Attention potential employers,
I’m currently in my early thirties. I am many years into a job about as fulfilling to me as a Pepsi would be to an alcoholic. College, my quarter-life point, and, most importantly, my idealism are buried in the past. No longer do I seek a job that I gaily skip to every morning, filling my day with rewarding, meaningful tasks while simultaneously securing long-term business contacts.
I want a real American job. And here’s how you can make that happen.
First, you are the single soul in a faceless sea of about 10,000 who is actually impressed enough by my resume to call me. Our phone conversation is brief, mixed with equal parts job description (which you read verbatim from the online job ad I myself read and applied to) and business-friendly small talk. You comment about the weather, the condition of whatever sports team is popular that week, and, sensing my younger age, may even drop a curse word into your diatribe to show how “hip” you are to my age bracket. No longer do I seek a job that I will gaily skip to every morning, filling my day with rewarding, meaningful tasks while simultaneously securing long-term business contacts.
An interview is scheduled.
My finest clothing will be donned; at my lifelong salary, this is best described as “Sears chic.” I travel to your suburban location in some sprawling office park that is basically impossible to reach via public transportation. It is named after the foliage that was razed for its construction, something like “Pine Meadow Complex.” Your company is in a non-descript, box-shaped building whose dull gray facade features the occasional line of blue tiles as its “design.”
The interior sports a beige color scheme with hints of “slightly darker beige” thrown in for variety. Cubicles stretch out for miles, illuminated by fluorescent lights. The whole place smells like fresh carpeting. Heads pop up from a few of the cubicles as I enter. I am the only novelty they’ll see all day, perhaps all month. The water cooler will be abuzz.
After checking in with your secretary, you come out to greet me. You’re a balding man, but I notice your gut isn’t yet big enough to fully eclipse the Blackberry clipped to the belt that holds up your Dockers. You shake my hand with a medium-level vigor learned last year at some managers’ conference in the Midwest. Toting my resume, you lead me down a motivational-poster-filled hallway to your office.
The interview is about as eventful (and as spontaneously conducted) as a religious service. You wear a mask that is both poker face and company cheerleader. I reply to all of your questions with answers I think you want to hear. You occasionally break eye contact with me to glance at my resume; I break eye contact with you to glance at family portraits on your desk. Another seminar-speaker-approved handshake later and I am out the door. The most exciting part of your day now complete, you reward yourself with REGULAR dressing on the salad you have for lunch every day instead of the low-fat variety.
After a few days pass, you call and offer me the job. In a fortnight, I am “on the team.” For the first month, I dress spiffy every day. I’ll be terrified of going on the Internet for non-business-related reasons. I develop working relationships with guys named “Dave” or “Frank” and women named “Debbie” or “Mary.” I even use corporate catchphrases like “going forward” and “FYI.” My job, which amounts to pushing paper from one location to another, bores me to tears. I’ll get coffee or use the restroom even when either task is unnecessary, purely for something to do.
Eventually, I get over my apprehensiveness. Weekly Facebook checks from my desktop terminal become daily. Personal emailing isn’t far behind. I won’t follow through on my fantasy of sexually pleasuring Mary in the janitorial closet, but I do tell Dave about it in detail.
My web browsing now the best part of my day, I ultimately put it to good use by scanning craigslist and other job sites for the latest notch in my employment belt. It’s my dream to find something rewarding, to put the skills and experience I achieved at this job to move ENTIRELY DIFFERENT pieces of paper in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT office park! Faking an illness one day, I go on another interview.
And so on.
So, are you hiring?