The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “careers”

Third and Fourth Interviews

I’ve done two other informational interviews since the other two.  One did not involve the phone and was in-person with my teacher who is also a career counselor, but that was a great experience as well.  I had a wonderful time speaking with her and her assistant and we connected really well.  We talked a full half hour and could have easily gone longer if she hadn’t gotten a knock on her door from someone waiting for a counseling appointment with her.  There were a lot of laughs and smiles and I felt a lot closer to her and her assistant after the interview.  And for the first time career counseling or counseling in general sparked an interest in me.  I’d never given it too much thought before and just kind of dismissed it but after talking with them it’s something I would consider now.

The other interview I did was with my close blogging friend Barb who I met through this project.  She’s a psychologist and has written several self-help books so I was interested in learning more about her career path.  I was a little nervous to call her because we had only emailed in the past, but it went great and was just like talking to her through email.  I felt like we had spoken before on the phone and like she was a family member or something.  So it was nice that we were so comfortable talking on the phone.  What she said about making a difference in some of her clients’ lives and being later told by them, “this was all possible because of you” really touched me and I thought that was awesome.

Both interviews went really well and I enjoyed talking with each of them about their career journeys.  Doing these interviews has been pretty exciting for me and I feel like I’m on a high after each one, much like how I would feel after I struck up conversations with strangers in previous months.  I’m getting a lot out of these interviews and have enjoyed learning more about various careers and connecting with the people who work in these fields.

Second Informational Interview

There could be a number of posts on the calls I made to get to my second informational interview, but I will just cut to the chase here as time is running out. I got to speak with an Occupational Therapist this time, which was great. The first interview I did had been with a Physical Therapist and had been an in-person one. This time, however, it worked out best for the Occupational Therapist that I do a phone interview, so I agreed to that. I thought it would be a lot harder to do a phone interview because you have to hold the phone with one hand and write with the other. But as it turns out, it wasn’t hard to do this and I actually enjoyed this phone interview more than the in-person interview! We managed to connect well on the phone and she was very friendly. After talking with her and her secretary at the clinic several times, we finally arranged to do the interview on Saturday at 2pm.

Saturday came along, and I wasn’t too nervous, but the interview was definitely on my mind. I had a good peaceful morning though, as this was the same day I tried meditation. At 2pm I paced a little, then sat down and called. She answered, and I said who I was again and asked if this was still a good time to talk. To my surprise, she had completely forgotten about the interview! She said she had to pick up her son and asked if I could call back at 4pm instead. So I said that was fine and agreed to call her back then, reassuring her that I wanted to do whatever was most convenient for her. We hung up, then I started making a late lunch for myself. All that nervousness beforehand had been for nothing. I’d have to wait another two hours and call her again.

But then, maybe a mere 10 minutes later, my phone rang! My heart jumped! It couldn’t be her could it? I checked the number and it was her. What was she calling for? I answered and she said that her son didn’t need a ride after all, and that we could talk now if that would be ok. I said that would be fine, and sat down and got out my notebook and pen. I held the phone in my left hand while I wrote with my right. I went over the purpose of the interview again and how long it might take. After the first interview I learned that the timing really depended on the person and while I had expected 20 minutes or so the first time, the reality had been about 10 minutes. I usually ask about 10 questions so people can choose how fully they want to respond and won’t feel like they’re being bombarded with questions. So I asked her each of my questions and she was really thorough so we probably talked about 20 minutes.  The conversation went smoothly as I responded to her replies. I’m sure I did speak a little fast at first with some of my questions and had to clarify one, but other than that it went well and was helpful. I asked her if I could shadow her sometime and she said I probably could if I called the clinic to arrange it.

Her interview was very helpful. I’m glad I’m doing these interviews because they not only help me with my phone phobia, but they also help me learn more about the careers I’m interested in. There are some things you just can’t get from a website or book and hearing personal experiences has been an awesome experience for me.

Overcoming Phone Phobia

I’ve never been a big fan of the phone.  In fact, I’d rather drive out miles and miles to talk to someone in person rather than have to call them.

I’ve never really understood why the phone brought me so much anxiety. How was it different than going up and talking to someone?

Well, with the phone, there is no face-to-face contact.  You can’t use your expressions, you can’t use your gestures, and communication relies solely on your voice.

And often times when you call a person or company, you don’t know quite what to expect.  Are you going to reach the person you were calling for?  Are you going to reach a secretary?  Are you going to reach the voicemail?  There’s an element of the unknown with making phone calls, which can build fear.

And what if you stumble on your words or mix up what you were going to say?  What if your nervousness shows?

Those are just some of the many fears I’ve had before, and that many people with phone anxiety experience.  Are these worries rational?  No.  But are they there?  Yes.

So what do you do about them?  How can you calm your fears and make the call?

That’s what I’m hoping to find some more about.  If I can find ways that help me reduce my phone anxiety, then maybe those ways can help others too.

My personal plan to confront my phone anxiety is to call a variety of professionals and companies to ask for permission to do informational interviews.  I’m interested in learning more about the careers I’m researching and I’ve always wanted to do this, but could never find the courage.

My main areas of interest currently are occupational therapy, psychology, counseling, and writing.  I will make phone calls to find people in at least a majority of those careers.  I believe this will allow me to acquire valuable information about these careers that I couldn’t otherwise gain from a website or book.

Since my main fear is with calling people I don’t know or people I haven’t talked to on the phone much, I believe this approach will help me the most. I don’t experience anxiety when I am calling people I talk to on the phone regularly, like any of my family members and some of my close friends.  I think the anxiety interferes most when I have to call a company or call someone with authority.

This is my personal experience and it may be different from yours.  If you have any related fears or if any of this makes you nervous too, please tell me about it in the comments!  I’d love to hear your experience.  Wish me luck!

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