American Idle

So this whole “trying to get a job” thing has turned out way worse than I imagined in the months leading up to this move. I should’ve known better. Positivity and optimism really aren’t my bag. But I was hypnotized by the availability and variety of jobs (and tacos) this town promised.

I’m not sure what to attribute the difficulties to, as Erin found a job and is (happily? unhappily? It’s hard to tell) employed and has been for quite some time. So I can’t help but think, maybe it’s me? Then again, maybe it’s them. All of them. But maybe we all have our fate. Maybe the world is shit. Maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe God is dead. Maybe the next interview will go really well and I’ll be able to afford the new brakes and tires my car desperately requires. Maybe it won’t and I won’t be able to pay my student loans. Maybe soon I can splurge on a bottle of wine beyond the $3-5 price range. Maybe I’ll have to start brewing my own hooch from $.49 fruit cocktail in a fucking sock in my bathroom. So many maybes in my life.

May 2012 y'all.

May 2013 y’all.

The irony is that for the very first time ever, I have a notion of what I want to do with myself long term and a plan that might even get me there. I cannot emphasize enough what a MIRACLE this is and how I’m pretty fucking excited about it. But instead of going balls-to-the-wall with this idea and immediately extracting myself from this vicious cycle of administrative bitch jobs, I’m stuck. To go back to this kind of school, one requires money. To get money, one requires a job, a decent paying one at that, probably in the field one is trying to escape because one has “experience” there and can demand a reasonable wage.

I’ve now had somewhere in the neighborhood of ten interviews. First there were no responses, which is believe it or not far worse than actual rejection. Your brain can’t handle the math when you’ve applied to some 50 jobs and hear exactly nothing back. It’s excruciating. Then I got a few responses, and everyone said “See! Things are looking up! Everything happens in threes! A job is right around the corner!” And even though they mean well, it feels crappy and totally makes you want to punch everyone in their fortunately-employed faces.

Then I snagged an interview for the job I REALLY wanted. Good pay. Good schedule. Good location. And even, dare I fucking utter it, paid vacation days. JOY! And oh mother, did my hopes get up. As I was yanked along for three weeks, surviving a brutal phone interview, a four-on-one panel situation and finally a bizarro, curveball “just coffee” meeting with agonizing week-long stretches in between each, I made it from 140 applicants down to two. TWO. Initially I was told, quite candidly, that I was “overqualified” for this simple Administrative Associate position and they “worried I might be bored”. Ultimately I was rejected, just this week, after “much arguing” amongst my interviewers and a flip-flop, though not-unanimous, decision that the other candidate “was more qualified”.

Well doesn’t that shit feel good?

So you pick yourself back up again because you’ve exhausted your wallowing allowance with your friends to the point you can’t even hang out with them (Zach, Becky…I will see you all one day when I am not a manic troll, I swear). Erin just has to suffer because she lives here.

You adjust your expectations a bit and start to apply to jobs that are exactly what you don’t want because it’s been six weeks. Law firm? Bring it. Receptionist? Fine. Fuck it.

And that is how I found myself today at a certain Austin staffing agency, there to interview for a job that sounds really boring, is a 60-day contract position and pays $3 less than the minimum I told the girl I was willing to work for. But hey, it’s only .7 miles from my house, which in the city of Austin cancels out the aforementioned negatives.

I’ve done the staffing agency thing. It’s pretty depressing. Lots of busy ‘work’ and Microsoft skills tests and “Oh my god I have this GREAT job that you are GREAT for! Let me call the company and I’ll get back to you!” And then your recruiter falls off the face of the earth never to be heard from again. Just gotta suck it up.

So I arrive (early) and am immediately put to work on yet another ‘application’ in the reception area. But I’ve already completed (twice) the tedious Microsoft skills test and mundane typing exam and assume, then, this must be about all I need to do pre-interview.

Incorrect. “Here’s ten more pages to fill out. Let us now take you to the ‘Filling Out More Paperwork’ room.” So I finish that and am starting to get grumpy because now I’ve been here 20+ minutes and realize that every other applicant here is a male, dressed in sweatpants. But oh well, perhaps now it is time for my interview.

