Sunday, February 6, 2011

When You Wish Upon A Star* *Some Restrictions Apply

Earlier this week, the guy I'm dating (who has somehow managed to escape any sort of clever nickname thus far) was getting dressed for work, and telling me about a meeting he was having with someone important at the office about potential job opportunities for him. I told him how sure I was that it was going to go well. After all, he's smart, and motivated, and reliable, and confident, he has all the tools to succeed. I kissed him goodbye and sent him off, wishing him well again, but in the back of my mind, I didn't believe what I was saying. 

I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say, but it has nothing to do with him. He really is great. But unfortunately, that's not good enough anymore. I don't know if it ever was good enough to begin with, but I was raised to believe it was. 

I was raised on ideals. I was raised on Disney movies that said when you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are, you can get what you want. You know, "no request is too extreme", and all that fun stuff. I was taught that if I set my mind to it, I could be anything I wanted to be. I was taught that if I worked hard, I could achieve my goals. I was told I was special and unique, and that working hard was enough. 

That's a really nice thought when you're a kid, but now that I'm older, it pretty much just sucks. Because it's not true. It's as much about who you know, what you have handed to you, and luck as it is about hard work or talent. Out in the real world, no one cares what my GPA was, or that I graduated early. No one cares what awards I got in school, or what clubs I participated in. My SAT scores are more irrelevant than a walkman. Nothing I worked hard at actually matters. And it's frustrating, because I'm a smart, motivated, enthusiastic person who can't get her foot in the door because my resume doesn't have the only thing people care about - experience.

I mean, sure. I have experience. I have a 2 page resume chock full of education, jobs, activities, and references. I've been in the work force for 6 years now. I've got plenty of experience. But it's not experience that is necessarily specific to many of the jobs I'm trying to get. My guy expressed a similar frustration. He said that people look at his resume and immediately write him off because he's trying to break into a new area that he hasn't worked in. Unfortunately, his logic on how to deal with it doesn't seem to have a good enough answer: "I can either spend half the interview defending my resume and experience, or I can just try to show them why they should give me a chance, because I know I can do it." I find that I have a similar problem - in interviews, I realize that people know very little about what any of the jobs on my resume actually entail. I have to spend the whole time explaining everything I used to do, or I risk them misconstruing it. And the whole time, I'm just thinking "I'm a hard worker. I'm smart. That was supposed to be good enough." 

It's a frustrating place to be in, and I'm not exactly sure what to do about it except keep trying. But I can't help feeling like I'm wasting so much of my time and potential. I can do these jobs, all I need is to get one foot in the door.

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." -Tyler Durden, Fight Club


Friday, February 4, 2011

Thoughts At A Job Interview

So I had a job interview today, and due to the incomprehensible and highly unusual competence of the MTA and the Manhattan subway system, I arrived at the office 20 minutes before my interview was scheduled. As I was waiting in the lobby, my mind was racing with a myriad of different thoughts, many of which I'm sure you all will find amusing, and can relate to. Here are some of them.

"Is 20 minutes early too early? It's too cold to wait outside, I might as well go upstairs."
"Oh man, I totally don't know how to pronounce the name of the woman I'm supposed to be interviewing with." 
"The receptionist probably thinks I'm an idiot for pronouncing this woman's name wrong." 
"Wow, everybody who works here is really young."
"Oh jeez, I am totally overdressed. Nobody here is in business attire."
"Oh, wait, it's Friday. So, casual Fridays?"
"Do jeans count for casual Fridays? That's really casual..." 
"I wish the receptionist would call this woman again to tell her I'm here."
"These girls are totally judging my tights right now..."
"My shoes don't really match, do they?" 
"Now I really wish she'd call her again... now it looks like I'm late."
"I hope she doesn't think I don't care about being on time, that looks so bad." 
"This woman has no idea what any of the jobs on my resume actually are, does she?"
"Why do I have to explain why I'm not pursuing a job in what I majored in? Lots of people do that, right?"
"Maybe I should just take my major off my resume..."
"Why is wanting to make a career out of administrative assisting so weird? It's stable, it pays well, it makes sense."
"How come no one pays attention to my GPA?"
"I should make my resume say that I graduated early, that would be more impressive."
"She sounds like she has a thing for the CEO. But I'm probably just reading too much into it."
"What is the appropriate amount of 'impressed' to express at this point in the tour?" 
"Am I smiling too much?" 
"I haven't shaken her hand yet, how am I demonstrate a strong handshake?"
"Wait, maybe the handshake is just a guy thing."
"Eye contact, that's what I'm supposed to do."
"But if I do that too much, isn't it creepy?"

Enjoy, and share your own fun job interview thoughts. 


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why Did I Tell The Internet I Needed A Job?

