“What would you say are some of your best qualities?” I’ve answered that question a lot in the last 2 years. So have many of you I suspect. We all have several responses that are highly interview-appropriate and will hopefully inspire the interviewer to leap across the desk, shake our hand and shout “I MUST hire you!” Yeah, that doesn’t usually happen. Your best hope is that your resume will land in the pile of “maybes” instead of the “nots”, so you conduct yourself the best you can and walk home wondering what you should have said that would have been better.The other day I had an interview and did just that. But instead of rehashing every question, what popped into my head were things I wouldn’t and likely shouldn’t say. These are the ‘leftovers’ that are key to the YOU in you, but are probably best not shared on a job interview.
For instance, when asked what I’m good at, I could respond, “I’m really GREAT at handling disappointment!” While I am, it’s not exactly what an organization is looking for in an employee. “We try harder”, yes. “We don’t go postal when we lose”, not so much (although good to know, if ever the situation arose). Who knows, maybe we should let out those leftover qualities your friends love you for. They might come in handy. For instance, I’m highly skilled at sarcasm and excel at snarky repartee. You know you love to work with someone like that. Certainly makes a staff meeting more fun. How about the skills, focus and courage to be the fashion police and actually say instead of just think, “yes, that dress does make your ass look like a canal barge”. I’d want that kind of honesty and frankness on my team. Of course, I temper it with the kindness and diplomacy of one who’s been guilty of wearing something that in wide hindsight probably should have stayed on the hanger. I know when to let loose with the snark, and when a raised eyebrow, slow eye roll or subtle head shake is all you need. But that never goes on a resume. How about restraint? I’m GREAT at restraint! I illustrate it by NOT rolling my eyes when responding to “what is one of your greatest strengths” for the 100th time, or adding in “sweetie, did you get dressed in the dark this morning?”
In full disclosure let me say that I too have asked all the same interview questions that I’ve been answering of late. It’s no picnic being on either side of the table. Making the process fresh and insightful, let alone enjoyable and relaxed is near impossible. The interviewer has an inventory of folks to get through, asking the same questions over and over again in an effort to get to know the person attached to some well-composed words on a piece of paper. The interviewed has to appear confident, well-spoken, an excellent listener and the perfect fit, all while dealing with her nerves and the realization that she is just one of many and another interview could be weeks or months away. There just isn’t any way to get around it. The most you can do is bare down, get through in the best way possible, and keep optimistic that one day it’s going to be you getting the job, and your ‘leftovers’ can finally come out to play.
Speaking of leftovers (you knew there was a point to all of this), the other day I had ½ cup of pumpkin to deal with. Why is it that NO recipe calls for a full can of pumpkin? Seems every recipe I have for pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, or pumpkin ravioli calls for an amount that ALWAYS leaves ½ a cup of orphan pumpkin looking for a home. And the other day I found it one in Pumpkin Enchiladas. To me, enchiladas are a perfect leftover transport vehicle and I figured the play of slightly sweet to spicy just might work. I then explored my fridge for friends to keep the pumpkin company. Whenever I make enchiladas I try to add in a cup or so of chopped spinach. This way, I feel like I’m eating something good for me in the midst of all that cheese. I had some leftover roasted turkey so it jumped in too. I was just about done when I spied a bag of dried cranberries. Why not? Just a few in each enchilada would make a nice addition of flavor and texture. I have a favorite jarred enchilada sauce always on hand, and with a cup of shredded cheese and some corn tortillas my dish was done. The result was savory, creamy, a little sweet, and the occasional pop of tart cranberry was lovely. Garnished with a little sour cream and a few pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top, my orphan pumpkin was lonely no more. And considering the ingredients, looks like a new post-Thanksgiving tradition is about to be instituted!
Pumpkin, Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 10 corn tortillas
- 16oz. jar or 2 cups of your favorite enchilada sauce
- 6 oz. shredded turkey or chicken (you could leave this out if you wanted a vegetarian version and just add in another cup of spinach and ¼ cup cheese)
- 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed mostly dry
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I use ½ cup sharp cheddar and ½ cup of a lite Mexican mix. Jack, Pepper jack, or any cheese you like is fine as long as it melts well. Don’t use fat-free)
- A good pinch of salt and pepper
- 3-4 TBSP dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread about ½ cup enchilada sauce in a 9 x 11” baking dish to cover the bottom. Wet some paper towels, wring them out and wrap around the corn tortillas. Microwave for 45 seconds to soften and make the tortillas are more pliable. Mix together the turkey, spinach, pumpkin, ½ cup shredded cheese and a good pinch of salt and pepper together in a bowl. Take a tortilla (keep the others wrapped until you use them), put about ¼ cup of the mixture down the center, top with a few cranberries. Roll the tortilla up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Continue with the rest of the tortillas, fitting them all tightly in the baking dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over, making sure to cover all the tortillas. Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
Garnish with your favorite toppings. (I like just a little sour cream and some pomegranate seeds.) Calories: about 160 per enchilada.
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