Yesterday I had yet another terrible interview.
I’ve never liked meeting people for the first time because I get pretty nervous and my personality is warped into something I don’t recognize. For interviews, I’m extremely nervous so I’m even worse than normal.
I interviewed for the TAMU Neurobiological Lab for Learning and Development.
My grandpa is working with the guy that runs the lab to better predict which students will succeed in a rigorous calculus program (hint: not me), so he told me to check out their neuro lab. On the website it looked pretty bland compared to the cutting edge schizophrenia research I am doing right now, but it couldn’t hurt to apply, right? Wrong.
I took Wednesday off of work to drive up to College Station to do the interview. I wanted to interview on a Friday or Monday so I could be in cstat for the entire weekend, but I guess that didn’t work out for them so I had to make the drive there and back in one day. I was very nervous so before I walked in I sat downstairs and watched some videos of baby pandas being all cute and stuff to calm me down.
When I got there I met Lucy and Brenda, Asian graduate students, and Dr. Woltering, the head of the lab. I work in a small lab now, but at least it qualifies as a lab. I expected them to have something more than a couple rooms decorated like a therapy office. They showed me the EEG room, which was basically an office.
When we sat down in the main room I gave them my whole “tell me about yourself ” spiel, which I should really plan out ahead of time. I mostly talked about my research and how much I liked what I was doing now, but that my next step should be exploring the clinical side. They agreed. When I asked them what I was going to be doing, they didn’t have a clear answer for me. I know that they are a new lab, but it seemed like they didn’t have much going on. They did mention I would supervise study participants as they filled out questionnaires, which was a major red flag.
Although I’m currently studying a mental illness, I have absolutely no interest in psychology or psychiatry. I know they are important, but they are soft sciences that really don’t sit well with my brain. I don’t think people can accurately report their own symptoms, which is why I’m doing hard science to help biologically understand mental illnesses so that we have a better method of diagnosing these diseases that effect so many people. I don’t want to work in a lab that uses questionnaires to gather data about stress or anything because I think it’s unreliable and useless.
Anyways, I tried to keep my head in the game as they explained their upcoming projects, but I swear my eyes glazed over as they droned on and on. They study stress. I understand lots of people are stressed. I was stressed during the interview. Reagan gets so stressed that she has seizures. Stress sucks. But to me, it’s so boring. I feel like everyone studies stress and there’s much lot soft data from some stupid questionnaires and one EEG can really contribute to the conversation.
Once I made it through their long explanation, they started asking me very weird questions. I honestly thought I was being psychoanalyzed, and because they all have psychology degrees I probably wasn’t far off. Both of my grandparents have psychology doctorates and I hate when they treat me like I’m one of their subjects, but I also know the feeling. They asked me what animal I would like to be. Guess what I said? Not lion or dolphin or dog or anything that I would normally say, but a freaking panda. They probably thought I was trying to appeal to their Asian sides. I thought it couldn’t get worse, but it did. Brenda asked if pandas were the ones that were always drunk because the bamboo was digested so slowly that it is actually fermented and that’s why they are so stupid. So not only was I a stupid racist, but I was also a drunk. That’s a winning answer. But I did try to fact check the drunk panda thing, and I cannot find any information on it. So take that, Brenda.
They asked me what I would do if there was a zombie apocalypse, which concerned me because I don’t want to work with people who plan out what they are going to do if zombies come back. Especially because these are suppose to be smart, neuro people who know that that is never going to happen. I said I would drive to my dad and hope he would protect me. That’s probably the lamest answer they’ve ever heard. I felt lame just saying it, but it’s probably true. I’m not equipped to fight off zombies and I don’t care enough to think out a strategy because I should be worrying about things that will actually happen.
They also told me to imagine I was the manager of a company and I had enough extra money to purchase a new addition to my company. The new room could be a mediation room, exercise room, or a board game room. So because I was in a lab that studies stress and obesity, I picked board game room because I have no freaking idea why. I knew they wanted to hear mediation room because they are so into de-stressing, but I think meditation is stupid and frustrating so I picked board games because I love some friendly competition. I told them I thought it would foster my employees strategies and healthy competition and hopefully give my employees new perspective. I tried to make my stupid answer look less stupid but I don’t think I succeeded because I followed up with the ever unprofessional “and I just really like board games” which is not a reason to build a new room onto your company.
So basically I wasted a day driving to and from College Station to interview for a job that I wouldn’t accept even in the unlikely circumstance that I was the only person who applied for the job and get it because I was their only option when I could’ve spent time in my own lab doing the type of hard science that I think can eventually change lives for the better.