Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Part-Time Jobs (rant alert)

Recently I decided it'd be a good thing for me to get some part-time work.  The purpose of this is not because I enjoy work so much that I want to do it even more than I already do.  No, I have many bills (mostly self-inflicted), and I desperately need a new car.  So, unless I actually win the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, or someone just walks up to me on the street and hands me the keys to a new vehicle, I NEED MONEY (that's what I want).

And so, the job search.  I would be OK with working part-time anywhere in the local mall, or perhaps at one of my favorite stores. Now, once upon a time, gentle readers, looking for a job went like this:  

(1) You saw that a place you'd like to work was hiring. 

(2) You called or walked in and filled out an application. 

(3) When a callback was received, an interview was set up and conducted between yourself and the person hiring, and/or perhaps the one who'd wind up as your supervisor.  

(4) If they liked you, they'd offer you the job, and at some point in the not-too-distant future, you'd be working there, for better or worse.

Simple, no?

Yes.  Too simple, in fact, for the employment climate of the 21st century, as it turns out.  Most places don't want to see your face before they deign to summon you for your interrogation.  The initial contact is normally online now, which isn't terrible; I have awful handwriting, so my typing is much easier to read.  This is good.  And not so good: you don't get the chance to make a good first impression as you're handing in your application.  Everyone wants to see a resume, which is kind of overkill in the case of someone like me, who isn't planning to leave her current job.  Seriously, the local Target really doesn't need to know where I graduated from high school or college three decades ago.  But I dutifully fill in every field, because to leave anything out indicates a cardinal sin.

Next is the questionnaire.  Yes, you heard me right.  This again I will gamely complete, because I can't not.  However, the tone of the questions or statements troubles me.  As you progress (and the one from a large chain store took nearly a half hour; I'm thinking there were 100+ statements for me to agree or disagree with), some of the questions seem to be repeated...quite a few times.  And then some of them are just weird, and nobody in their right mind would agree ("My boss would say I'm the best worker he ever had") or disagree.  If you agreed, people would think you're lying.  If you disagreed, they'd toss the application in the digital circular file.

I did the computer equivalent of a shrug and pressed on.

Now, I must say that till now, nothing I've done online has borne fruit.  (I did walk in and speak to the nice lady that runs a smaller business in our mall, but we weren't able to settle on an interview date and time due to conflicting schedules. This can be fixed with a day off.)  But I know what's coming.  In the unlikely event of an actual face-to-face interview, I will probably be asked many (if not all) of the same questions I already answered online.  Hey, I'm not trying to be the president, or even a manager.  All I want to do is make $8 an hour while asking someone the equivalent of "You want fries with that?"

My own company, when interviewing a longtime employee, will make them go through three interviews in one day: one with the potential boss; one with a potential co-worker or team leader; and one with a very nice HR lady.  When I recently tried to get a different position, I knew by the silence that followed that I hadn't gotten it.  Then, when the nice HR lady contacted me to put the last nail into the coffin, she said something that shocked me: I should "watch my language" in future interviews, because I had cursed in front of someone (not her).  

To whom did I curse, and what did I say?  I still wonder, since she's never gotten back to me with the answer.  I mean, seriously, folks, no matter if you're a trucker, or just have a potty mouth in private (me): who's going to use something worse than hell or damn when speaking to an interviewer?  Was the person I "cursed at" (more like "used mild profanity in her presence") so refined that I actually offended her?  She didn't act that way.  Oh well, fuck that.  I have bigger fish to fry.

You know, one of the places I applied to (no word yet) uses a service that sends me "personalized job alerts" every day.  There are hundreds of jobs out there, folks, not even kidding!  Maybe not all of them are careers, but they exist.  And so do the mountains of bullshit I'll apparently have to climb in order to get one of them.

Wish me luck.  I'm gonna need it.

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