Where’s your heart?
One of the only interview questions that I really loathe is this: What are your long term goals? I always want to give a flippant answer, because I think it’s a flippant question. How do you sum up your long term goals, your pursuits, your desires, your passions about life in an interview? What does he want to hear? I know the question is directed towards the issue of commitment. Employees are an investment. It is hard to find someone you are comfortable with and you think will excel at the position; but once you do, you spend money to train them. You don’t want to hire someone, invest in training them, establish a great working relationship, and then have them waltz off after four months to pursue some deep, hidden desire of their heart. I get that. What I don’t get is why the question can’t be straight. Why not ask: Employment is at-will, and we understand that nothing is permanent; but do you feel this is a job you can commit to for the long-term? Or ask: Can you think of anything that might hinder you from committing to this company?
I guess I’m being too nit-picky. There’s nothing wrong with the question as is, and I suppose it does tell the interviewer something about your life and what kind of person you are. My irritation with the question is–I’m sure–nothing more than my inability to find a suitable answer for it. Without fail, every time an interviewer asks me that, my response begins with, “Uhm…that’s a good question.” And then I am trapped in a moment of internal loathing because at that exact moment, Tom Suchenek somehow knows that I’ve said the word “uhm,” and is docking points off of my grade for hesitating when I should be speaking. He is the Uhm God, and you cannot hide your Uhms from him. That’s how the game works, I think. But inevitably, I say something that I will entirely regret once I’ve left the interview; or I don’t say enough. Today’s sin was an omission: while I expressed that eventually I would like to finish my degree, I failed to say the important part about doing that one class at a time if I needed to, or scheduling evening classes so I was free to work. AGH! Silly girl, am I.
But the more I think about my disdain for the question about long-term goals, the more I realize that I simply don’t have an answer because I haven’t set any long-term goals for myself. And how humiliating is that? Oh yes–quite. A young woman (and I emphasize the word young) such as I should have at least a couple of really good long-term and short-term goals. So why haven’t I any? Why does it evoke such a fear in me to even think about goals? And what am I so afraid of?
That’s right. You thought this blog was going nowhere, didn’t you? It’s okay to admit it. I know I tend to ramble when I blog (especially when I’m tired–but thank the Uhm God, I have a latte to inspire me this morning).
Switch gears with me for a moment. I had the great delight of spending yesterevening with two of my closest and oldest friends. Jenn and I went out earlier in the evening, and then I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Angie. Both of these women are incredible, intelligent, funny, kind, generous, ambitious, and determined. What I heard from both of them was an odd combination of longing and fear. The desires that drive these women are not simple matters. They are deep, they are heavy, and they are enormous. And somehow, these desires fit inside of their hearts! That alone tells you something about these women. Instead of collapsing under the weight of their desires (as I have), they have grown enough to support them. In spite of their accomplishments and successes already, somehow, they still second-guess their heart; they still fear they will choose wrongly; they are still afraid to hope for the things they desire.
I was telling Jenn yesterday that I think it’s okay to be afraid and to be realistic, but that we have to dare to dream. We have to dare to follow our heart wherever She wants to take us. I’m not saying we should pursue everything we “want,” but that we should know our desires, our passions, and we should not be hindered by a sense of impossibility. It used to be impossible to walk on the moon. It used to be impossible to fly. It used to be impossible to give a man a new heart. Society doesn’t change by small dreamers. We are shaped, formed, propelled forward by those who dream impossible dreams and refuse to accept that there is nothing more to life than what we’ve already seen or experienced.
I am blessed to be the sister-friend of several men and women who have enormous, outrageous, impossible dreams. Each one has faced his own fear, his own folly, his own inability, and has pursued his dreams all the more. These are world changers. These are the shapers of the Church, of culture, of families, of reality. So I ask you, blog viewer: what are your goals? What are your dreams? Where is your heart? Are you changed by the world, or is the world changed by you?
I will contemplate this matter for myself today, and I will anoint it with ink and guitar strings. When I return, I will share my goals and dreams with you. If you laugh, I will count myself in good company.
Post.Script: Coincidentally, the Uhm God is also the Dilly Bean God if memory serves me correctly. How’s that for outrageous dreams? Keep changing the world, Tom.