Wrong again. “Now we move to “The Safety Instruction Video” in the next room”.

The fucking what? I have supplied you THRICE with the info that I’m applying for an “Administrative Assistant” position. Not “Metal Fabrication Tech”, “School Janitor”, “Warehouse Temp” and not even “Retail Associate”.

So now I’m in this sad room: IMAG0512

With this fucking randomly awesome wall art:IMAG0507

Watching this fucking blockhead video:


Making this fucking face:IMAG0511

Now I’ve listened to this stupid video with the “lock out/tag out power downs” and the “sprinkler safety is 18 inch clearance” and the “MSDS data sheets” and the “your spine is composed of bones and nerves and discs, which are ‘gah-latinous'” and the “99.9% of the time a fall is avoidable and not an accident but an incident”.

And then, I waded through another twenty minutes of ‘documents’ and resume parsing and e-signing my first born child away before my actual interview. Would you like to elect health insurance benefits through our temp agency? But you haven’t even wined and dined me yet!

Fifty minutes after my scheduled interview time and all for what?

Finally I was moved to ‘The Interview Room’, which housed the sixth and final chair that my ass would meet in the office today. As I slumped in my seat with my back to the door, I eavesdropped on the girl I soon determined was my recruiter. “My friends are getting in tonight and then we have a party in Circle K Ranch tomorrow and then shopping for the baby shower and the shower is on Saturday morning. Then the wedding, oh my god I KNOW, is on Saturday evening and..” Then her colleague must’ve said something to the effect of, “Your interviewee has been waiting in the interview room for a while now and her fucking head is going to blow off…” because I heard my recruiter say, “No she hasn’t! You think she looks bored? Sherry just put her in there! It hasn’t been that long“.

She came in a few minutes later as I was literally smiling-off my bitch face in preparation. Maybe she knew I was pissy, because she hit me with “You TOTALLY look like one of the final contestants on American Idol!!” and I was caught completely off guard.

I stared at her blankly. “You really do! You don’t watch?”

I pulled it together, laughed and said “No”, then frowned starting to say “I hope that’s a good thing” but she knew and cut me off, “Don’t worry, it’s a good thing!”

She gave me my awesome skills test scores. I said hurray. She gave me a 90 second spiel about the company and position. I said I was interested. She said she’d call to set the interview. I said okay. We repeated the last two things seven more times using different words. She went back to her cubicle.

And I went home to see who I look like on American Idol.


Your guess is as good as mine.


7 thoughts on “American Idle

    • Thank you Clay! Hey, as someone who’s in the know here…any fabulous dark and divey Austin bars (away from 6th street) we should check out? We are in dire need of good recommendations!

      • Absolutely and of course!
        If you haven’t already had the pleasure, I might recommend starting out on East 6th which is not at all like the more “popular” part of 6th on the hither side of the interstate. Check out the Liberty, Rio Rita and Shangri-La. All of these are within walking distance of each other plus a variety of others. Also, there’s more than a few food trucks in between and along the way offering some good eating. So, y’know, there’s that.
        Now while all of the above are a nice and much welcome reprieve from the more touristy 6th street they’re not what I’d call especially divey. For that I’d highly suggest taking field trips to the Horseshoe Lounge (dark AND with shuffleboard), Lala’s (with year round Christmas kitsch and a damn good jukebox), The Cloak Room, Hole in the Wall and Ginny’s Little Longhorn (Texas country divey).
        For good measure, and extra points I’d be sorely remiss in not also mentioning The Carousel Lounge and Poodle Dog Lounge. They are truly something to behold.
        And there it is, your assignment and/or homework, should you choose to accept it.
        Hope this is helpful… or if not that you’ll fill me in on where I should be drinking.

    • Thanks so much for reading Amanda! That’s right. Chicago > Korea > Omaha/Denver > Austin. Not nearly the material here in Texas as there was in Korea, but we’re trying!

  1. Pingback: The Human Condition (and Not So Subtle Clues About Where We’ve Been) | Heart of Snarkness

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