I feel like I am never going to be cut out for upper management
I have interviewed now for 3 very senior roles (VP level) and each time I have walked away feeling like I just escaped from a den of snakes.
These roles seem to be held/led by people who have a very narrow minded viewpoint of the world, they want someone who is elite, socially liberal, politically connected and knows their place in the hierarchy.
My most recent interview was at an ivy league college with a very senior female leader. She made it clear to me that they really wanted an alum to fill this vacancy or at least a graduate from a very exclusive, liberal background. No riff raff like me with a state school degree. It was basically implied that someone like me couldn't possibly understand life at an Ivy league school or the special people who attend or teach there. It felt very Good Will Hunting, the snooty MIT professor absolutely unbelieving that a guy from Southie who sweeps floors could understand his complex math.
Earlier this year I interviewed at an international engineering firm where I was quizzed on my political and social memberships/clubs/connections. They clearly wanted to make sure I would contribute and be invited to state and federal politics and be able to call on people for favors.
It was also an incredibly sexist environment, they let me know that no female had done this role before.
I also had an interview at a large consulting firm, again, questions asked about my involvement with city and state politicians, how I felt about various BLM topics and I could tell they were looking for someone more sophisticated and politically connected.
I am not in sales, I do not have a business development angle to my career or these jobs. These are primarily technical VP roles.
The college interviewer was most off putting to me, she clearly has had a privileged life, she is an alum of some pretty exclusive schools (Andover/Wellesley College/Harvard). I doubt she has ever had to worry about paying a student loan or making the electric company payment. She came off as though reeking of privilege which I will never have. She name dropped a number of leading politicians in the conversation and my research came up with articles showing her being an advisor to mayors, representatives and senators.
I didn't realize this was what the VP level was like, at least at large companies/universities. I am so disheartened. I have spent the last 20 years being a star player, rising up the tech side of business, now that seems like the highest I can go.
I am not in IT, I am in the physical engineering side of the world.
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