So I wrote here about the beginnings of the decision to apply for the EMBA program at Bradley. The particular program piqued my interest.
When I interviewed last month, there were a lot of questions I expected, and a few that I hadn’t. Most of them fell into the “here, talk about yourself and your challenges (both good and bad) and how they’ve made you the person you are now” category.
There was one question that I thought they might ask, but didn’t. And then, at the end, the question comes, “what question didn’t we ask that you would if you were the interviewer?”
I hate questions like that. When I applied for one particular college way back in my senior year of high school (I didn’t get in), one of the potential essay questions was “Make up an essay question and answer it.” It wsa a good one, of course, because anyone who served up a softball question to himself wouldn’t be material for that university (one of those with green leaves growing on the outside of the buildings…you know the type).
I skipped that question, of course. But last month in my interview that wasn’t an option.
Thankfully, I had that question I thought they might ask and I pulled it out of my back pocket and set it on the table (metaphorically speaking of course…back pockets in suits are hard to get to and amazingly useless).
“Are you insane? What makes you think you could survive this program with nine children and an extremely busy job and not completely fall apart and die?” (I think I worded it a little more diplomatically in the interview, but the word “insane” or “crazy” was definitely there.)
And of course (and I knew this) the next step was answering the question. Which was easier than you might think.
Theresa and I have been talking for months about this. Looking at responsibilities. Looking at calendars. Adding up the 168 hours of each week. Subtracting out the needed amount of sleep and food and work meetings and other unavoidable parts of my life. Finding 20-22 hours per week that I would have claimed didn’t exist but that could be found around the edges in time that I spend on non-necessities. Things I “like” but don’t help in the pursuit of what I love. (I recommend the book Quitter if you’re interested in decisions like this.)
I’ve spent hours in conversations with key folks at work. The HR director, the president, people who report to me, people who I trust, the janitor, the baker and the candlestick maker. (I made those last 3 up) I’ve been pulling things off my calendar and giving them away. Giving away things I like. Not going to conferences I enjoy. Trips that make the TSA lineup seem trivial they’re so much fun. Delete, declutter, destroy.
And so I knew the answer to the question. I found my 20 hours per week. I have the support of the team at home and the team at work. And this is going to be insanely hard, but we can do it.
And so I smiled and told the interviewer the answer: “yes, I’m insane. And together with a team of exceptional people that I get to do life with, we have a plan.”
Oh, and I was supposed to tell you why I like this particular graduate program. I promise I will.