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 Continue reading

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Blow Jobs

Did I enter into this situation voluntarily? Yes. Did I assume the first few weeks would be depressing and frustrating? Yes. But did I also tell myself that of all the job markets to willfully enter Austin is about as promising as any? And that the pain of job searching and temporary poverty is far outweighed by the promise of better jobs, not to mention a more robust life seasoned with peer socializing and a spicy blend of food and music and entertainment? Yes and yes.

<Begin Job Search>

I can think of few scenarios as soulrapingly horrible in which to knowingly place yourself as ‘requiring employment’. It’s starts off innocently enough with a standard list of complaints that anyone might have under the pressure of a dwindling bank account and few prospects.

“Oh damn,

1.) …this is a disappointing selection of opportunities available here on (Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, Bright, Careerbuilder, SimplyHired, LinkedIn, USAJobs, AdministrativeJobs, TexasEmployment, etc). Bummer.”

2.) …this job here that I’m really interested in only pays a little more than the carwash down the street. Balls.”

3.) …this job requires me to write a painstakingly detailed and specific cover letter selling myself like a two dollar whore. Blurgh.”

Fair enough. These issues are to be expected. If getting hired were easy, everyone-

blank

Yeah.

<Begin Downward Spiral into Job Search Hell>

However, after the first hour or two of active employment seeking, an assault of inconvenient and/or mockingly stupid obstacles begins and it makes you doubt that a.) this kind of hoop-jumping nonsense is ultimately worth your time for said job and b.) you are even interested in an employer with such a deplorably asinine application process.

Examples of this kind of dickitude include but are not limited to:

Second Person Job Descriptions“You are detailed-oriented and a real go-getter! You love to be ORGANIZED and can’t sleep at night if your memos aren’t perfect! Now PROVE IT!”

“You are an ass-kissing cheerleader! You’re desperate enough for a job that you would just about anything wouldn’t you? Now down on your knees and prove it!”

Parsing ResumesWhat do you mean your previous job title isn’t “August 2010”?

Please upload your resume here so we can fill in the boxes all wrong and you have to go back and fix everything anyway. For the nineteenth time. This hour.

InternshipsHere, click on this awesome and exciting new job! (Just kidding, I mean, um, unpaid internship. We don’t have any money for you. Can’t believe you were dumb enough to click on that!)

Get your shit together people. If I wanted a job that doesn’t pay, I would have a blog.

And my favorite, Salary BracketsPlease enter your minimum and maximum salary requirements.

Yes, because I just feel really uncomfortable making more than $70,000 a year. In fact, if that’s what this position pays, I’m going to need to decline right now. Too much. I thrive only on Ramen and off brand toilet paper. Thanks though.

no

<Continue Downward Spiral into Total Self Reproach and Misery (It’s Getting Darker)>

I assume that for people with a definitive degree and desirable “skill” (ie software development, accounting, nursing, you get the idea), this process isn’t so brutal. You have a career goal in mind, you can tailor your application and communications to that career goal and the rest of these ‘bumps’ are just there to get your heart rate up.

But for someone like me with what has proven a fairly useless liberal arts degree and whose primary experience lies in clerical work and customer service and delicately attending to the egos of the assholes whom I ‘administratively assist’ (a very fucking under appreciated talent if I do say so), this routine gets really demeaning.

“Tell us why you want this job and why you love administrative work.”

Because I need to pay my rent and because fuck you.

“List all job related training or skills you possess and machines or office equipment you can use, such as: calculators, printers, computer equipment, types of software”

SInce you are unemployed and have loads of time, let’s play a game that will totally waste minutes of your life you’ll never get back and that will make you feel like a lousy piece of shit. Close your eyes and pretend you’re in an office. Now, list all the things you see there that plug in or require batteries. Bonus points if you can name more advanced equipment like paper shredders and cd-roms. Double bonus points for jump drives.

Office Administrator: Duties include supporting c-level executives, managing all incoming calls and documents, greeting guests, assisting with client relations, and general housekeeping.

And general housekeeping. Meaning, it is your job to clean up after the lazy jerks who are far too good to do their own dishes because, well, you fall underneath them in the career hierarchy dontcha know? Also, since we put it in the ad you can’t get mad when we treat you like a servant k? K.

Or worse even, “If a job with low pay, limited hours, a sometimes high amount of stress, and no benefits interests you, please reply to this posting with your resume and a cover letter that tells a bit about yourself and why you want this position”

These are positively heinous hurdles you might encounter when searching for a job. The mental energy required to battle these constant insults to my intelligence has drained me of any capacity to truly enjoy Austin (and living in general) right now. And it is having the perverse effect of making me expect a far better job than I’m probably even qualified for, because surviving this with your psyche intact is a fucking profound and unsung accomplishment.

everything

<Job Seeker: Meet Rock Bottom>

I’m not even sure I will survive with my psyche intact. I’ve found myself clicking on the less savory categories of Craigslist, wondering what “other ways” there might be to make some money.

Single Executive needs help (Austin/Round Rock)

Single male executive needs open minded female help with errands, odd jobs.Please email me and let me know a little about yourself and how much you charge. I also would like to see a photo of you. If you’re open minded and can give a massage even better! Perfect for college student I pay well.

