When Someone Makes You Question Your Core Values

The truth is, I haven’t had a ton to say in my little corner of the internet lately. I want to write about what people come here for but I haven’t been able to partake in many fitness-y activities since February. But now…now I have words and emotions tumbling out of me at rapid speeds, questioning who I am and the impression I give off to those around me. If you’re reading this, it means I fought the urge to tuck this post away for fear of embarrassment, ridicule and just plain feeling like it-shouldn’t-be-a-big-deal-so-why-does-it-feel-that-way, afraid everyone will say I’m not dealing with criticism in a constructive way. Which may be true.

I’ve been interviewing for a job with a fitness-based company I’ve always adored and raved about, in a customer relations position I’m more than qualified for and was incredibly excited about. It felt like a perfect fit. I wanted to grow with them, I could see it in my future. I had a recommendation from a director in the company and they told me I wasn’t competing with other candidates; they just look for the right fit as resumes come in. I was just told, after a phone interview, an online “test”, interviews in person with 3 different people and then another phone interview, that one of the reasons they didn’t think I was the right fit was because, as I understood, they didn’t get the impression that I care about helping and advocating for people.

I talked to 5 employees in total.

They talked to me that many times and got that horrible impression.

This isn’t about not getting a job.

I think that’s one of the most hurtful things said to me about my personality and tears have been spilling since. (#pregnancy) Saying that sounds outrageous, I know. There are SO many more evil things people could say, and I sound like I’m whining. But this cut to the core of who I think I am and how I see myself. Side note: There was one time in college that a personal trainer at my gym insinuated that I “wasn’t skinny” and I’m pretty sure, looking back and knowing him as a person, that he was trying to tell me I was strong. He was immediately apologetic when I burst into tears and dramatically ran away. But for a few years I felt like that was the most horrible thing anyone could say to me. LOLOL. 

Good ol’ college when I “wasn’t skinny”. Check out those faded capris, so stylish.

Pretty much every job I’ve had since college has been customer service based. I pride myself on being able to listen and empathize and take time with people; not brushing people off. I’m not perfect, but I care. I learned a lot about what people do and don’t like when it comes to customer service. I go above and beyond and I love helping make people happy. I have my midwestern roots to thank for that.

Now, this comment has me wracking my brain and questioning the vibe I put out there in the world. I know I shouldn’t base my self-worth on one comment, but that’s a big statement that 5 people essentially agreed on. I feel like a bad person.

I worked for sports teams because I think sports can change lives and I wanted to embrace and celebrate that – especially for children to see the power of sports in building confidence and friendships and of course, a healthy lifestyle. I worked for a non-profit because I wanted to support patients and families fighting cancer and be a bright light of hope for them, as best I could in that hard time. I worked for a yoga studio because at the end of the day, yoga is healing and again, I believe fitness and sports change lives, one life at a time, snowballing until you can’t stop talking about it and write a blog all about it. (Maybe that’s what I should have said instead of telling them how I can use my skills to help the company.)

Do I sound cheesy or like I’m trying too hard to convince you? I feel like I am. That’s exactly why I didn’t spend my time talking about all that in the interview.

But let me back up. Why am I letting this get to me so much?

When I was a kid, I was quiet, submissive and often walked over because I didn’t stand up for myself much. Growing up, people would always say “you’re too nice!”. “You care too much!” “You’re too short!” (Had to throw that last one in there – it was a constant!) I assumed everyone else was smarter than me. Thanks to Susan Cain and her book “Quiet Revolution” I learned about introverts (AKA myself!) and how to use introversion as a positive thing. It’s helped me develop a thicker skin and come out of my childhood “shell”, no longer thinking I had to agree with everyone else. No longer assuming I’m quiet and therefore not valuable.

I have opinions and I like to share them honestly and without much censoring, which you’ve probably noticed as I’ve begun writing a bit about pregnancy. It’s making me wonder if here on the blog, I’m putting a negative impression out in my writing instead of inspiring in an honest way.

