It’s been over a decade since I last went on a traditional job interview for a traditional kind of job, so I imagine a lot has changed in the last several years. At the same time, I also imagine that a lot of the core fundamentals have remained much the same. Interviewers will often ask you to tell them a little bit about yourself and why you feel you are best qualified for the position. This is all pretty standard stuff and par for the course.
One question that comes up all the time is that the interviewer will ask you about your greatest weakness. Some people say that the interviewer is looking for honesty here, so they get a better sense of what you’re like as a real, rounded person. Interview strategists might tell you that this is an opportunity for you to turn your weakness into a strength (e.g., “I work too hard.”) or as a chance to say how you have a weakness but also what you’re doing to address it (e.g., “My web design skills could use some work, so I’m currently taking an online course to help with that.”).
Myself, I’ve come to recognize in recent years that my greatest weakness, both within and beyond the professional context, is that I suffer from a rather significant case of FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out guides so many of the decisions I have made over the years, chasing different passions, projects and passion projects because I don’t want to miss a thing. To some degree, this has greatly facilitated what success I’ve been able to enjoy as a freelance writer.
It’s largely because of FOMO that I met John Chow in the first place. It’s largely because of FOMO that I became a published author, that I started a YouTube channel, that I’ve tried to learn everything I can when it comes to what it takes to run a successful business on the Internet. FOMO isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it has led to some incredible opportunities, but it is certainly not without its problems and struggles.
As I write these words that you are reading right now, I’m some 36,000 feet in the air, flying back home to Vancouver after spending a couple weeks travelling with the family. We played tourist in New York City and Toronto, taking in the local sights and sounds (and tastes) as much as we could. This was supposed to be my vacation. My opportunity to unplug and unwind, away from the stresses of everyday work.
But my FOMO and ambition may have gotten the best of me.
You see, before we left for this trip, I told myself several things. I told myself that I would take this time to enjoy myself, visiting such notable landmarks as Rockefeller Center, Chelsea Market, Casa Loma and Royal Ontario Museum. I also told myself that this trip would make terrific fodder for my weekly vlog, splitting the trip into a couple of episodes for my YouTube channel. I then told myself that I would be able to get some work done in the evenings after we got back from a day of exploring.
The truth is that this was just way too much, because we’d be out the door early in the morning and we wouldn’t get back to our room until nearly midnight every night. My FOMO led me to see as much as I could, but this necessarily meant that I would have very little time at the end of the night to get any “work” done, let alone the energy and creative impulse to do so.
So, I didn’t. And that’s why I’m trying to get some work done now, writing this post, as I fly 36,000 feet in the air across Canada, somewhere over the prairies. The truth is I don’t think I really know how to unplug and unwind completely, because my FOMO reminds me that I’d be missing out on the opportunity either to experience more highlights or to get more work done. But I can’t have it both ways. I’m still learning. I never stop learning.
This is the double-edged sword when you work for yourself, because it means you *can* work anywhere and at any time. But the power of the dot com lifestyle means you get to make that choice. And I chose to prioritize the time with my family.