5:57AM in London. I've been up for a while. My California jetlag seems to have come in delayed-release-capsule format, apparently?
Oh well. I've got my cup of tea made, and I figure we can hang out while the sun comes up. Which is good, because I woke up thinking about timing.
About how we create deadlines for ourselves. About how we invent arbitrary periods of time for things.
- You should be engaged for 10 months.
- You have to stay at this job for at least a year.
- You can't become a manager before 30.
- You shouldn't be unemployed for more than four weeks.
^ These are all made-up numbers, but they sound kinda... right, don't they? Because they all sound like something you've probably heard before.
And here's another one you've probably heard or said:
- I need more time to prepare.
This is the one I want to shine a light on, , because it came up in a conversation I was having yesterday.
I was talking to some friends about rigorous interview processes, and how scary they can be. Some people around the table were interviewers for big name-brand companies, and they said something that the table found interesting--but didn't surprise me at all.
They said that, sometimes, when they directly reach out to promising candidates to ask them to apply for these incredible jobs...
...the candidates turn them down.
"Wow," these potential employees say. "Thank you so much for thinking of me. That sounds like an exciting opportunity. I'd love to take some time before I get back to you. I need more time to prepare."
They want to prepare their portfolios. Re-do their websites. Re-format their cover letters. Research the company. Reach out to their mentors.
If you're reading this right now and feeling a bit guilty, it's okay. I get it. I know where you're coming from, and I want you to know that you've got the right intentions.
You want to put your best foot forward. You want to make sure you're presenting yourself well. You don't want to just phone it in, fail, and realize you could have done more.
Which is brilliant. And, sometimes, for some of you, it will work out. You'll take your time, put in all the hard work you can possibly think of, and reap the fruits of your labor.
But most of the time? Opportunities have sell-by dates, doll.
Even for the most talented among us.
And when you say you "need more time," your potential future employer is most likely hearing, "I'm not ready. Ask somebody else."
There's an awesome saying in the music world that I think applies here. It's something we say when we talk about making albums: The record's never done--you just run out of time or money.
It's never finished.
You're never ready.
But you've gotta put it out there anyways.