Looking To Hire New Escorts Start Today… (Austin)

We are a busy agency looking to hire a few new Thin escorts white & hispanic,ladies must be 18+, have a drive to make money, sexy an attractive. We are currently hiring for the day shift, drivers are provided.If interested please send 2 pic’s ( face shot included),along with name, availability, contact info, start Toady.

Well guess what? I’m available.

i'm available pope

Pack That Ass Up

The best moving advice I ever completely rejected was that I should sell/trash all my possessions and buy new things where I landed. But I was like, look at my stuff! I refinished that coffee table and bureau, I reupholstered that chair, I made that painting! It’s been 10 long years since the collected furnishings of my life have been in the same COUNTRY. Now is the time to feather my glorious, mismatched nest. Now is the time to pack. Marvel at my latest efforts:

Image

fat stacks

In the dead of a winter’s night, that crap was Tetris’ed  into a 6’x7’x8′ cube for to send to Texas (IT’S GO TIME). This is a packing masterwork; the photo doesn’t begin to do it justice. You can’t see the boxes cleverly stuffed into bookshelves, or how, like a true professional, my wall art is secured between the mattresses so’s not to be broken on their journey.

Like all great art, this piece was also an outrageous pain in the ass. It wasn’t even the furniture that was the problem. It was, and try not to judge me for this, my relentless book habit. It’s been growing, unchecked, for twenty years. It’s old fashioned. It’s a waste of space. It’s heavy as balls. It’s super flammable. It’s the only thing I actually care about in the world and it has made me a very smart person that uses a lot of words to express herself.

My greatest achievement will one day be owning a library with a wheelie ladder.

I haven’t inventoried my library in years. I’ve felt too guilty about it; I know I’ve been greedy. Over time I’ve squirreled novels away in boxes of kitchen gadgets, in my underwear drawer, in purses. I have no idea where they all are anymore. And still, at the end of the day, I was able to round up eleven (11) boxes EXCLUSIVELY of books. That’s 11 boxes measuring about 2’x2’x1.5′ – that’s 6 cubic feet, 11 times. (Right? Someone check my math.) It seemed wise to let Megan know a metric ton of knowledge was about to descend on her living space. She said not to bring it all. I’m bringing it all. It fit in the cube.

Eventually Megan will escape our living arrangement and I can use her room to hoard more books. I have, after all, mastered space-saving stacking techniques. I’m prepared to be the old lady from Fahrenheit 451.

No reeeeegggggrrrrreeeeeeettttttssssss…..

Good God, someone please buy me a Kindle.

Something In The Way She Moves

It happened – I gave my boss my notice. And as guilt-inducing as that was (see here for another example of how bad I am at telling people I Quit), I survived crying in a bathroom stall and emerged on the other side, a human being about to be unemployed and on the road, sans health insurance and care. Once again I’m filled with the complete Don’t Give A Fuckitude of purest freedom. Word has got around the office.

Me everyday at work, until February 27th

The inevitable reaction by every coworker of mine to the announcement that I’m moving to Austin next month is as follows:

Response One: “Wow! So do you have a job lined up?”

Answer: Nope! Pre-move job searches are for pussies, sir.

Here we have encountered a problematic mid-American assumption. Everyone in this neck of the woods worships at the altar of Stability. Stability is not a virtue, it’s a condition and a contagion. It’s the state of having your balls removed. Symptoms include total paralysis..

Read this book and tell me you aren’t terrified of suburban malaise too

I know how much work change is, how it requires constantly deluding yourself about grass being greener and adopting an optimism you don’t normally possess. Why do I need a job before I go to that place I want to go to? I don’t! Will a gap in my resume render me unemployable, dooming me to a life of cheap prostitution and eventual death by sex crime? Sure won’t! Will moving to Austin put me closer to the music, beer, art and people I want to surround myself with? It will! Will that content me? I’m willing to roll the dice. The lure of Stability is strong, and I can’t lie and say that I never worry about careers or retirement plans or owning a pair of jeans that cost more than $20. Choosing not to do something that might, MIGHT make you happy because you don’t want to try? That’s some bullshit laziness, that is.

Response Two: Coworker looks wistfully to the sky and sighs, “Ah, well you can do that. You’re young!”

Why so many wists? For what are you wisting? You’re 35, Tim! You aren’t old, and I’m not young, and you’re not a tree, move where you want to, son! Take advantage of those god-given appendages and follow the warm gulf stream winds of your desire that whisper, “…southbysouthwest…..southbysouthwest….” in time with your heartbeat.

This whole Do Things While Your Young initiative is ridiculous, and also goes back to the stability issue. It implies that you’re making a mistake you’ll need years to financially and professionally recover from. It forgives you your ignorance, while ringing with longing. The speaker of this sentiment once came upon the same roads diverging in a yellow wood that I’m pondering now, and they, sorry they could not travel both, settled for the one that was not Interstate 35, South. No shame in that, though this route just happens to lead to beardy men, food trucks, patio day drinking and rocknroll music. Or, heaven.

Is this the last stop the Erin train will ever make? Unlikely. But it’s a new one, and that’s all I’m looking for. Quit your jobs and join me. Margaritas for everyone.