This I Believe

Kara - Coronado, California
Entered on October 7, 2007

I believe in learning, I believe in imperfection, I believe in being humble, and I believe in naiveté. In short, I believe in making mistakes.

The day I turned sixteen I ran out to get a job. I was eager to be independent, responsible, and mature and figured that I could fulfill those three wishes by working a part-time job. I was confident that even though I was young, I was just as qualified as any other person and I would get hired on no matter where I chose to apply. My town had just built a new library and since I love to read, I figured it was a perfect match.

I walked into the library wearing what I thought was an appropriate outfit for an interview, but what was probably more appropriately worn to a shopping mall or a movie theater. I happily asked for an application and as soon as the librarian handed it to me I ran out to my car and filled it out in record time.

Soon after, I was called into a side room by two other female librarians who politely introduced themselves. They informed me that I would be taking a timed test in which I would rearrange books according to author’s last name, title of the book, and the book number. I was a little caught off guard by this because they relayed the directions so quickly and I wasn’t expecting to be tested right away anyway. As expected, I forgot which order I was supposed to arrange the books in. Was it author’s name then book number? Or was it book number then book title?

I wasn’t so sure why they even continued to the interview process after that, but I figured it at least gave me a chance to redeem myself. They asked me some generic information about myself such as my name, age and birthday, and if I had my own form of transportation. When they asked me if I had done any previous paid or volunteer work at a library before, I panicked because I thought they would laugh me right out of the room when I said I had no experience. Not thinking clearly, I lied and said I had volunteered a long time ago at a library in another town and they looked pleased. I felt relieved after that and thought I was starting to gain control of the interview again until they asked me what I thought the most important activity a library offered was. My mind drew a blank and I didn’t have a clue what to say so I gave the broadest and most standard answer I could come up with. “Everything,” I said.

Being the nice ladies they were, they smiled and tried to give me false hope by saying they would be in touch with me soon. I knew better than to believe them, and I walked out of the room shattered and humbled.

Two years later, I have successfully conquered three interviews and landed each job, which I credit entirely to that day. Many people go through classes and books to learn how to get through certain things, but I believe nothing can teach you as well as a first hand experience can.

Mistakes humble us, they teach us, they mature us, and they are what make us human. And for that, I am a firm believer.