My First Corporate Job Interview In 1981

Posted by Aryae Coopersmith on Feb 7, 2019
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This week's Awakin reading brought to mind my very first job interview in high-tech.

It was for a job in corporate sales in Silicon Valley in 1981. They didn't have LinkedIn then, but same idea. I had previously been teaching at a community college, and I had a small business called Right Livelihood Workshops. But I needed to change after my daughter was born, because the income stream wasn't quite what I needed it to be. So I thought, okay, I'll apply to a tech company in Silicon Valley and try corporate sales. Why not? I knew how to do career workshops and good job search techniques, and had coached others in writing resumes and doing job interviews. So now, my task was to create a story about myself -- the story of how what I've done all my life has really led me to this job: corporate sales and computer technology!

So I had that new story in my head, wrote my resume, and walked into the job interview. I walk in and there was a woman a couple of years younger than me, but I knew her reputation. She was a very top level sales manager.

She looks at my resume -- you know, community college, a small business. She asks, "Have you ever sold anything?" And I say no. Then she asks, "You have experience in technology?" And I say no. Then she asks, "Well, then, you must've had other kinds of corporate jobs?" And I say, "No, actually I haven't."

Somehow, without really planning it, I had just decided I was going to be me for this whole interview. I mean, it was crazy. Instead of being that person on the resume, I was just going to be me.

So she looks at me point blank and asks, "So, why do you think I should hire you?"

Rather spontaneously, I reached in my pocket. I pulled out my wallet and gave her the picture of my daughter, who at that time was a year and a half old.

As she looks at it, I explain: "When I was growing up, my father, whose parents were immigrants, worked very hard so I could have the opportunity for a good life. I want to give my daughter the same opportunity that I had."

This woman looks at the picture, and then she looks at me. "Okay," she says, "you're hired."

It turned out well. I became the number one sales rep out of a sales force of hundreds, and earned some good money for myself and for her. And I ended up with a very satisfying career in high-tech for decades.

While arriving, all of us are also in constant transition. We contain a multitude of stories and capacities.

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Comments (2)

  • Richard Whittaker wrote ...

    Wow. What a great story, Aryae!

  • Micky O'Toole wrote ...

    Love is powerful motivation. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad that young woman saw you so clearly. =) ♥.