“Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it.” – Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged”
Lululemon put “who is John Galt” quotes on their bags in 2011. After a month of trying to secure a job at their Greenwich location, the only thing blatantly obvious is that no one at the Greenwich store is familiar with that book. Ayn Rand would’ve hired me.
In my recent effort to follow through on BC’s request to “set the world aflame,” I sought summer part time employment at Lululemon Athletica. Being a yoga instructor, founder of a successful publication, and college graduate, I thought I had all the skills I needed to “educate” Greenwich’s finest on the ins and outs of overpriced tights.
Except for one problem. I didn’t.
Lululemon has a long and slow hiring process, a fact that is no secret. It’s even on the company’s Wikipedia page. I applied for the job in late May and didn’t hear about an interview until late June, somewhat surprising since the job was for a Seasonal (make sure you remember this word, we’ll come back to it) Part Time Educator position. But hey, until the see-through yoga pant scandal, Lulu’s stock was through the roof. If they want to wait until after summer to hire summer employees, who am I to judge?
The problem is that when it came to the actual hiring process, things didn’t really pick up. E-mails were replied to days later via iPhone. The whole iPhone thing isn’t an indicator of unprofessionalism in it of itself, but it is a bit insulting to process that these people saw an e-mail and then took over 24 hours to reply via the same device. I suspect Candy Crush is to blame.
The first interview was fine. Everyone at Lulu was courteous and the questions were fair and allowed me to highlight just how perfect I was for the job. There was even talk of duties beyond that of the said position, which was great. One of the advantages of a part time job is that I could pursue other ventures, but if said company wishes to supply additional opportunities, more power to them (and to me).
The second interview was a bit of a different story. I was asked to take a spin class with one of the employees. How this relates to the sale of clothing fit for sweaty endeavors escapes me, but I’m not the one doing the hiring. I wasn’t pleased at the assumption that those who taught yoga also enjoyed a completely different “way to sweat,” but these were not my choices to make.
After the class, I was fairly confident with where we stood. I wasn’t sure that I’d nailed the job to the specifics that Lulu was looking for, but I’d portrayed the “real” Ian Thomas Malone as I’d like myself to be seen. I didn’t think there necessarily needed to be character concessions because I thought I was right for the job.
But as it turned out, I thought wrong.
On the 4th of July, I received an form rejection e-mail from a person at Lulu who was not one of the two people I’d interviewed with that they had selected someone else for the job. Had this been a rejection done in a courteous manner and not on a national holiday, there wouldn’t have been a need for an article. You’d think that one of them could’ve taken 30 seconds out of their day to notify me via iPhone at the very least, but apparently not. Two interviews should warrant at least a personal rejection, especially from a company that uses yoga to promote its products.
The reason for my rejection came at a later point after I sent an e-mail containing my displeasure similar to what was said in the preceding paragraph. Yours truly was rejected on the grounds that I did not project aspirations for a long-term career at Lululemon. I could go on about the absurdities of that for a few more paragraphs, but instead let’s just go back to that word “seasonal” I asked you to remember.
Were they right? Impossible to say. Had my talents and hard work been appreciated to the point where the company wanted to elevate my position faster than any other company, then I certainly wouldn’t say no. We’ll never know the answer and it wasn’t exactly right to have “willingness to sit stagnantly in seasonal part time retail positions” as a necessary qualification for employment. In my first interview, it was even stated that this wasn’t an ideal position.
There is something to take away from this for those of you who stuck through this article. Was I disappointed about their decision? Of course, but not for long.
The Lululemon interview process played like an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice. While those who read The Rock know that I’m a big fan of that show, I have no desire to play. I wanted my skill set and ability to perform based on my experience and ability to convey myself articulately in an interview.
The biggest thing I learned from this is to not let companies disrespect you just because you’re in a tough position job wise. I’ve spoken to many people with some great opportunities looking toward the future. I’m glad that I wasn’t in a position where I had to take a big chug of Lululemon’s kool-aid. I’m still of the mindset that people who don’t respect you aren’t worth your time, even if they work at a yoga company. Namaste.