Would You Hire Me?

July 4th, 2008

A revolution just isn’t that easy to pull off when you’re a former white-collar executive turned blue-collar working class stiff. There’s the whole pesky business of finding a new job in a new state, and explaining why your resume is wildly diverse. Media buyer, marketing manager, cook, writer, postal worker, salesperson, career counselor. I’ve handled million dollar budgets and served up hash on a plate. I’ve opened an in-house ad agency and filled penile implants with saline, but my reasons — “following my bliss” and “empirical experimentation” — will likely not go over well with prospective employers.

And unfortunately, the freedom to reinvent ourselves that we enjoyed in the 70’s and 80’s, when employers didn’t pull our complete life histories from the cold ass of a computer, is all but gone. Not only do They know your complete work history (and they are an uppercase entity now that they’ve capitulated to big brotherdom), they also know about that court date you had in 1972, what bills you’re paying (or not), and the middle names of your children.

Given that we’re presently subjects in the human version of Orwell’s Animal Farm, I may not make it as far as an interview. I may end up going door to door in California, offering my services as freelance writer, massage therapist, dog trainer, cook, driver, or house painter. Maybe I’ll end up fake drowning myself in someone’s pool, ala Nick Nolte and “Down and Out in Beverly Hills”, and become some dysfunctional rich couple’s saving grace. Or maybe the fates will find me playing Eldon to someone else’s Murphy Brown.

More realistically, I’ll probably end up working in an office again, doing something office-like, after I press through the jungle of Human Resources and end up in some executive’s office, where I’ll pull out all the standard devices of the unemployed. I’ll nearly burst at the seams with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude. I’ll be perky and positive, and when I’m asked to list my worst trait, I’ll tell them that I’m a people pleaser, or that I often ignore my personal time in favor of work.

Eventually, they’ll get to know the real me, but by then I’ll have impressed them with the only thing that should have counted in the first place – my work. Oh, they might be disappointed with my lack of participation in the company’s social functions, or my unsubtle disdain for the guy who needs to turn a five-minute meeting into an hour long bitchfest, and they might even feel compelled to talk to me about proper company etiquette and attitude, but they won’t have any complaints about my actual work. They’ll only wish that I could do it while acting as real as a Barbie or as pumped up as a Joel Osteen devotee.

I’m not looking forward to any part of the process, but unless I can pry some miracle from the clutches of saints and goddesses, it’s unavoidable. Until then, in a fit of honesty, I’ve written the bullet points of Jane as an employee.

  • I hate cliches, especially really stupid ones like “There is no I in team”. No, but there is a me in team, and no us or we – and there is an I in some really great words like bliss, creative, and utopia. Do you really want to get me started?
  • I’m irritated by those outdoor scene office posters with some pithy little saying at the bottom like “Success: found in not only what we achieve, but in what we try to achieve”, or “Winners: while most are dreaming of success, winners work hard and achieve it”. Can we please stop confusing an office and fluorescent lights with anything resembling nature? Can we stop using lame quotes as motivation?
  • I’m just not that into nepotism. I won’t be particularly nice to that lazy, scattered brain nephew you hired to get your sister off your back. In fact, if he’s shiftless and vacant, and I have to do his work for him – or even if I’m just in proximity to the work he’s left undone – I will pretty much consider him fair game.
  • I’m intolerant of all kinds of stupid, including interview questions like “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” or “Tell me about a problem you once had at work and how you handled it”. Every interviewee knows what kind of answers are expected, and we all know better than to give honest answers like “not here” or “I quit working for the asshole”. Why not ask real questions, ones where the answers might really matter? Like, what can you do for us? Will our office posters drive you nuts? What would you do to make my lazy ass nephew quit so I don’t have to fire him and deal with my sister?
  • I have a neutral attitude. It shifts towards positive or negative depending on the reality of any given situation. I don’t fake happiness, or annoy people with baseless, chronic complaints. I believe in being genuine, even while getting paid.
  • I’m passionate, driven by ideals and new ideas, hard-working, stubborn, independent, creative, funny, empathetic, intelligent, self-motivated, talented, resilient, tough, kind, energetic, and I do my best work with limited directions and minimal interactions – which is why I often work from home.
  • I will replace any cheap, weak coffee in your office with the good stuff, and throw away all the styrofoam cups. I rank bad coffee right up there with other work blights, like sports talk, casual Fridays, potlucks, and needless meetings. And styrofoam cups just give me the willies. I shivered a little just typing the word.

