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Ben & Jerry’s. The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Tumblr. What do all of these things have in common?
They all strike me and strip me down to the floor. They suck the energy out of me – and I let them do so. Simply put, they are my weaknesses.
Okay, so they aren’t that bad, but they aren’t completely good, either. The good thing is that it’s easy for me to point out what I naturally cling to. However, in a business environment, it’s not as easy of a question to answer.
This past winter, I had an interview for an internship at a website I would’ve given up all three of those weaknesses for; a website that I looked up to, both in personal interest and in the future of my career. I knew this was an interview I had to be prepared for. It was a competitive internship position – paid, even – that many, many kids were on the prowl for.
The conversation was off to a good start. Much like a normal interview, I talked about my interest in the company, the work I was doing at the time, all those typical points. But it took a turn when I was met with the question “What is your biggest weakness?”
Here, I couldn’t say that I bowed down to ice cream and Bravo. But being the prepared young professional I am, I did have an answer rehearsed. Sadly, it was one of my poorer decisions.
I had heard once in a TV show where a character was giving interview advice to someone else (or someone might’ve actually told this to me, but I’m sort of glad I can’t remember now), and something I took out of it was if an interviewer asked for your biggest weakness to give it a positive spin. For example, “I pay too much attention to detail!” “I’m a perfectionist!”
That was exactly what I said in this live questioning and the look on my interviewer’s face was priceless. She smiled and I could see her bounce like she was trying to cover up a chuckle. As soon as I saw that, I felt like choking and tried to justify myself. It wasn’t so bad, but it definitely wasn’t one of my proud moments.
Currently, I’m reading #GIRLBOSS, and NastyGal CEO Sophia Amoruso only confirms what I did was totally stupid. She says that if you give an answer like the ones above (I really just would rather not repeat them), you’re not being completely honest with yourself. It’s almost like you’re trying to disguise an actual problem. “A #GIRLBOSS knows where she excels and where she could use some work,” she explains, “so get to know yourself and your weaknesses.”
Ms. Amoruso hits it right on the nail. After that experience, I really pinned down what my faults were in a business setting. As negative of an activity as it may sound, try to uncover what your problem areas are – and then use that as fuel to improve. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting that you have one. And no, my Ben & Jerry’s addiction is not a problem, as much as my friends, family and Duane Reade cashier may tell me…