ATTENTION: This is my 100th post on the Barefoot Aya! Wahoo!
An interview for a job I was perfectly qualified for that I thought I would enjoy came up and I had the answers to every single interview question but one:
Do you consider yourself a ‘happy person?’
The simple question to that answer is no, I guess… if you look at it from a stereotypical standpoint, that is. Depressed people are not happy. I have depression. I guess, therefore, I am not a ‘happy person?’
But what about who I really am, without the monstrous beast inside me that has nothing to do with who I am as a person? Do I let my depression define me, or no?
I guess we could consider if this is a fair interview question. To me, it seemed like it discriminated, hard. To anyone who doesn’t have depression, they may not think anything of it at all. A simple answer would be ‘yes,’ of course.
I had no idea how to properly answer this question.
Am I happy without my depression? I had no idea.
A seemingly simple question was ever-so-complicated for me. To be fair, I don’t remember how I answered the question. In my head, I panicked. Am I a happy person? Who am I without my depression? Does that person count for the sake of this interview? Should I reveal right now that I technically have a disability? If I answer ‘incorrectly,’ is this the end for me? Must I define myself as a happy person to get this job?
I thought back to the different types of “me:” that kid who raised her hand for every question in class because she knew all the answers, the teenager who would find a corner alone to write during free periods in high school, the same, but different teenager who was happy with her friends working at a ski resort and barely thought about her depression at all. This job was at a ski resort. I picked that girl.
The rest of the interview continued without a hitch. I felt comfortable and confident in my ability to rock this job. I didn’t get the job I applied for, although they did offer me a different job opportunity at the same place.
In the end, this interview question made me rethink how I define myself. Yeah, I am a happy person. Even if I forever struggle with random sadness throughout my life, perhaps through every day, that’s not me. That is my mental illness and it shouldn’t need to define who I am.
Then again, can you really define yourself with an emotion? Emotions come and go, just like people and buildings and plants and pets and everything. In Spanish, you use “estoy” to describe a temporary “I am” and “soy” as a permanent “I am,” in which case “estoy” is always used to describe emotion.
Maybe “Soy” happy, but not “estoy” happy?
I’m not sure.
Looking back, that’s definitely a discriminatory answer that NO ONE would think of. If I were interviewing someone, I might ask the same question without thinking. How would that contribute to a ski resort job? Better questions might include:
“Does skiing make you happy?”
“Do people make you happy?”
“Do you love winter?”
“Can you handle high-stress situations? Do you thrive in them?”
“How do you handle emergencies?”
“What’s your favorite activity in the whole entire world?”
“Do you feel confident in a position of authority?”
*Shrug* That’s just my two cents for an industry I’ve worked in and loved for 6 seasons.
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*PSST* I’m currently listening to a band called ANIMA! and I highly suggest you look them up/listen! (not affiliated at all)