More gooder job ensearchmenting

By Mir
September 28, 2005
Category Job? Huh?

Things are really rolling along, now, job-wise. There are many stages of successful self-employment, you know. It’s not unlike the stages of grief, really: Some people will progress through the stages in order, but most will have some skipping around as they move through. I myself have already spent a fair amount of time bouncing between the various states.

Stage 1: DENIAL I decided to do WHAT? Oh good lord. Have I been drinking? Was this a BET? Does anyone know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning…?

Stage 2: ANGER You know, this is all my 10th grade chemistry teacher’s fault. That lab on nucleotides scarred me for life. I’ll never succeed now and HE SHOULD’VE KNOWN this would happen!

Stage 3: BARGAINING I swear to God that I will never complain again if I just land this one itty bitty little contract. Well, maybe that’s hasty. For this LITTLE contract, I’ll stop complaining for the rest of today. But a BIG contract, God, and we can talk serious turkey. Pinky swear!

Stage 4: DEPRESSION Okay, so I worked… this many hours… and I made… wait… oh… my… you know, I do math better with my HEAD IN THE OVEN.

Stage 5: ACCEPTANCE Deep breath. Okay. Time to find more work.

Honestly, I thought I was on the right track. But it turns out? I had the cart before the horse. No. Not even! I didn’t even have a cart, or a horse.

Okay, I need to abandon that metaphor, now, because I have no idea where it could logically go from there. I’m quite certain it would require incorporating manure in some way and really, must we stoop to that?


Anyway, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, I was required to attend a workshop down at the Unemployment Office today. I’d tried to get out of it, but to no avail. So off I went, determined to make the most of an annoying hour of my life I would never get back.

Unlike my previous forays to Unemployment, today I had a new secret weapon. So I was READY. Wanna know what I had? I brought my new toy with me.

[Sidebar: Everybody send smooches to Christy, who may or may not be reading this. Christy is a top-notch human being who doesn’t know me from Adam, but responded to a request I made on a swap board for a PDA. The bargaining was fast and furious; and Christy, she drives a hard deal, she does. After multiple offers from me for various items or the old favorite–cold, hard cash–Christy packed up her barely-used Clie and sent it to me FOR FREE. She wouldn’t even let me pay for shipping. I pink puffy heart her. Thank you, Christy!]

Okay. So: I am at Unemployment for a 1-hour workshop on job applications, cover letters, and resumes. I have my trusty Clie for taking notes, and BY GUM, I am determined to take notes, because I am busy learning “graffiti” and also the little stylus is very cute but probably also suitable for stabbing any weirdo who sits too close to me. It’s a multi-purpose endeavor, this note-taking strategy of mine. I cannot help being a genius, people.

While the leader of the session explained why we were there, where to sign in, and welcomed the steady trickle of latecomers into the room, here is what I MEMO-ed into my handheld:

45 guys in bball caps, 2 backwards.
Leader wearing green skirt w fuschia shoes!!

Clearly I was ready for some serious learning!

This had the advantage of not only helping me master the various graffiti strokes, but it really kept me on top of wardrobe observation. (There were only 5 guys in baseball caps. The 5th came in after I finally mastered the graffiti 4 and I didn’t feel like erasing it.) I was, of course, dressed in clean (unwrinkled) clothes, freshly showered, and wearing shoes that were neither sneakers nor a fluorescent color… so I stuck out like a sore thumb. Which is really too bad, because I was so hoping to run into the man of my dreams there! Hang on a sec… I just threw up in my mouth a little. I’m alright, just gimme a sec.

Moving on.

The session began, and it was chock full of useful tips about finding and securing work. This was when I realized that I’ve just been concentrating on all the wrong things. It was also when I realized that my notes were not only going to improve my speed and finesse with graffiti on my Clie, this was the sort of wisdom that needed to be shared with the world. I mean, if I hadn’t realized these were the important issues upon which to focus, perhaps there are others who require enlightenment.

Without further ado, I present a few choice tidbits from today’s presentation, designed to assist the jobseeker. These are things I jotted down verbatim from the presentation slides. (Hold me.)

Do not include physical statistics on your resume such as height and weight.
Dammit. You’ve got to be kidding me! And I was getting so many interviews ever since I added 35-24-35, 115 lbs, 5’6″ to my resume. That’s SO unfair.

Be sure to put your name on your resume.
What’s the fun in that?? And it really wasn’t necessary when I had my measurements on there, anyway. Geez.