Would you hire me? Would you hire yourself after taking an honest inventory of your own strengths and peccadillos?

25 Responses to “Would You Hire Me?”

  • Hell yes I’d hire you, Jane. We’d be a business collective of two, but I know I could have that collective close to 100 within a week, given how many people I know who want exactly the same things.

    Well, we would have to ‘re-visit’ (gak, but, hey, I’m transitioning) the coffee thing. How about in a non-central location and cold milk flows just as freely as the coffee?


    You have managed to hit on just about every irritation I have with the hiring process. It really is a joke, isn’t it? If only they heard what you were saying inside your head as they asked those asinine questions! I still get annoyed each year during the review process when I am asked where I’d like to be in 5-10 years. What I really wanted to say is EMPLOYED!

    In my field, one is subject to multiple interview groups at a time, then, if they like you, they invite you back another day for more multiple interview groups. This process takes so long that lunch is usually ordered in and even that makes me wonder if they are judging as I eat…

    “Well, I really liked her, she has a positive attitude and great work ethic but did you see that piece of pastrami in the corner of her mouth? I think we should pass on this one”

    Really, it’s all a crap shot, isn’t it? Some people interview horribly and are wonderful, productive employees and others interview very well and are lazy scabs who suck the air out of a room. I remember a good friend of mine who routinely interviewed people at 3M telling me that she doesn’t form any opinions from someone’s resume, anyone can “pretty” up a resume and pad their skills, so she rarely referred to it. She knew that if someone had made it past HR and was at her desk for an interview that they already had the job experience, so what she went by was the potential employee’s personal qualities. She’d ask herself, will this person fit in with this working environment/group? Is s/he likable? Her rationale was that different jobs required different personality types and I tend to agree. All the computer dorks who sit near me are very Asperger’s, and that works for that particular position, while that particular personality type would not work well in the marketing group or sales department.

    So, my advice to you, Jane, is to be yourself and they will love you!

  • Well, this is just plain wierd.

    I’m going for a fifth interview in a professional services firm on Monday. This position is to manage an office in downtown San Francisco. So far, it looks very promising. I’m more than qualified. It’s a good job that will provide for my family very nicely.

    A couple of things on this … #1, big cities have WAY more opportunities than little towns, even New England towns which are for less than two hours from the Big Apple. If you want more opportunity, stick with the metropolitan areas. #2, in an interview, know your stuff, but BE YOURSELF. If you’re not yourself and you get hired, chances are you’ll hate it. Unless you really, really need a job, in which case, grab what you can. Been there, too. #3, GO FOR IT! Interviews are like little exercises in confidence. Or they can be the opposite. For example, after six months of getting slammed in Connecticut, I was REALLY nervous before my first face to face in this process. It was intense to realize how much that bummer of experience screwed with my confidence. Regardless, you gotta just go for it.

    I had to take a personal inventory before this one, Jane. I’ve learned a lot about myself, too.

    Interviewing … sheesh.

  • There’s so much I could respond to here, and wow, you just pushed so many of my buttons! The posters - gag! The forced and enforcement of “positive attitudes”, and the stupid, pat questions in interviews…….I hate all of that stuff…….. including styro-foam cups!

    It’s so sad that we can’t get jobs based on talent alone, or desire, or how well we’d really perform. All that fakeness you talk about starts with the hiring process, where people are excluded based on sets of criteria that a lot of the times have nothing to do with whether they’d be a good or bad employee. Didn’t you once write an article about how credit scores are being used for employment and car insurance? There’s that, plus even something as small as a typo on a resume, or getting fired from someplace, or not working at a bad place long enough.

    It WAS better in the 70’s because people took other people at face value and didn’t let credit scores, or jobs from ten years ago determine their decisions. Even college degrees weren’t the thing they are now.

    It’s also sad that we can’t all just be ourselves, and that we have to play along if we’re going to get in the game. Telling an employer any of those things on your list would get you kicked out the door! LOL.

