Quantcast

How Code-Switching During My Interviews Actually Hurt Me In The Long Run

These carefully crafted responses and quirks that got me the job were not my own.

Her Voice

If you look up the dictionary definition of "code-switching", you'll find it described as "the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation." However, for me, it was more than going from AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) to Standard American English. It meant a complete personality and appearance overhaul. Code-switching is expected to some degree by prospective employers, but I was creating unreasonably high standards for myself that I failed over and over again to live up to.

66.media.tumblr.com

Full disclosure: I was a serial job hopper.

Unlike most people who probably dread the interview process but thrive in their profession, I am the complete opposite. Interviewing is a high for me akin to an Esports player reaching the highest score possible in their favorite video game. I would apply to jobs I had no interest in just to challenge myself. I loved researching the company, specific departments, and their executives. I'd scour social media to see if there are any photos of the employees in the office so that I'd know exactly how to dress. I'd ignore any red flags like negative press and unfavorable employee reviews because job-hopping can put a dent in your wallet and I needed financial stability.

The company's Instagram, Twitter, and Glassdoor pages helped me craft exactly the right answers and verbiage to use. I was a real-life workforce Barbie who at the change of an outfit could transform into whoever I thought I needed to be. If my interviewer mentioned liking some activity or artist, I loved it too. Despite living across the country from my tight-knit family who celebrated all holidays and special events together, I'd tell them I was a workaholic who didn't mind coming to the office on Christmas and New Year's Eve. I'd receive an offer letter with a potential start date shortly after walking out of my interview. There was only one problem:

These carefully crafted responses, outfits, and quirks that got me the job were not my own.

images.squarespace-cdn.com

I had mastered the art of creating the ideal employee. It was easy to keep the facade going for a few rounds of interviews, but I eventually became emotionally exhausted. I had always been qualified for the position I accepted but my disposition and the quality of my work would start to suffer. I would be bombarded with questions about the sudden change. My work friends and manager would voice their concerns, thinking that something must be wrong. There was nothing wrong. They were just beginning to meet the real me. A version of the real me whose self-esteem had whittled away almost completely as a result of each failed attempt to find fulfillment by pretending to be anyone other than myself.

Usually, at this point, I would conclude that I had picked the wrong field or company. At my last job, it finally clicked that the problem might lie within me. After searching for answers to my dilemma, I found that journaling helped. I recognized the pattern and what triggered my sudden shift in mood. Most of my jobs became unbearable around the same timeframe. I noticed that suppressing my personality had become unbearable by the second month at most of the places I had worked. I knew that the best thing for me after this realization would be to hand in my two weeks' and continue the self-exploration process.

www.europelanguagecafe.com

Instead of hopping right back into the job search, I took some time to reflect. I took accountability for the actions that led to me being chronically unhappy in all my previous positions. I always knew I had the skills on paper to excel in the role, but I never felt that who I was as a person was good enough to land the gig. I realized that I had never given my real self a chance. I felt that my idealized persona was more socially acceptable. Acing every interview only further supported this belief. The reception I received from my previous colleagues after my mood shift was not because there was anything wrong with me. They just noticed a drastic change. If the roles were reversed, I might be confused as well.

I've since stopped code-switching completely and have taken a different approach to research a company.

Now, when I investigate, I make sure that the company's values are in line with mine, maintain a high retention rate, and employees are compensated fairly. My next interview outfit will reflect my style and any rapport built with my interviewer will be genuine. This may have adverse effects but I know that any job offer I don't receive due to not being the best-fit personality-wise will save me time and suffering.

Being true to yourself is more rewarding than any fleeting external validation.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

Featured image by Shutterstock

You know what? Sometimes, you've got to push a few coins aside and determine in your mind that you're going to invest into your sex life (if you had a sex jar, this would be easier to do, by the way. You can read more about what that is all about here). If you're someone who is totally down to do that, but you don't have a clue where to begin, boy have you come to the right place! Between the joy of being a writer who sometimes gets samples sent to me, the constant research that I do for the couples I work with and having folks shout-out certain items semi-often, I've compiled a list of 12 sex-related items that may seem random AF (a pun is kind of intended there) and, at the same time, can make sex so much better between you and your partner. Where's your pad at? You're definitely gonna wanna take note.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about someone who once told me that they had an annual week-long summer rendezvous that lasted for over 15 years with someone else. Yep — this individual would meet up with another person who lived in a different state, solely to have sex for a week straight, and then return to their city as if nothing ever happened. According to them, the only reason why this ritual romp eventually came to an end is because the other person decided to get serious about someone else; however, it wasn't until it ended that the person who told me the story realized how attached they actually had become to their sex partner (a cautionary tale). After I completed my lil' tale, my friend simply said, "Oh, I do that s — t every cuffing season. There are some people who I only talk to around this time of year, we f — k around and then that's that until the season comes around again."

Keep reading... Show less

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks about love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

When it comes to sexuality, there have always been societal limitations centered on what is "acceptable." However, with more honest conversations about how fluid sexuality and sexual expression can be, now there are so many more opportunities for self-exploration and taking back ownership of our identities again. One couple that is living their truth and being sexual beings unapologetically while living and loving their lives are Jasmine Johnson and King Noire.

Keep reading... Show less

I'm so excited because one of my favorite unscripted shows is back. OWN's Ready to Love is a dating series that follows professionals over 30, looking for long-lasting relationships. Hosted by Nephew Tommy, it follows singles who desire true connections and are grouped together to find them.

Keep reading... Show less

Social media influencer and actress Tabitha Brown has garnered viral fame through her inspirational and vegan videos on Instagram, thanks to her cheerful personality and infectious smile. Now, she is entering a new phase in her life as an author. The 42-year-old released Feeding the Soul on Sept. 28 and recently shared an emotional video of herself after finding out her book was number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Jill Scott Talks Balance, 'Highway To Heaven' & Not Burning Herself Out To Produce

In this exclusive, the actress dishes on executive producing the reboot, and balancing business and motherhood.

Latest Posts