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13 Questions to Ask During Your Pandemic Job Interview

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Landing a job interview can feel like a feat in itself. One of the parts I enjoy least about the process is the old, "So, what questions do you have for ME?" portion that typically comes at the end. When I was in the thick of interviewing back in 2014 and burned out from in-person meetings that went nowhere, I came up with a few choice questions I wanted to ask. But mainly, I found myself f ighting the temptation to say, "Nah, man, I'm good!" — especially when it came to the jobs that didn't really seem like a great fit. During the past year when I interviewed via Zoom, my top questions shifted toward:  "Can you move your laptop closer to your bookshelves? Is that A Gentleman in Moscow?  I want to read that!" "Where'd your cat go?" "Are we cool if I start a Slack channel devoted to  Real Housewives'  discourse?" and  "How many more hoops will you make me jump through before you tell me you've decided to go wit

Beginnings & Endings

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I’ve started this blog entry at least three times between late April and today and never quite had the will to finish it. As my husband said when he called to tell me about his first layoff back in 2013 , “I have some good news and I have some bad news.” Good news first: I accepted a full-time job and started on my 50th birthday in mid-April. Because I like to think of this blog as a transparent look at the hiring process, I’ll share a bit about how it all came to be. I was contacted by a hiring manager at the company via LinkedIn in late February. At the time, I’d grown weary of people who reached out only to disappear as well as those who put me through the wringer with 90-minute interviews that left me wanting to shout, "I've been in long-term relationships with people who know less about me!” Then there was the place that wanted me to write a 4,000-word test article complete with an interactive map of the U.S. (No, thank you!)  So, initially, I was reluctant to respond to

A Long Overdue Italy Update & a Book Giveaway

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Remember when I attended that writing conference in Italy in 2018 ? (I know, I barely do either. Sometimes I think about Paul Simon's " America " and hum, " Recanati seems like a dream to me now..." Not quite the same ring as Michigan, but  the same sentiment. Y ou get it.)  I've never recapped that trip, probably because it still  feels wildly self-indulgent—going alone, drinking amazing wine, talking about books for a week .  B ut I have an exciting update that's a direct result of attending so I wanted to share.  I started out in Rome, wandering through piazzas, admiring breathtaking architecture at every turn, getting lost despite having a map, courtesy of my hop-on, hop-off bus tour, sampling eggplant Parmesan ... ... nursing my minimal jet-lag with coffee and tiramisu.... The following day, my fellow attendees and I met and divided into small groups for  the drive from Rome to Recanti. I rode with two poets who already knew one another. One had pub

A New Job for Me? A New Job for You!

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Photo by  Ian Taylor  on  Unsplash Lately, there's been a lot of talk about "The Great Rehire" as companies ramp up following last year's mass layoffs.  Initially, I was skeptical, but then I heard from two  recruiters in the same week. One had a great opportunity that I wasn't really qualified to pursue, so she said she'd be in touch if she found anything better suited to my skill set.  The other had an opening for a copywriter position at a young but rapidly-growing fintech firm. Though I've been fortunate to have plenty of freelance work to keep me busy, it's always exciting to consider the possibility of a corporate gig with paid time-off and benefits. (I still have no dental or vision coverage... hence this rather large font.) The HR rep and I had a great conversation, and after three subsequent 45-minute interviews with various executives, I found out this past week that I'm still in the running. (I joke that I've been in long-term relati

A Holiday Miracle (& Some Thoughts on Test Assignments)

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  Photo by  Zuza Gałczyńska  on  Unsplash In what can only be described as a holiday miracle, my husband got a job. He started last Monday, and while it's significantly cut into his napping schedule, so far, so good.  During his seven-month search, we once again benefited from thoughtful friends who regularly checked in and offered to put him in touch with connections who were hiring, which is ultimately how he landed this role.  I joked with one of my freelance colleagues, who also sent generously took the time to send links to openings he spotted while skimming Facebook, "Let's hope he can ride this out until retirement!" (Cue the maniacal laughter: Who am I kidding? After all of our layoffs, we will be working until we draw our last breaths.)  While I'm thrilled he found something, getting to this point was no easy feat. He had multiple phone and video interviews, which included the always-odd, "What's your personal theme song?"  When he told me,

Baby's First Ghosting

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  Photo by  Tandem X Visuals  on  Unsplash In the spirit of Halloween, I'd like to share the story of a man who vanished. He disappeared Labor Day weekend and still hasn’t been found.  It’s really my son’s tale to tell, so I asked his permission to share it here, and he said, “Sure, go ahead. I don’t think anybody reads your blog, right?” (Thanks, honey!) Anyway, here’s how it began:  My son, 18, was supposed to start college this fall but opted to take a gap year, recognizing that the on-campus experience would be vastly different from the one he'd imagined.  Like many of us during the pandemic, he’d fallen into bad patterns—indulging in excessive screen time, cooking frozen pizzas at midnight (occasionally neglecting to turn off the oven), and sleeping ’til noon. I let things slide for a bit—allowing him to enjoy some post-graduation downtime. But after weeks of me standing in his doorway at 11 a.m. bellowing, “Get out of bed!!” so he could do a mere 90 minutes