Next week, I’ll have gone four months without a full-time job. Thanks to my tax return, some part-time and freelance work, and a very understanding fiancé, I’ve managed.
But as our wedding date approaches (13 days! Ack!) I just can’t dedicate enough time to finding a job. It’s a catch-22, because, um, weddings are expensive. I wonder: Would I have been more stressed by balancing wedding responsibilities and a full-time workload than I am by freaking out about money?
I mentioned, all the way back in January, that I’d applied for some jobs that weren’t directly related to my experience. One was a position at Apple retail. I applied on a whim because it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I’m proud of the number of people I’ve “evangelized” to Mac over the years, and I’d probably run into a burning building to save my iPhone, Tammy 2. (Yes, that’s a Parks & Recreation reference and yes, I name all my gadgets. Including my car, Sallie.) Maybe if I’d acted on that dream in college I’d be in a different place, but better late than never, right?
I’d all but forgotten the application until a few weeks ago, when I got an email inviting me to an Apple hiring event. I RSVPed to a session and showed up 15 minutes early, dressed in business casual per the invitation. There were about 30 applicants and I assume the other two sessions had the same number of folks.
Apple Store employees from various positions — Specialist, Expert, Genius, Business, Creative, and management — hosted. We put on nametags and introduced ourselves with a “fun fact” about ourselves and a reason we want to work at Apple.
“Why do you want to work here?” is the kind of question that only works for a company like Apple. Responses ranged from fanboy to slightly absurd but there wasn’t a single person who said “Errr, ah, I just need a job,” even if I suspected that was true for some.
I talked about how much I love discovering the cool things my devices (don’t worry; I did not refer to them by their names) can do and the tasks they help me perform, and that I think it’d be fun to share those discoveries every day at work.
The hosts talked about the positions and products. Then we watched a video about the culture at Apple retail. They asked what we took from the video.
“Apple really cares about its employees!” “Everybody is happy to go to work!” I think everyone in the group raised his or her hand, except for me. I just couldn’t think of anything that hadn’t already been said. I think all the videos I watched as a trainer at Chili’s back in the day ruined me. “Great, I blew it,” I thought.
But then we split up into groups where we were each given a card with a hypothetical customer’s needs on it. We were then to say what we would recommend for that customer and why.
Pardon me for boasting, but I crushed it.
The event wrapped with a question-and-answer session, and we filled out information sheets: what products do you have, what is your availability, etc. They said they would be in touch in the next week to let us know if we’d been selected for an interview.
The whole thing lasted about an hour and 45 minutes.
They said they have very few openings to fill, and of course I’ve read the bit about it being easier to get in at Stanford. Cult of Mac said “During the seminar it’s helpful to raise your hand on every question and act super excited about everything Apple.” I definitely geek out when I get to talking about stuff that interests me but I don’t have a switch I can flip to just turn that on. So I didn’t expect to make it to the next round.
But I got an email informing me I and about 15 others had been selected to participate in a group interview. I’m still waiting to hear when and with whom I’ll be interviewing.