Sunday, November 9, 2014

"You Don't Look Like Someone Who Can Raise Millions"...and Other Crazy Things I Have Heard

The job search can be painful, even when you have a job and you are looking to move up in your industry.  Painful is an understatement. It can be downright soul crushing if you let it.  NO, I am not searching for a new gig at this time, but I certainly have had my share of nightmare interviews.  Some I have begged to get and then been sorry I had.  Some can be life-altering, for the good and for the bad.  My worst interview experience became the birth of my multi-million dollar revenue generating career. 

I was working at non-profit that helped mentally ill children.  It was gut-wrenching every day.  I watched parents and sometimes grandparents come into the center with all the belongings of their little loved one in trashbags with notes attached that said things like " We will not be returning for little Billy today.  We are just too scared of him".  I literally would sit in my office with tears in my eyes because I knew these young souls were suffering.  It was too much for me.  I am not proud to admit it, but we must know our limitations and mine is children suffering.  It renders me unable to function.  So started the job search.

Resume updated and on the fax to several organizations a week, I found myself in a position many know well, successful- yet getting no call backs.  That in and of itself was a shot to the old confidence.  I did not really want the jobs I was applying for, but I wanted them to want me. 

Finally, I found one open position at a big Philadelphia based non-profit that was right up my alley- empowering people to rise up and succeed.  Hooray!  I zipped that resume off with the quickness(yes, I am a young professional of the 90's- this term was used often). Then I proceeded to call EVERY day and leave messages for the hiring supervisor.  First call, I did the obligatory check in on the receipt of the resume.  Check- they got it.  Second day, second call, I left a message thanking the hiring manager for considering me.  Calls 3 and 4 were spent espousing the virtue of my experience.  Call 5, the hiring manager got on the phone and invited me for an interview.  SCORE!

I went and had my hair cut and my brows waxed(cmon- I am Italian, we are hairy).  Suit was pressed and new stockings purchased..  Yes, I was looking super profesh and ready to go be hired.  Who wouldn't hire me? I was fantastic with a list of successes in the region and an equally long list of corporate folks that would undoubtedly come with me on my new adventure.  I was half an hour early for my interview.

Into the office I went, with my best smile and 17 copies of my resume.  You can never be prepared enough.  In walks the hiring manager.  Mid-40's, dark hair, small glasses, she resembled me as I am today.  I thought, "I got this, she looks like me, we are going to hit it off".  I proceed to stand to shake her hand and hand her a copy of my resume on the watermark paper- you know fancy schmancy style.  The hiring manager looked me dead in the eye and said she would not be hiring me because I did not look like someone who could raise millions of dollars and represent the charity in the community.  Gut punch.  No air was getting into my lungs.  I had not even started to tell her how fabulous I am.  I stuttered out one question, "Why did you invite me to interview?".  Her answer stayed with me for years.  "You were the only candidate to call to ensure I got your resume.".  WHAT?  I tried to keep it together and push a little bit, but she was more than sure that I was not the candidate for her organization.

In the hallway, I fought back tears as I went to my car.  Then in the car I cried for 10 minutes before I started my drive back over the bridge.  I could of let that moment in time define who I was going forward.  Instead, I decided to take it as a challenge and show her and everyone else exactly how to raise millions of dollars and represent organizations across the region.

If you do not know me, I have raised literally tens of millions of dollars in my career and helped literally thousands of people.  Some day, our paths will cross again, me and that hiring manager and I will have my Pretty Woman moment where I tell her she made a big mistake- huge.

For now, I will tell this story and share with you, my reader, that only YOU define YOU.  People say and do stupid things to other people for sure.  It is how you take what they say and do and transform yourself that makes the difference.  It is okay to cry- I do it all the time, but then put on the big girl pants and shake it off. Show them who YOU REALLY ARE- on your terms. 


  1. I can only say WOW as you always wow me with the blatant and honest you.. Something I struggle all the time to accept. ME and how powerful and awesome I am. I continue to work on that. You,Nicole , give me constant reinforcement and encouragement. I adore, admire and respect the s**t out of you. Thanks for another Notorious Nicole Nugget !

  2. Stella, my friend, it is you that is inspirational.

  3. Love this to the moon and back!