    I used to fear losing my job, and I don’t anymore that my finances are stable……. and I think if I had to look again, and a job was a necessity, I’d be S-O-L if I was honest about what I like and what I don’t.

    To answer your question though, yes I’d hire you! And I’d put you in charge of hiring!

  • Hmmmmm….I think this calls for another video! A “Hire my friend, Jane” video! Lesbians are really popular right now. That is a selling point, I think.

  • i’d hire ya….absolutely! but i am a company of one currently with no expansion plans due to the suck-ass economy. (or i’d have print-worthy branded everything, a storefront, an online store and a client list i couldn’t keep up with).

    we did just fire the nanny, however :)…but the pay sucks.

    make your own parody motivational poster here:
    (they have a blog tee-shirt i’ve been eyeing for some time) it’s loads of fun…..

    okay…gotta go make merry with the gathering of families here today.

  • Well, I once didn’t get hired for a job because I was “too shiney.” Yes. That is what the boss told my colleague who referred me. “Everyone loved her, but I think she is too shiney.” So, whatever you do: do not shine.

  • Karen, are you sure they didn’t say “skinny”? :-) LOL. I have never heard of being shiney before. Maybe they meant too bright, like the sun. Or too happy. That one would have really thrown me for a loop.

  • I would hire you in an instant! Perhaps that means you should look at veterinary office openings…

    I would also date you in an instant. I am a serious fan of people who are intolerant of stupid. And good coffee. And several other points you made. Upstate NY could be a serious option to CA……


  • We need more intolerance of stupid in this world! If we had that, we wouldn’t have tolerated Bush for 8 years, Exxon and partners would be on trial for price gouging and fraud, and celebrities who murder people would go to prison just like their non-celebrity counterparts.

    And we need more good coffee and coffee drinkers, because they’re the kind of people who stay up late, converse, and come up with change-the-world-as-we-know-it ideas. Or at least they have fun and get to know others while they try.

    I just pictured me in a veterinary office, loving animals (except the reptilian ones), loving the good owners, and totally chewing out the parents that don’t teach their children how to care for whatever pet they got, or supervise their care (pet peeve #11 or 12). Oh, and I’d take all the strays and left-behinds and unloved ones home. :-)

    I’ve seen the snow in NY. I think it may even snow worse there than here!

  • Something else I want to say on this topic … changing economic times has created an interesting little nitch in the job market. It’s called “~or equivalent experience” and lets you in the door if you’ve had enough like experience on your resume. I used to think that door was closed to people without a degree, but I’m finding that people with a degree often think they are entitled to more cash. And I suppose they do in appropriate professional positions.

    However, I’m finding that as companies, firms, etc., look more closely at the bottom line, and restructure to do business more efficiency for less money, the bottom line becomes more important than prestige. “~or equivalent experience” opens the door to new experiences.

    The world is changing, and with change comes opportunity.

    Rather than bitch and moan about what we don’t like (as opposed to writing clever narrative, which is an entirely different ball of wax, of course), I say take a new look at what’s happening out there.

    You may be surprised at what’s brewing …


  • I would hire the massage therapist because my back is F’ing killing me! One stipulation: you have to make your own coffee - I have no idea how as I don’t drink it and only tried it for the first time in Feb of this year.

    “Follow your bliss” and visualize the job you want, then open the door for it to come in! Good luck in the search!


  • A woman after my own heart. Someone that would probably be happiest not working for other people, unless she found that rare place where she could really be herself, be accepted, and where her energies weren’t drained by all that nasty stuff on the edges, like lazy relatives and meetings that have no real purpose.

    Hell yes, I’d hire you! If only to save you from the little death I suspect you experience every time you enter a cubicle or pass another “Motivational” poster.

    Donna’s got a great attitude as far as employment, but I don’t share it. I have friends, super-smart and loaded with experience, who can’t get jobs, or who can only get jobs that barely pay. Friends that are losing houses, as a matter of fact, due to our economy. How the hell do people who work for $8/hr. at Target afford to live? That kind of pay won’t even cover rent.

    /rant over

    You’re brave, Jane. And probably too smart. I hope one day your writing pays off so that you don’t ever have “fake it to make it” or sit under another flourescent light.

