The Baggage We Bring: An Email From A Bootcamp Client

This email from a client, following on an Interview Bootcamp with Kellee, is an insightful articulation of the ways that anxieties, resentments, and insecurities about your work and the profession can seep into your ability to prepare for and perform well in interview settings.  This client took a pretty horrendous Bootcamp experience, and extracted valuable insight from it.   I applaud the client’s willingness to “go deep,” and hope others will do the same when confronted with unexpected obstacles or disappointments in their process.


Good morning Kellee and Karen,

I just wanted to follow up after the boot camp with a bit of feedback. In sum, the Interview Bootcamp was equally excruciating and helpful to me, and I am indeed appreciative.

To give a bit more detail, the experience called my attention to the fact that I have a lot of emotional baggage tied to my relationship with my profession and the job search process, which I now am able to identify, name, and discard bit by bit. I learned that I have been angry, angry about all of this. Just being conscious of my disappointment and my resentment at this prolonged uncertainty about the future was necessary. Somehow I have been able to operate under these conditions thus far, but this can’t continue. It’s time to accept or release. I am kind of doing both right now. My core goal is to serve a greater social good, specifically with regards to race relations and ending discrimination in this century, and I can do that from within academia or from without. That goal will guide the rest of my academic job search and I trust the process to place me where I am most useful.

As boot camp flops go, I know I flopped it. You are a patient soul, Kellee. However – we get what we need when we need it and I needed to flop it in order to be able to commit to the process when it does count. That alone is immensely valuable to me. After the session I cried for an hour and took a 3 hour nap. I was demoralized for about half a day and then got back into the saddle for another go.

I learned that I ramble, that my answers are circuitous and wind-baggish. That is not too tough to be conscious of and remediate. But I learned that my own insecurities about the field and my place in it weaken my answers and that I had better believe in myself or no one else will. I learned that my voice gets high when I’m nervous or defensive but that my content off the cuff is not terrible. The intensity of having to answer for what I have and have not prepared catalyzed my recognition of the emotional obstacles I have allowed to interfere with my interview prep, so for me, the flopped boot camp was invaluable.

I also got really good notes to guide my formal preparations this week.

To both of you – I observe you as having plugged into right livelihood and I applaud your work. All the best.

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The Baggage We Bring: An Email From A Bootcamp Client — 4 Comments

  1. I feel very happy for the writer of this post–it seems like she really got a lot out of the bootcamp. It’s a bit hard as a third party to take a lesson from this post, I find–it is a really good testimonial and very raw and honest, but as so often when other people are describing their personal journeys it feels like I don’t totally understand the context. perhaps you could contextualize a bit more, Dr. Karen or Kellee?

  2. Pingback: Conditionally Accepted | Is It Just Me? Slowly Disposing Of “Grad School Garbage”

  3. This blog entry matches my experience, too. I failed with Kellee, but now I know better how to prepare for the interview for my dream job…this week! Thanks to TPII.

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