The end is near. I'm a second semester senior. I've got one thing and one thing only on the brain: how am I going to find something meaningful to do with myself in the real world, especially when I'm studying at one of the top journalism schools in the country with hundreds of other brilliant students? So, as you might imagine, I've got what I'm going to describe as "job search syndrome." This, combined with my love of overthinking potential disastrous scenarios, is what got me to this train of thought.
We've all been there: "What's your weakness?" The interview question poses an impossible situation: find something bad about yourself, but then magically transform it into a great quality that will make you an even better candidate for "x" position. Recently, I've been told by quite a few job search advice articles that answering, "I'm a perfectionist," is the most overused, common, bland answer possible. My first thoughts were, yeah, I get that, but then I started to think....why? Why is it the most commonly used answer? Most people might say, "Well, it's because it's the easy answer" or "It's the best adjective to describe something that seems bad but can actually be good." But I think the reality is, at least from what I can see among my peers, we're a generation of perfectionists. If an answer is true, why not share it?
At UNC-Chapel Hill, I encounter perfectionists every single day. I'm one of them. And trust me, we're unbelievably hard on ourselves. That doesn't mean that we're super serious, sense-of-humorless robots...but I'm sure it can seem that way on occasion. Perfectionism most certainly is a weakness. It really isn't great. It can make you obsess over every minute detail until your eyes water. But what I'm learning about perfectionism is that for me and for many of the people around me, first and foremost, it translates into passion. Passion that supports not only what we're doing but why we're doing it. That's what it all comes down to, right? The WHY. At UNC, I see so many people who have a fantastic WHY behind everything that they do. I think that I'm still figuring out my WHY--my perfectionism is helping me do that.
I'm sitting here pondering what my answer might be for that fateful job interview question in the future...and you know what? I just might stick with perfectionism. You can roll your eyes, tell me I need to do my best to stand out and say something unique, but to me, that answer is honest. It's overused, sure, but through that answer, I can portray my passion, my WHY, and so much more about myself. So, until further notice, if you want to ask me, "What's your weakness?," you know what to expect.