Many of you who spend a considerable amount of time at this blog, or in my life, are aware that I’m something of a sneakerhead. Those of you who pay close attention know that my heart, very specifically, belongs to Adidas. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a fan of “the brand with the three stripes”, and had a voracious appetite for most anything that came in that iconic blue shoebox. Many of you know this, but few of you know that I actually had an interview with Adidas Canada for a job doing design for them. I’d been preparing for this position my whole life, and it was finally an attainable goal. I didn’t get the job, but I did take away a lot from the experience honour.
I was first made aware of the opening by one of my homies, Jared, who works at the Queen Street Adidas Originals store. The fact that I’m on a first name basis with my local “Adidas-guys” would strike some as bizarre but, given the amount of time I’m in that store, it makes perfect sense. One of my greatest passions in life is people. It has never struck me as odd to invest in anyone who holds any significance in my life. Think of your relationship with your local barista at that café you always get your coffee from, or the concierge in your building. I try to make it a lot like that in my life, but with everyone. And for no other reason than the fact that we’re decent enough friends, Jared emailed me this job posting from head office. Big up to Jared, and Taurean, and all the other homies at the Queen Street store. You’re all rad humans.
After re-tailoring my résumé, and making sure everything with my website and portfolio were in check, I submitted my application and started cannonballing prayers out (anytime the thought crossed my mind, I fired one off to God). I’d actually been working on getting on Adidas Canada’s radar for months by this point. My thesis project contained more Adidas shoes than any other brand, and I’d even dropped prints off at the Queen Street store where my humans had already been petitioning the powers-that-be in head office to throw some contracts my way. So when I was awoken my a phone call from Woodbridge, ON that fateful late-morning, you can imagine my heart stopping for a moment before powering back up long enough for me to answer. I had a pretty great phone interview with a gentleman from the HR department who informed me of a more substantial position in the department (which I was aware of, but thought I wasn’t qualified for) that I could also be considered for, and arranged for my in-person interview at the head office.
The week of my interview, I texted about 25 friends and family members to let them know. Each and every one of them proceeded to blow up my phone with an overwhelming level of love, support, well-wishes, and prayers. By the time I got to the office, I didn’t even care if I was about to make a fool of myself or not. I had been reminded of blessed I am to have the humans I have in my life, and that was (and still is), frankly, good enough to call that day a success. I waltzed into the building with Run-DMC’s My Adidas playing on my iPhone on repeat, then waited to meet Andrea Falasca; a designer who’s work I’d come across about a year prior (and really admired) and, coincidentally, the Graphic Design Supervisor at Adidas Canada.
My meeting with Andrea was actually very surreal. She was super friendly, which certainly eased the bewilderment of actually being in the Adidas Group offices. The interview actually ran less like an interview and more like an orientation to what a wild and magical place Adidas Canada is. By the end of it, I was more sure than ever that I wanted this job more than any other job I’d ever wanted in my life. The office was beautiful, my potential boss was wonderful, and the work I’d be doing was everything that has made me Paul Chin, with room for desired challenge and mind-blowing. At the end of it, Andrea even gave me a brief tour then took me down to the invite-only store where she put me on a list which allowed me to buy anything in the store for 50% off the sticker price. I was in heaven/hell. Fortunately, I maintained control of enough of my faculties to remember that I didn’t have the job yet, and refrained from buying out the whole store. I left with one humble, yet fly Colorado windbreaker.
The next step was to submit a take-home assignment, the details of which I won’t get into. I worked on it for about three days, and even included a bonus extra piece which I designed for them (a Derek Rose t-shirt). After that, it was completely out of my hands. Which was the worst. In all the years God has been teaching me, and showing me just how much control over situations He has (and how much better at it He is than me), I still totally suck at letting go. I know, totally, that I need to stop being so hands-on with a lot of my life. I’m prone to locking onto something and preparing to fight heaven and hell to get it, even if it kills me. And I fail to consider how little use whatever-it-is would be to me when it kills me. Furthermore, they fell a little behind on interviews, so I actually DIDN’T end up hearing back from them on the day I was told I would. That day was a Friday, which meant I fell headfirst into the antsiest weekend in the history of weekends. It was a weekend filled with prayer and friends calling/texting/tweeting me to find out if I’d heard back (which I hadn’t), but it was still definitely a weekend of a racing mind. And it was a weekend in which I felt the inkling that I wasn’t going to get the job.
By Wednesday, my suspicions had been confirmed. I received a phone call from the same gentleman who had conducted my phone interview a few weeks prior. He went through all the obligatory HR rigmarole. He told me about how they had gone through the interviews and had narrowed the scope down (there were 150+ applicants, to a shortlist of six, to a shortlist of three). He told me how it was a difficult process selecting who was going to fill the two available positions. Then he finally told me that neither would be filled by me. I thanked him for the courtesy, and told him I understood (which I truly did). And that was the end of my adventure with Adidas Canada.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, even a little still, with the results. I still very much believe I’m the man for the job (even if there are apparently two better). The thing I’ve learnt, however, is that I’m not the man for the job right now. I hope to remain in contact with Andrea and I’ll definitely keep up my relationships with my humans at Queen Street. Andrea’s a phenomenal designer and the fact that she took the time to consider my work and offer me a chance speaks highly to how much I respect her. In the wake of my recent rejection from my “dream job”, I’ve been exercising what some consider to be an unnaturally good attitude toward the situation. Unnatural or not, it’s the only response I’ve found to be appropriate, consider the amount of favour that’s been shown to me.
So what’s next? Well, in addition to staying on the hunt for new work and contracts (I’ve just finished some fashion stuff that I can’t wait to reveal to you), I’m working on a fairly large passion project. I won’t give away too much, as I expect I’ll be working on it for a long time before anything is fit to be revealed, but I’ll be doing a lot of writing and drawing. Which is perfect, because those are both things which require me to dream. I’m totally in the market for a new “dream job” anyway.