Career Advice Tuesday – “Interview +1″
March 13, 2012
I am writing you because I find my professional and my personal life colliding and I would like some advice on how to handle this.
I am currently engaged in an interview process with a company that is based in Northern California. The opportunity itself is based where I live – but the final interview will take place at the corporate headquarters. The plan is for me to fly out on a Thursday and interview on Friday.
When my girlfriend learned of this, the wheels began turning. She has always wanted to go to San Francisco and she thought that this would be a great opportunity to do so, considering that my airfare would be paid, and that one night in the hotel would be taken care of by the company. She is very excited about the trip – but unfortunately I am growing concerned.
The opportunity that I am interviewing for would be a pretty big step for me in my career. I am currently an engineer and the role is to be an information security architect. I expect the interviews to be very technical and I know that I am going to need to be at the top of my game in order to successfully compete.
Having my girlfriend with me on the plane, planning our “leisure activities” and just distracting me – is something that I just do not need, if I am going to give myself the best chance of success.
Do you have any advice on how I can handle this in a way that will keep me happy both professionally and personally.
Good for you for realizing that this is a bad idea.
Without question there is a different mindset for a business trip (which this is) and a vacation (which is what your girlfriend is planning).
My suggestion and response is very simple and should address your problem so that you can accomplish both your goals.
Ask your girlfriend to fly out on Friday – so that she lands about the time that your interview is completed You may even want to give yourself some time if you are invited for a “happy hour” or team activity afterwards.
I would then arrange for an additional vacation day for Monday and possibly Tuesday, so that you will be able to give yourself the necessary time to enjoy San Francisco with your girlfriend and so that your vacation extends longer than if she came with you as originally planned.
I would also advise to change hotels – just to make sure that there are not any possible “overlaps” of business and personal expenses. Also, I would make sure that you could have the option of switching your plane ticket – or subsidizing the cost of the difference in fares., for the same reasons.
I also think that you should explain to her that this is important to your future and possibly your collective futures together, and ask her to be supportive and to think about the bigger picture. Let her know that you will have the opportunity to do all of the things that she would like to do during your time in San Francisco.
Hopefully this will enable you to go to the interview with a clear head and that your girlfriend will be happy with your suggested compromise.
If she gives you a hard time, don’t take her at all. In addition, you may want to think about finding another girlfriend, if she cannot understand where you are coming from.
(But please do not look for that kind of advice from me, that is way outside of my core expertise!)
Let me know how it turns out – on both fronts!