“So tell me about your experience at [insert name of previous employer here].”
It's a question I've been asked in every interview I've ever been on. When the question is raised, you face one of two choices in shaping your response:
A) Describe the work environment as nothing short of exceptional, glorifying the management for their professionalism and dedication to the job, lauding the quality of the company's product, and depicting your role there as having been regarded as both integrally important and efficacious. If that doesn't accurately depict your experience, just lie.
B) Embrace candidness and take no prisoners while launching a verbal assault on your former colleagues and company.
If you choose option B, you might as well pack up your bag and end the interview there. No one wants to be the target of your next assault when things inevitably go south at your next job. Your gripes might be warranted, but they'll also come to define you.
For most who fail to abide by this axiom, the result is one lost job opportunity.
However, in a world where anyone can broadcast their grievances to a global audience with the click of a mouse, choosing the latter option carries even greater risk. Those who take to the web for a little communal therapy and coddling must be prepared to be defined by a new title: unemployable.
This is the prospect Jordan Price, a former contract worker for Apple, now faces.
On the blogging platform Medium, the mobile app designer took Apple to task in a post that amounted to little more than the Price's qualms with a demanding and degrading boss that made his short tenure with the company unbearable.
Frankly, his experience came across as less than provocative, seeming to characterize run-of-the-mill issues that almost every professional has endured at one point or another during his or her career.
But Price's rant about having to work long hours and deflect insults from his producer (Apple's title for managers) went viral shortly after it was posted, undeserving of such attention, save the fact that he claimed to be mistreated by Apple, the juggernaut of tech.
Media outlets seized the opportunity to contextualize Price's mini manifesto in a way that called into questioned Apple's treatment of its staff. Price might be hailed by the masses as a David-like figure in a battle against the Goliath of big industry. Here, David might have won the battle, but Goliath will win the war.
While Price might have exposed some of questions about employment practices at Apple, he provided even more insight into what future employers might anticipate from him if they bring him on board.
At the end of post, Price describes how he left his job:
“At lunch time I wiped the iPad data clean, put the files I had been working on neatly on the server, left all their belongings on my desk, and I got in my car and drove home. I left a message for my boss and told him he's the worst boss I had ever encountered in my entire professional career and that I could no longer work under him no matter how good Apple might look on my resume.”
He goes on:
“The third party company that contracted me is furious because I've jeopardized their relationship with Apple, and of course they feel that I've acted highly unprofessionally by walking out. I'm not really proud of myself for doing that, and I do feel terrible for destroying the long relationship I had with the recruiter who helped me land the interview. This is all an especially difficult pill to swallow because I was so excited to work for Apple. I'm not sure if this will haunt me or not, but all I know is that I wanted to work at Apple really bad, and now not so much.”
At first glance, it seems that upon reflection (but not before posting the article for the whole world to see), Price realizes that his tirade might jeopardize his prospects for future work. Then, though, he adds this beautiful little coup de grâce to close his post.
“PS. I'm currently looking for a new design job. Please contact me if you have one that's cool.”
Yes, I'm sure employers are champing at the bit to have you now.
For Millennials who are struggling to carve out a career in the wake of the Great Recession, they would be wise to heed Price's story as a cautionary tale.
When presented with the opportunity to expound on your previous work experience, always opt for option A.
Photo credit: Medium