An unusual (to me) question arose during the interview for my latest POW– “What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?”
My immediate answer was my then most recent move. I packed everything I owned into a 16′ truck and moved half way across the country. Without a job.
Now, it’s true I had freelance work to help pay the bills and certainly I would not wish to ignore that– having freelance income meant I wasn’t frantic for work immediately upon arrival. Also, I had an apartment lined up and a couple of good friends waiting in the Windy City. But giving up a stable job where I was appreciated and leaving a ton of my nearest and dearest? I did it and occasionally I still wonder if I was completely and utterly insane.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an enormous risk taker. While enthused about new technology, I’m not the first person on my street to buy it. My Chi-town Roomie never managed to drag me sky diving with her (although she valiantly tried). And I’ll hold onto Windows XP as long as humanly possible–I think I’d rather go Ubuntu w/ Wine than Vista. But an adventure I had, involving a long move, a post move seven month job search, and working for a theater where I met very close friends and pretty much memorized Hamlet.
Surprisingly, many people I’ve met seem also to consider my most recent move very risky because I knew no one in this town. I find it a little riskier that I took my apartment sight unseen personally but both have turned out well so…
Our Lady Director is hopefully somewhere on a plane (we got a lot of snow last night) so I can’t ask her the complete motivation behind this question but it does show an unusual side to a candidate. You have a chance to hear about what they consider risky. In my case, my risk had nothing to do with library work but demonstrated that I had moved once before and would be willing to again for this job. I did hear after taking the job that one candidate had completely shot the question down–“I don’t take risks.” I can only imagine that that person lives in an extremely controlled environment.
My latest and greatest risk: I got in the car after all the snow on top of all the remaining leftover ice that’s frozen on the road and drove to work.
What about you?
P.S. I’m still gloating about parallel parking a 16′ truck in Queens (Yellowstone and 76th) without anyone to spot me.