This Question Showed Me How I Can Add More Joy to My Life

It’s not every day you get excited by a job interview question

Ria Tagulinao


Photo by Gary Barnes

A former office crush once told me that I should actively go on job interviews, even if I have no plans on leaving my job. Apparently, it would be a good exercise. I didn’t really understand what he meant, but I told him off because why the hell would I want to entertain other opportunities when I was perfectly happy working with him ’til death do us part?

Kidding aside, since that conversation I’ve changed jobs thrice, shifted careers, and jumped to the other side (that is, from the “client side” to the “agency side”). So, yes, I’ve gone through more than a handful of interviews. Needless to say, not all of them have been successful. But for all the hassle and anxiety that job interviews cause, I’ve learned to see an underrated benefit from subjecting yourself to them: They facilitate self-clarity.

Preparing for an interview forces you to pause, revisit your experiences, ask yourself simple but critical questions (What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? What’s your goal? How does this opportunity align with yourself?), and articulate your answers as well as you can.

Sometimes, however, it’s the interview itself that can reveal or elucidate something about yourself. And I’m here to tell you about such an experience — or more specifically, about one question that helped me clarify what really brings me joy. And let me say: this is probably the most invigorating, most gratifying question I’ve had the pleasure of answering in a job interview.

But before I share the question and the pleasure of answering it for yourself, I want you to promise me something: You have to capture the first thing that comes to mind. This isn’t the time to overthink. (When is it ever?) We are after your most visceral truth. Okay?

Okay. Here it is:

What gives you wings?

I know this question has various, rather vanilla alternatives: “What motivates you?” or “What fuels you?” or maybe even “What’s your passion?” But what makes this version so powerful to me is the imagery. When I was asked…



Ria Tagulinao

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