The Interview Suit

26 Apr

Side note: This woman looks entirely too sassy and confident in her suit.

Last week I had an interview, so it was time to break out the “interview suit”. Basic black pants, fitted black blazer, dressy sleeveless top underneath, moderate height black heels.  At some point after graduating college, nearly everyone gets some variation of the interview suit (with obvious adjustments for the guys).

So I’m standing in front of the bathroom mirror getting ready, and:  gulp.! Major moment of insecurity! I totally felt like a little kid playing dress up. I’ll be twenty-five in about a month, and still, every single time I have to wear a suit I feel like a five-year old clomping around in their mother’s high heels and seven-sizes –too-big blazer.  You know, the one that has shoulder pads sizeable enough to block an incoming linebacker.  A fevered little voice in my head wondered what the hell I was doing and whom I possibly expected to fool into thinking I was the sort of competent, experienced businesswoman who would wear such an outfit.
Does that feeling ever go away?
I guess that part of my discomfort goes back to my basic preconceptions about the business world versus the quote on quote “creative professions”. I always knew that I wanted a job outside of the business community, away from offices and cubicles and meetings and those ubiquitous signs over the microwave in every single office break room requiring you clean up after yourself, because, by God, “Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here!!!” I knew I wanted to do something creative, something stimulating and intellectually fulfilling, and based on what I could gather, going to work at an office every day seemed as soul-sucking and dull as a squat grey cubicle.
“I’ll never sit behind a desk all day!” I breezily proclaimed back in high school, before I was ever faced with the vomit-inducing reality of paying bills on minimum wage.
I guess this is all a part of growing up, and becoming comfortable in your own skin, whether you’re wearing jeans and a faded t-shirt or a Prada suit. It’s also about what you’re willing to become comfortable with, what you’re willing to adapt to, in terms of attire and perhaps more importantly in terms of your profession and your life.
I read something really hilarious today that I think perfectly encapsulates this dilemma. It’s a quote from Tina’s Fey’s “The Mother’s Prayer For Her Daughter”, which appears in her new book “Bossypants”:
        “Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
        Something
where she can make her own hours but still feel
        intellectually
fulfilled and get outside sometimes 
       And not have to wear high heels.


      What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design?

      I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it.”

I knew I loved Tina Fey for a reason.

8 Responses to “The Interview Suit”

  1. Augie April 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Golf course design?


    I say go for it.

  2. Robin April 26, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    *straightens Family Ties*… that suits you perfect.

  3. Claudia April 27, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Well done & well written.

  4. Brad April 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    You know whats worse…..the feeling of sitting in front of a classroom full of students diligently working and coming to the realization……holy shit i’m responsible for these kids……who thought that was a good idea?

    Looks good Amanda

    • amandamcdowell May 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

      Isn’t that insane? I had a similar experience at my last job working with autistic kids, when the teacher in charge left me alone with a room of 30 first graders for an hour. Just because I was bigger than them, they totally had no idea that I didn’t know what I was doing! They looked at me utterly trustingly, all “Miss Amanda, what do we do now?” And they had no idea of the total freak out that was going on my my head. Whoaaa…its quite the mind trip. There’s such a distance between the way we view ourselves and the way the kids view us. But I’ve seen you with kids, Brad. You’re great with them, and even if you’re not totally comfortable with it yet, you being a teacher is very definitely a good idea.

  5. Angie April 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    I too have never wanted to desk job. I have worked at a desk for two years now, and am now back in school for Nursing! Woohoo!

  6. Abby B April 30, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    I remember buying my first suit. It made me feel so growed up. :)

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