really need it! You will do just fine! How do I know? You sound so nervous! If you weren't nervous, it would mean you don't care. And since you care so will do great!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Good Luck Erica! I know you will do well! Here comes the boss!

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

Not sure if the interview is over yet, but *good luck*!!!!

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, and best of luck to you. Take care!

Susan in SoCal

8:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home