I have agonized over my resume, making sure it works with my preferred companies’ applicant tracking systems (ATS, for those in the know). That alone has been making my anxiety spike. I’ve been throwing my resume to anyone who might have that job they want to throw at me. I’ve been digitally rubbing elbows at zoom calls, through friends, any way I can get that job lead.

So far, it’s lead to some leads and since we’re still dealing with COVID-19, it’s all digital interviewing. Instead of white-boarding, I am now coding in shared notepads, Google docs, shared code sites, you name it. Some of the interviews are phone + one of the above and others are in a video chat + one of the above. It is amazing how nerve-wracking it it is to turn on a camera and let a complete stranger into your home. My friends without my levels of anxiety have confirmed that the video chatting would cause them some anxiety spikes, too, so, oddly, that’s a bit comforting.

So, what am I doing to reduce that anxeity? Here we go:

Since this is in my home, I’m interviewing barefoot so I can bounce my legs, push my feet into the floor and stay grounded as I feel the familiar feeling of the wood slats and the crossbars of the gate-wing table I use as my desk. If I were to interview in an actual office, I’d be practicing in the exact shoes and socks that I’d be wearing in that interview.

I am sitting in front of a camera with a ring light that is pointed at me as I practice leetcode and take general js courses to make sure I know the latest and greatest. Let’s normalize hanging out in front of a camera enough that I don’t feel intimidated. Let’s keep it foreign enough that I’m not about to pick my nose or adjust my bra in front of it… I mean, who would do that? Not me… nope… weird that anyone suggested it.

Wherever the camera can see is SPOTLESS. Wherever the camera can’t see is … not. By any stretch of the imagination. I’m working on this, slowly. There is absolutely nothing in the camera’s view that can distract me if I see it. Except me but we’re working on normalizing that part.

I am practicing talking out loud while I code. This is surprisingly difficult. I’m learning not to type what I say but type the code that represents what I’m saying. How’s that for a skill?

I am practicing saying, “Oh! Thanks for the heads up!” if I am interrupted by the interviewer. I am practicing how to say, “You know, I’m uncertain about that part, right now, so I’m going to write a function named what I want to do and I’ll come back to it after my brain has time to work on it and see if I can’t flesh that out.” It’s okay to say “I don’t know”. It’s encouraged by some places. My anxiety doesn’t like saying it. Obviously, I should be perfect when doing something I’ve never done before, according to my anxiety.

I recorded myself in a mock interview. I did my hair and makeup. I wore what I’d wear to a regular interview. I had my lighting. I had another person drill me on a challenge. I shared my screen. I shared my video. Guess who says, “um, uh, err…” a lot. Like A LOT of a lot. Guess who slouches and cocks her head to the side a ton like a dog raising it’s ear. Guess who goes weirdly silent. Guess who wrinkles her nose when thinking. Guess who questions herself. Guess who is typing this. ME. IT’S ME. Guess who is now working on those things. STILL ME. Guess who didn’t swear like a sailor while coding! I know! I surprised myself on that one!

Please wish me luck as I attempt to convince a company they should hire me.