Sunday, December 20, 2009

Adventures in Transition: Inadequacy Edition

Hola, ducks! Did you know that I'm currently between positions? Yes, tis true that I work as a consultant when not writing pithy internet ramblings. But while I was out in California, I lost my main client in a move of wonderful class upon their part. Wev. Anyway, did you know we are in a recession, despite what the economic gurus tell us? I sure do--I'm reminded of it daily as I watch my bank balances dwindle! And also, have I mentioned that I seem to be getting depression for Christmas! And now you are too, if you've read this far?

This is all preamble.

So, okay. I had an interview on Friday. Which didn't go so well...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start again.

So I had an interview on Friday. It was my third interview with these people, but the first one that would be face-to-face; I had survived two phone interviews prior to this, and passed the little "mess around with this database" test they'd sent me with flying colors.

That in itself is an accomplishment of sorts--not the application thing, I do that for a living after all; the phone interview bit. Now, you may not know this, but there's only one kind of transsexual whose voice is helped by transitioning, and I am not that kind of a transsexual! Or to put it more bluntly, estrogen doesn't do anything to your voice. (Testosterone will, so FTMs get a break there, but--as I well know--the effects are permanent.)

So back when I was transitioning--actually, just before I was sure I was going to transition--I began to work with an actress who gave voice lessons on finding a less obviously masculine way for me to talk. Not that I have anything against deep voices in women! Just, um, it was a way to make sure I would get outed. I didn't have a James Earl Jones bass or anything, but my voice pretty clearly marked me as trans.

The best part of the experience was that I was her first trans client, so we sort of assembled our own course in how to do this out of things on the internet, a DVD I had, and whatever seemed to work for us. After a while, we just spent half the class talking to each other, which was a great way to get comfortable using my new voice.

Thus, passing two phone interviews was not a small accomplishment.

Anyway. The face to face interview, which was not only face to face but a state away. And potentially guarded my economic future! After being so confident on the phone interviews, I suddenly found myself...inadequate. Because:

--I needed a new suit, since I'd gained some weight.

--Jeez, skirt or slacks? What was more appropriate?

--It turns out I needed a new suit that was two sizes larger than I normally wear, because I've gained so much weight. Sigh.

--I began to worry: would I come on too aggressive?

--I began to worry: would I not be aggressive enough?

--Or too feminine?

--Or not feminine enough?

--Or for that matter, would they immediately think I was trans?

--Or pull a credit bureau on me and know I was trans (I've been lazy about getting every account I own fixed.)

--Even if they hired me, would they hit me with the "female discount"?

--Do they want a woman in their IT department?

--Was I just the "diversity interview"?

Now, ducks, I know a lot of my female readers are somewhere between bemusement and rage at going over that list. I know it sounds whiny. It is whiny. But let me just say: I knew all this stuff going in, and I decided to transition anyway. I don't have any regrets about that, and I'm not saying I should have any special treatment.

But. This was the first time a lot of these things hit home for me all at once. And it was definitely a different experience for me to think of this stuff before an interview. (Also, I should note that I hadn't been on a serious interview in over six years--advantage to consulting--so there was that factor as well.) And the inadequacy I felt...was pretty massive. There was so much to be afraid of, so many traps I felt like I could blunder into just based on how I looked.

And you, my beloved female ducks, are more than welcome to chorus "Duh!" in my general direction right now. And I deserve it.

Anyway, as far as all that stuff went, I think things went fine--I looked professional, I don't think anyone read me, and I think I struck the right amount of aggression/femininity/whatever. It was the tech questions I whiffed on that probably sunk me! So there you have it.

But at least it was beautiful out in the snow today--the sky a hazy pastel blue at sunset, the air clear and all edges sharp-edged, the snow that light twilit blue you get at sunset. That helps. Even if it won't pay the rent.


  1. I'm so sorry that the interview didn't go as well as you hoped, C.L. -- but happy that none of the things you worried about seemed to be the issue!

    I hated interviewing as a guy, and I think I'd hate it just as much now. I'm just not very good at it.


  2. I do so enjoy reading your intelligent, witty blog. Hope things go better for you soon.

  3. my perspective from living as straight-cis-butch-womym:

    Just because it is "no duh" doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile to discuss. in fact I think you are the embodying femininity far better than you think, because being concerned that you are coming off "whiny" is such a stereotypical FEMALE thing that comes from living a patriarchal structure.

    When men complain, they have "backbone" and are "standing up for their rights" (you know the rights reserved for straight cis men which we as women don't have).

    Add to that the fear of being outed and the onset of depression, of course it's stressful and crap. (I'm just coming off 3 months of depression).

    Expressing that you are feeling concerned about your future, and that you might need emotional support is a GOOD THING. Don't feel you have to be an island.

    Don't let any one tell you that because you want to voice your concerns and fears, that are a REAL thing affecting you in the REAL WORLD, that you are "whiny". Not even you.

    Hugs. And I hope things get a bit better sooner rather than later.

  4. .....aaand I didn't get it. Sorry I've been absent, having fun! with! our mental health system! Which I will write about when my brain feels slightly better.

  5. Yeah, and dating is like this too, apparently. Hard, isn't it?

    --Leah B

  6. I got depression for Christmas too! And money woes! And job hunting to look forward to after my contract ends!

    Just wanted to say "me too".

    And I hear you on wardrobe and demeanour crises just before an interview.

  7. Wait, why was that whiny?

    No one likes interviews, it's always anxiety-making! And adding all that extra stuff on top of it? That sounds sucky!

    I dunno, transitioning must be terribly difficult (I can't imagine living as a man). But I don't think "oh well, just don't do it"....

    I'm sorry you didn't get the job. Best wishes! Though a whole lot of good wishes do. :)