Over thinking an unexpected opportunity.
Through an unanticipated series of events, I had a job interview last week. It would be a promotion but mean moving to a new show. (The show I am currently on would understand taking the opportunity.) I haven’t had a job interview in maybe 5 years, since I have been brought on to new shows by people who already know me. This whole thing was a bit of a surprise. On top of that, I don’t interview well and I’m out of practice.
I didn’t get confirmation of the interview until the last minute. Actually, I didn’t get confirmation of it at all. I got a text message saying they were delayed and would be ready in 5 minutes. Apparently I had not received the Zoom invitation. I had decided to dress for an interview, even though I didn’t have confirmation. I was ready in that respect, but otherwise I had 5 minutes to “prepare”…
I have always disliked interviews but I’ve gotten better at them, for the most part. Actually, I prefer to interview rather than just be judged on my resume and demo reel. This gives me a chance to dodge some disadvantages.
You would think a demo reel would be a good representation of an editor’s level of ability, but it’s frequently just a demonstration of the quality of the shows you’ve worked on. You could do a fantastic editing job on a mediocre show and it will still look… mediocre. Demo reels are most useful if you can drop shots of recognizable actors or popular shows that will give the viewer a warm, fuzzy feeling. That’s not to say a demo reel can’t be good or bad, better or worse, or that it means nothing, but it’s not as objective as you might think.
There’s a similar problem with resumes. Resumes seem like a good representation of skill and talent, but more literally they are a representation of what opportunity you’ve had previously. People who’ve had previous opportunities will be rewarded with new opportunities. Which, again, is not to say they don’t mean something but they aren’t as objective and comprehensive as we’d like to think.
The resume question brings up a general ASD issue. Do I really believe I face some kind of systemic disadvantage due to ASD? If I do believe that, it will be baked into my resume and demo reel. I have always believed my resume does not demonstrate my full level of ability. Is that coincidental or personal? Or is it about ASD and something systemic? This question is challenging because my gut feeling is it’s at the core of the ASD employment experience. Whether I can prove that convincingly, I don’t know. But generally I like to be interviewed so I have a chance to talk my way around conventional expectations.
And that’s the essence of the resume problem for me. My resume mostly flags me as unconventional. I have an unconventional career path; broad and nonlinear. I believe this is common for people with ASD. It’s a toss up how an employer will respond to it.
Incidentally, my ideal employment scenario is to have the chance to show what I can do. That is, get around all assumptions and conventional expectations and just get to execute.
I don’t really know the answer to the systemic disadvantage question. I don’t believe that I am “discriminated against”. If I am flagged as unconventional is that unfair, or merely a fact? I have always believed, since I was a teenager, that I tend to get factored out for being different, not what is expected, and there is always somebody else who is a simpler, easier, more conventional choice.
Somewhat to my surprise, the interview turned out to be easy. Everyone was friendly and professional. There were no trick questions or moments of paranoia. There were no obtuse psychological profile “gotcha” questions. They liked my broad, unconventional range of experience. Whether or not I get the job (which I won’t find out for a week or so), it was at least a positive experience. Actually, it was the most positive interview experience I’ve had in a long time, even for jobs I got. So either way I’ll chalk it up as a win.