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The 1970s Interviewing Tips That Still Work in 2018

Career

We're sure you've all heard stories of how hard it was in “the olden days" to do a variety of things we do today with the push of a button, or maybe you've heard about how someone walked five miles in the snow to go to school. You needn't journey back that far to imagine the pure nightmare it would be for you without your cell phone, internet or GPS.


For those of you who grew up with these gems of technology, these tools are as ordinary as bottled water. But for those of us growing up in the 60s and 70s, before they were commonplace, we never felt the lack of something we never knew.

Let's journey back a little to the 1970s and take a glimpse at life without these tools. To make it more fun, how about doing some job-hunting? I've been through this process both in the 70's and currently, and I couldn't be more appreciative of how much easier the process is now.

1. You wake up and immediately scan LinkedIn or Indeed.com to see what's available, right? Uh-uh! You've no internet, so you must get dressed and go pick up an actual newspaper to check out the “want ads."

Remember, even before the advent of the internet, networking was always important when job hunting. If you know it will be kept confidential, let your friends and business associates know you're looking. Most of the jobs I landed were actually through referrals from former bosses, co-workers or friends who had moved on to other companies. It's a lot easier now to contact those sources by email or text than when I had to play telephone tag before I reached them!

2. After identifying some prospects, you write a quick cover letter with a resume and email it to your prospects. No, No! Without email, you'll manually type a cover letter and prepare a resume. No computers yet.

Ugh, I remember when I had to do this. You might type your resume and then realize you wanted to change or reorder part of it, or maybe you wanted to experiment with different fonts (yes, Selectric typewriters had a changeable typeface). There was no cutting and pasting or selecting and changing. You had to start all over again. Then we had to take a perfect original and have it photocopied. You protected that original as though it were a world-changing document. Now you may go to the printer and have them run off some copies right from your phone. Also, if your job entails a portfolio, you can have it shown right from your iPad instead of carrying around a large, difficult-to-carry presentation.

3. Now, you'll either hand deliver or mail the hard copies. You may prefer hand delivery to insure they'll arrive more quickly.

4. For the next few days, you wait at home for a response, because without a cell phone you can't be reached if you're out and voice mail is still waiting to be invented.

That was terribly inconvenient, but unless you had a telephone sitter at home while you did some errands, you might miss that call.

5. One of your prospects finally calls to set up an interview. You usually Google the prospective employer so you'll have some input during the interview. Without the internet, you'll have to go to the library and use their reference books or buy some business magazines.

I still believe it's important to know as much as you can about a company before an interview. Besides helping you to ask the right questions, you might find something that makes you change your mind about pursuing this job. Remember, they need your approval as much as you need theirs!

After identifying some prospects, you write a quick cover letter with a resume and email it to your prospects. No, No! Without email, you'll manually type a cover letter and prepare a resume. No computers yet. (Photo by REX)

6. The day of the interview arrives, and you're eager to create a good impression, so you head out early to make sure you have no trouble finding the office. Uh! Oh! No GPS. You'll have to get a paper map. Maybe you can find a gas station that carries them.

Since I worked in New York City for most of my career, it was always finding the quickest mass transit route to take. Sometimes, I would make a dry run before the interview day just to see how long it would take. Besides the GPS, you now get this information right online, both the route and the average time it will take, whether by car or public transit.

7. Now you're on your way, armed with a genuine paper map, and you find yourself in a huge traffic jam. You'll just call your interviewer's office and explain, but there's no cell phone, so you search frantically for a pay telephone. None in sight. After all, you're on a busy highway. Then it starts to rain, and you realize you should have waited for the weather forecast at the end of the news. No, there's no weather app to scroll.

Besides no weather app, there was no cable, thus no weather channel, so the weather was always at the end of the news. Who had time to wait for that when you're getting ready for an interview?

I want to highlight something that was better in the "olden days." After interviews, the company always contacted you, either by mail or phone, to say whether you got the job, or they hired someone else.

8. An hour late, you reach your destination, a bit disheveled from the stress of it all and quite soaking wet from walking from the parking lot with no umbrella or raincoat.

You probably should still come prepared for the unexpected by throwing a few extras in your bag: i.e., umbrella, extra copies of your resume, etc.

9. It's difficult to stay confident and positive when you look like a drowned rat, but you do your best to ace the interview and just hope for the best. Despite the anxiety-ridden start, the interview does go well, and you're told you will be called in a few days.

I want to highlight something that was better in the “olden days." After interviews, the company always contacted you, either by mail or phone, to say whether you got the job, or they hired someone else. If you're a writer, you may spend your weekend doing a week's worth of articles and edits as part of the interview process, or you might go on 5 interviews with one company, and they don't get back to you either way! I remember just such a time, I had at least 5 interviews with the same company, and on the fifth one, when I stopped at the security desk for a pass, the guard recognized me but thought I worked there and just forgot my pass. That company never got back to me, and when I called for the status, they always said they had made no decisions yet. So maybe, that's the one facet of job-searching we wish would have remained in place.

10. Again, you wait for a call and even answer the phone with your normal voice whenever it rings.

This is opposed to the fake accent I used when I wasn't expecting any calls and didn't know who was calling. Without caller ID, you didn't want to take any chance of being trapped by a salesperson or someone else with whom you have no interest in talking.

Halleluiah, you got the job! Now come back to the current world and use all your tech tools, because you have been hired as a marketing director, and we won't even scare you with how you would have to do this job without them!

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.