I had a job interview today and the last question threw me a bit. He asked:
What in your current or previous jobs are you hoping to avoid in your next job?
I paused a long time to answer. For one thing, “avoiding” doesn’t sound like it typically would be a good employee quality to have. Especially not with “and other duties as assigned” being a common catchall — or maybe a common gotcha — in job descriptions. But also, I don’t tend to think in terms of avoidance. I mean, I would like to avoid the usual; hunger, homelessness, illness, etc. But tasks are what they are and if something needs to be done, avoidance doesn’t take away that need.
I paused for a long time, a maybe interview-crippling long time. But I think the answer I ended up giving was a good one and was actually more true than the interviewer might ever realize.
I said I hoped to avoid stagnation.
In context of work, it means striving to learn new things, pick up new skills, advance one’s career, and so on building upon et cetera ad infinitum. But I meant it moving beyond a work maxim, though, and into a Weltanschauung where life far too often seems like one giant, twisted mass of averaged-out stagnation: the distance between birth and death divided by the giganormity of the universe times all the moments before and after that you weren’t, aren’t and won’t be.
It’s a tad overwhelming. Underwhelming, too, from a different point of view.
But despite the absurdist-friendly math, growth is the only thing we have to combat the absurdity of it all; for the alternative to growth will eventually happen of its own accord, making actively choosing such an option redundant.
I try to avoid redundancy, too, which is stagnation’s sister.
I didn’t mention her in the job interview and now I’m no longer thinking about the job interview anyway and thinking more about my life as it is right now.
Earlier in the week, I had a better job interview; that is, for a better job. The kind of better, quasi-writing-but-still-writing job I got excited about when someone gave me a lead on it and became even more excited when that lead-turned-live-contact gave me a chance to prove myself worthy of that opportunity with a test of sorts.
But the excitement couldn’t be shared as at that exact same point in time, other, less pleasant circumstances manifested and dominated. That was okay, though, as I reckoned there would still be excitement enough left afterwards to make such insensitive-to-the-events-at-hand expression unnecessary.
But I ended up mucking the test up.
So that excitement moment disintegrated unshared under the weight of the subsequent dismal moment. Both those moments are gone now, as is the one in which you read this sentence.
I feel like I’m in a maddening holding pattern that is a first cousin of stagnation and redundancy; dull isotopes of decaying moments.
Like this one.