If you don’t know me and you’re reading my writing, maybe you mistake my sarcasm for meanness or a lack of empathy. I know I’m sarcastic and sassy sometimes, but that’s not the core of my heart. I write because I want to share with people and help them feel motivated or see another point of view or be inspired to live their best life, if I can have any tiny part in that. I want to make people laugh. I want to make people happy.

With some introspection, I noticed that tough love is what works for me and I guess maybe I’ve been dishing it out a lot here lately. But you know I care, right? Does that make you think I don’t care about people?

I CARE ABOUT YOU! And hey, I’m not looking for you to comment and say “Oh Kara, they suck, you’re great!”. I just want to make sure you know that I CARE.

I’m struggling with the line between being a woman who is “too nice” and a woman who’s “a bitch” because she doesn’t want to get walked all over or torn down…while still wanting people to feel loved and appreciated, no matter who they are. And still wanting to share my honest opinions. I’m starting to feel like I’m missing the point, though.

I’m a writer currently living in Los Angeles and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!
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7 Comments

  1. July 7, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Kara I knew you as a kid and I never thought you were quiet or submissive… except maybe that onetime I talked you into letting me curl your hair and you ended up looking like Shirley Temple (do you remember that? Lol). Anyhow, my point is, one thing I’ve learned is that most of the time we are hardest on ourselves and people don’t see what we see. I’ve always thought you were super nice, motivated and wanted to help people. I never saw you be mean or hurt anyone. You are a good person (and I’m not just saying that). I know it’s been 20 years (!!!) since we’ve seen each other, but I know you are the same, nice, honest person you’ve always been.

    • July 7, 2017 / 11:50 pm

      Isn’t it funny how we remember things differently? I vaguely remember the Shirley Temple incident and definitely remember making up ice skating routines and writing books about our guinea pigs :) You were such a bright light in my life – which reminds me, now that I’m back in NJ, we must meet up! I’d love to hear all about your new ventures, meet your husband, etc. I’ll shoot you a Facebook message next week!

      • July 8, 2017 / 4:53 pm

        Yes!!! Definitely!!! We had such great times together and now that you’re back in the area I’d love to reconnect :)

  2. July 7, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    This kind of sounds like a cop-out to me (the company). I can’t imagine in any situation how you would come across as someone that doesn’t care about people. At all. Not even in a snarky or joking manner! It sucks that they made you feel this way and now you’re second guessing yourself. Interviews are hard AF and you don’t get a good feel for the candidates or employers, so aside from being straight-up rude this comment was definitely a stretch. And as someone who often gets told that I seem “mean,” “cold,” “scary,” “a bitch,” etc. before someone gets to know me, I know how you feel. But you have to just believe deep down inside you’re a good person and the people that surround you see that too! Xoxox

    • July 7, 2017 / 11:55 pm

      Interviews ARE hard AF! You want to say the right thing so you look for cues, but you just never know what that one single person wants to hear. I wish they were different – more getting to know you as a person, less rapid fire behavioral questions that are so awkward.

      PS Thanks for the sweet words and for the record, I never got that impression of you. I <3 you and your strength! And am jealous of your speediness :)

  3. July 8, 2017 / 12:30 am

    I agree with Danielle who commented before me and honestly, I don’t think it is you at all. Granted I have never met you and only read your blog… but you’re the second blog I’ve read recently where the person was passed over for a job. The sad thing is that the fitness world is a good ole boys club (and a small world) and people hire who they want to.

    I really hope a good job comes along and you get it. Sometimes later on, you realize why things didn’t work out and are thankful they did not. I applied for a job in marketing/PR for a theme park when I graduated college and didn’t get it, and the theme park ended up closing down not long after with the recession. Not only that, but if the workers at this job thought that way in the interview, maybe it’s a good thing they’re not your coworkers who you’d have to deal with every day.

    • July 12, 2017 / 8:13 pm

      Thanks Amy! Thinking back, I know I dodged a bullet. Feeling much better about it now :) Can’t wait to see what’s in store for me now!

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