Never say you’re not qualified for the job in your cover letter.
I’ve always felt that it was best to save that for the second or third paragraph, sure. Somewhere after “I have several nervous tics” and “Please don’t speak to anybody I worked for before, they’re all crazy liars” but maybe just a little bit before “I believe that when I join your organization I will be able to expand my collection of office supplies.”

When applying: bring a WORKING pen (black or blue ink)!
Now that is just too much. What’s wrong with pink ink? Or a black pen that’s all dried up? I mean COME ON, how picky are we going to get here? Are you trying to tell me that if I show up to fill out an application and I don’t have an appropriate writing implement that might somehow reflect badly on me? I don’t understand.

Don’t have misspellings (“for ecksample” etc.)
I can’t find the proper spelling of “etc.” anywhere, and I had no idea I’d been spelling it wrong all this time.

Yep. I walked out of there refocused and ready to take on the job search in a much more productive way. Here I’ve been, I dunno, networking and soliciting work based on my experience and credentials. How could I have been so naive?? Evidentally if I just refrain from drooling and general stupidity, work is mine for the taking. What a relief!


  1. DebR

    What, no suggestions of what shoes to wear to the interview? And they call that helpful??

    In two different past jobs I was responsible for screening resumes and applications before they went to the person doing the interviews and you’d be surprised how many of those people could have USED some of this advice! Or maybe after what you saw today, you wouldn’t. ;-)

    (My favorite was the resume where a cute young thing stated that her goal was to “work under a veterinarian”. Yep. Gotta love it.

  2. Karry

    etc. = etcetera

    I know that just cause I’m a word nerd.

    Sadly – I have had to have a “no tank tops allowed at work” and “no nose picking – however subtle you think you are being because we can all tell exactly what you are doing” talk with a couple of people I work with. [shudder]

    Yes, I now keep a jumbo size bottle of hand gel on my desk.

  3. buffi

    Well, that just answers so many questions for me. Frightening, really!

  4. Cyndi

    Well, I never did the unemployment route…and now, thanks to you, I never have to! Thanks so much!! LOL

    I have, however, ventured into the self-employment HELL of which you speak.. EXcellent description, I must say. Well done! Much funnier to read than it seemed to be when I was living through it!
    Not to say you shouldn’t carry on. It can be quite enjoyable…when you aren’t being hounded by the IRS or collection agents. Just kidding. Good luck! You’ll do fine!

  5. chris

    btdt to the max. it can be pretty frightening stuff, no? but then you look at some of these cretins and think ‘how can i possibly FAIL if THIS is what i’m up against?!’
    you won’t fail. if you can survive the rollercoaster ride, you will find that things will grow smoother and steadier the longer you stay with it. blessings!

  6. Kathy


    Funny stuff…and good for you for hanging in there.

  7. Theresa

    Ya know, I had to wipe down my laptop after I read this – “Hang on a sec… I just threw up in my mouth a little. I’m alright, just gimme a sec.”

  8. Jennifer in Kansas City

    Hmmmmm. Makes you wonder – what if you got an offer to be the LEADER of these brain-dulling sessions? On the one hand, a paycheck. On the other hand, one’s sanity. But with the right attitude, and an escape plan, you could have a fun six months of it: “Today we talk about BASEBALL CAPS and NOT WEARING THEM BACKWARDS.”

    On a serious note, good luck. Been right where you are, through all the phases & it’s a pain in the kiester.

  9. sleepingmommy

    I so know your pain on this one. I’m sitting here just dreading having to do that and trying to think how I can avoid it when this job I’m currently working is over in December. I actually still have benefits I am eligible for from the last time (I think) but decided to screw it because I didn’t want to attend those asinine “workshops.”

    You describe the participants SO well!

  10. Amy-GO

    Never say you aren’t qualified for the job in your cover letter?! But…then you might have to spend time interviewing! And be rejected in person! Better to be upfront, I always say…especially if you wear a backwards cap and fuschia shoes. :)

  11. Fraulein N

    You know what’s scary? They feel like they have to teach this stuff because THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW IT. That’s scary.

  12. ben

    B-b-b-but I always wear my baseball cap to job training! It’s my lucky cap!

    Now, if I’d remember my pants once in a while, perhaps I’d find a job more easily. Thanks for the tips.

  13. Stephanie

    How do you like the Clie? I have been thinking about getting one.

  14. Karen

    35-24-35?? Seriously??


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