I'm not talking about criticism, which I've already addressed. It's the misplaced well-intentions of others as they try to "help" you which irritates me, as there doesn't seem to be a polite way to adequately quash their ill-advised advice.
This isn't whining against blanket statement advice such as 'follow your dreams' or 'just be yourself'. Instead, it's the times when middle-aged stay-at-home wives who haven't had a job in ten years try to critique my resume. I hope I'm not being facetious when I say that I don't quite place so much stock into the resume changes.
The impetus behind this post is the occurences of discussions I've had with friends who've been forced unsolicited advice during job interviews. A friend of mine was randomly told that she needed to improve her posture. Another friend had arrived the appropriate 15 minutes before her interview, but as soon as she sat down with her interviewer, the prospective employer was unimpressed: 'You should always try to arrive at least 40 minutes before an interview because that shows initiative'.
Awhile back, I had a face-to-face with somebody for a part-time position (all these other interviews in NYC are adding up in train tickets!). At the end of what I had thought was a great discussion, the lady declared out of the blue her intent to give me 'tips for my next interviews'.
What happened next was an onslaught of horrifyingly ridiculous and outdated guidance. It was so bad that every single person I have recounted the episode to was speechless.
Here are some of her nuggets of wisdom:
1. I'd mentioned being on the Board of Trustees in passing only once, and in specific reference to one of her questions. 'I know you are very, very, very, very, very proud of being on the board of whatever, but you talked about it too many times. I just want to tell you that some people might get jealous -- not me, I'm over 50 and I don't care --but some people might get jealous'.
2. 'You used the phrase 'as you can see from my resume' a few times. Don't do that. That puts pressure on me when you say 'as you can see' because then you're assuming that I've read your resume. Now you're making me actually read your resume. It's just too much pressure'.
3. 'You need to smile more'.
4. 'You shouldn't dress so formally'. I was wearing a black blazer, pink blouse, and red-colored jeans. This was for a part-time position and my first meeting with her.
5. 'Don't speak so formally! Talk to me like we are close friends'. I mean, depending on the friend, I can slip from a manic pixie dream girl to frat boy extra in a Seth Rogen comedy to boarding school, Pimms-in-the-summer lilt. But this is a job interview.
...and the grand finale!
6. 'When you write thank you cards, put your business card in the envelope. And also put one of those scratch-off lottery tickets in the envelope, too, because it's cute and who doesn't love money? Especially winning free money. I guarantee you'll get attention'.
Of course, I'm not saying I am on a pedestal as someone who consistently gives out stellar advice. Nor do I want to make it seem as though all of her advice was trash -- to be fair, some of those tidbits of 'wisdom' could be applied in other situations, just not that current one a week ago.
So again: what's a girl to do?