As many of you know, I am on the job hunt again. I'm looking for a more stable line of work, and while I do still have my retail job, I'd do just about anything for a cozy little cubicle in an office somewhere. My seemingly endless quest for such a cubicle has lead me through endless job websites, online applications, and other such internet extravaganzas. 

As a result of this, it seems that my personal information has been leaked to just about anyone who could ever want it. In the past weeks, I've received literally hundreds of spam emails, and cannot go a single day without getting phone calls to my cell that are completely unrelated to any of the jobs I've applied for. I've had people try to get me to sell life insurance, and I've been tricked into going to a staffing company full of hope only to realize it was a complete waste of time. 

Is it just me, or is that a lot of unnecessary bullshit that I shouldn't have to go through in order to get a job? All I'm looking to do is start a promising and stable career as some kind of office assistant. Really. That's all I'm asking for. I shouldn't have to get harassed via phone and email about things that have nothing to do with the job I'm looking for. To say that I'm pissed is an understatement. 

All this just so that I can have the security of having a more stable job, and have the great delight of actually knowing what nights and weekends are after spending all of my adult life working them. Paid vacation? What's that? A SICK DAY? God forbid. Benefits? Don't make me laugh. I make no secret of the fact that the company I've spent most of my working years employed by only ensures a magical experience for the guests it serves and is a bit of a trainwreck for many of us behind the scenes. Apart from the lack of decent salary or benefits for anyone below a certain level, I have seen some SKETCHY shit go down upstairs. But god forbid those people don't get their hefty bonuses at the end of the year...

I digress. Point is, I'm looking for a job that is a little more like a job and a little less like exploitation while the head honchos upstairs frown upon you from their seats of inscrutable power. Or perhaps every job is actually like that, but if so, I would like to experience it from the inside of a cubicle.

I continue to digress. The point is, I am regretting the path my desperation has lead me down in hunting for a job, because I cannot stand the phone calls and the emails and wading through all the crap. I'm just looking for a job. In an office. In a cubicle. Behind a reception desk. I'm really not being picky here. And I don't think I deserve to have my information spewed to anyone who wants it every time I try to apply for a job. I'm sick of the job hunt being 80% bullshit and 20% actual job hunting. And I'm sick of watching people who don't even try manage to land jobs when those of us who are working our asses off to get them can't even get a phone call. 

I'm not asking for it to be easy, but seriously? Can we cut the crap?


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prince Charming Just Isn't Worth It

As girls, we always dream about our Prince Charming coming along to sweep us off our feet, and make us fall madly in love. It's a nice story, of course, but when it comes to real life, perhaps it's not quite the story we're looking for. 

But there he is... and he's charming, alright. And he's certainly not bad to look at, either. He's everything you think you want, so you're swooning, and he's mopping you up off the pavement and carrying you off. And maybe while you're in his arms, being carted away, it crosses your mind that "Wow, he's really good at this..." 

If he's really good at it, there's probably a reason why he's really good at it. Like, He Does This A Lot, or He's Not Being Genuine. I'm not saying that you should doubt every guy who ever approaches you, but rather that it's worthwhile to try and dig deeper before you fall head over heels. Yes, he's an attractive piece of man candy, and yes, he's quite charming, as the name would imply. But... what else? 

In between his seemingly sweet words and his bedroom eyes, what else is there? Is there an ability to be serious behind that charming laugh? Is there any sincerity to back up his kind words? Furthermore, do his actions ever stand behind them? Is there any degree of intellect hiding behind those smoldering eyes? Is there anything deeper than the Prince Charming exterior? Or are you going to get to the castle and realize that the guy you thought was perfect is actually a selfish, unmotivated jerk who is more interested in taking advantage of the fact that you think he's perfect than actually being a good guy for you. 

Those guys should come with a warning label. I've seen time and time again myself and my girlfriends fall for these guys who look perfect, and win over friends and family by always knowing just what to say, but have absolutely nothing going for them once you realize that it's just a facade. It's hard to see it at first, especially when you're so blinded by the sunshine you hallucinated shining out this guy's butt. He's charming, and attractive, and no, of course he's not using you for money, or emotional support, or sex. He would never do a thing like that. 

Except that he totally would. 

And if that's what you're looking for, far be it from me to deny you. Swoon dramatically into his arms, let him carry you to his bedroom and charm the pants off you if that's what you're in the mood for. Nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is watching the girls who aren't expecting that get hurt by the guy they thought was going to rescue them. Those are the ones I'm trying to protect. 

Prince Charming isn't the one you want. Yes, he looks perfect, and when he's whispering sweet nothings into your ear, you're a high risk situation. But a good deal of the time, there's nothing behind the pleasant exterior. Or if there is, it's a lot more villainous than what you were expecting...