  • HEY! There are some of us out here who don’t drink coffee, who used to be able to stay up late (kitties who get you up before sunrise to feed and open doors put you to bed early!), and are still great conversationalists.

    Don’t eliminate us from the equation just because we prefer tea or soda or water. And years of growing up as a patient in a body cast in hospitals and then working in a hospital for 10 years makes you an early riser forever although I can stay up if the conversation is worth it.

    I can solve the world’s problems just as well as you can, my dear! (Did I get the apostrophe in the right place this time?)

    I’d bring home the animals too. I was in the vet’s office one morning about 730 with one of the cats. 3 men brought in their lab who had died in his sleep. My vet, Natalie, told me not to cry or she’d start too. Tears were streaming down my face at the dad and sons loss.

    My husband doesn’t allow me to watch “pet of the week”. He knows I’ll either try to adopt it or cry because s/he doesn’t have a good home. And SOOOOO many animals have been given up thanks to the mortgage crises. It breaks my heart but I’m already over the legal limit here.

  • In my recent interview I vaguely remember saying ‘are you fucking serious??’ - and I got hired.

    Yeah, you can take the girl out of the ‘hood but you can’t take the ‘hood outta the girl!

  • Just kiddin’, Marcie. :-) I have some tea in my house that has some wonderful caffeine — I think it would make you stay up late!

    Jolene! Some people have all the luck. :-)

  • Are you suffering from hidden talents?


  • I’m job hunting too. It’s so demoralizing.

    When my son was an infant, I brought him to a lunch with a bunch of my journalist friends. Kathryn leaned over him and said, “Oh, V, do you think he’ll be a writer when he grows up?”

    “God, Kathryn, not a writer! I’m hoping he gets into something that’s more respectable, well paying, and stable. Maybe he could be an ACTOR!!!”

    It’s all relative. ; )

    Why couldn’t I have been drawn to nursing? There are ALWAYS nursing jobs and they get SIGNING bonuses too and they have the hospitals, doctors, and the patients at their complete mercy because they’re so indispensable. I’m a mother and pet owner; I’ve wiped asses, noses, and cleaned up blood and vomit. I ought to go to nursing school! I’m sure it’s like Grey’s Anatomy, and when I wasn’t saving lives or emptying bedpans, I could be getting laid in a supply closet by a guy with good hair and even better teeth.

  • OMG, Kris….thank you! My path is now clear. I must get a degree in Pulp and Paper Making from the International Correspondence Schools.

    And my mother said I’d never make anything of myself. Hmmmph. I’m thinking with the kind of knowledge I gain from ICS, I can just print my own damn money and skip all of this job nonsense.

    V-Grrrl….too funny!

  • Yes, Jane I would hire you. I wonder if the person sitting behind the desk would hire you if you said, when asked, that in five years you planned to be in their chair? I was asked that question once and I could only say that I didn’t plan my life that far in advance. It wasn’t a big job and she hired me but in four years I sold my house and moved halfway across the country. Who ever knows what is coming down the pike?

  • OMG Eldon! that’s exactly what I need. Thanks, if you want to take a side trip to NM let me know.

  • seriously? a filler of penile implants? who knew? [i guess this means that i've put it out there that i've never had to worry about such things-]

    please come work for the house of glamma. the pay: well, that’s not important, is it? you get to work with pam. i can assure you that you will be paid the same. ;)

  • Jane, I liked you as a PI, giving the crooked cops hell, and finding out more in a couple of months than they knew in years. But you could say about your self, What ever you need me to be . I will be”" I do have 500 hats , I can wear. That covers lots of jobs. Then if they want you to wear too many hats, get a salary for each one you wear.

  • Jane, You have an abundance of qualities any employer would benefit from. The biggest obstacle can be getting past the often linear-minded HR-bots. Unconventional backgrounds for many of them gets a “does not compute” response. If you are applying for a specific position try to find out who the actual department head is that the job reports to and contact that person by phone or in writing to express your sincere interest in being considered. It will personalize you as well as distinguish you from the pack by your initiative.

  • Jane- If you’re really sick of those office posters with the pithy sayings, check out http://www.despair.com and their demotivators!

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