I recently interviewed for yet another job that I wasn’t even vaguely interested in. This seems to be the theme of my work life since I received my bachelor’s degree in 2003. I’m one of those people who has yet to really know what I could stand doing every Monday through Friday of my life for 8-9 hours a day. I envy those people who know and are so sure that their careers are going to be meaningful, profitable, and successful, but I am not one of them. I think life would be easier if I was among the “sure,” but instead, I’m among the unsure and often disenchanted. I also believe there are many more out there who are just as disenchanted and confused with their career path as I am; however, many put on a good front or have been socially conditioned to believe they are lucky to even have a job…HUH? This is America isn’t it…land of opportunity? Forgive me if I’m not ecstatic at the possibility that I could be stuck in a cube answering to a relentless micro-manager and relying on Lean Cuisines and diet sodas for my essential nutrients for the rest of my life.
When I graduated from college, everyone kept asking me things like where are you going to work, what do you want to do now, and do you have health insurance? My answers were always, I don’t know, I’m not sure, and no.To which I received odd stares and lectures warning me about getting injured without insurance or ending up with no retirement. All were valid points; however, they now seem a little pre-mature for my then 23 year old ears to hear. I felt an overwhelming amount of pressure to just find a job ASAP…not a career…a job….any job. It didn’t seem to matter whether I enjoyed the work since everyone repeatedly reminded me that “everyone has to start somewhere.” So that’s what I did. I started somewhere. I worked in a job, I at times wouldn’t have wished upon my worst enemy. There were aspects about the job that I liked; however, none of them were in my “job description.” Since then my “career” path has be stagnant. I seem to now be stuck going for one disheartening and un-fulfilling job to the next where I feel held back, taken advantage of and lied to. Mostly, I blame my teachers, the media and my parents for feeding me that line about being able to grow up and be “anything you want to be.” Funny how they never mentioned anything about starting somewhere and then getting trapped into that skill-set so that now you’re only qualified to do that which you hate. Nor did they mention how EXPERIENCE would account for more than education, common sense and a brain when trying to find a job. Today, I remain utterly confused about my “career.” I’ve NEVER aspired to heal, defend, plan, strategize, account for, teach, research or boss people around, so I often wonder where I fit in…
Thus I remain trapped in jobs that at times seem to suck out all of the fun in the world around me (note to readers: my father didn’t refer to me growing up as a “dramatic girl” for nothing).
My most recent job interview was another well of disenchantment. After being subjected to three awkward and long phone interviews where all three interviewers seemed to be reading off the same script, I was finally granted an in-person interview with the hiring manager. I was relieved and only hoped I would not have to again answer questions like “Give me a specific example of a time you took the initiative and successfully completed a large project” and my ALL-TIME FAVORITE QUESTION EVER, “describe a time when you failed in a project or job and why that was?” WHAT!?! Aren’t I supposed to be selling myself here. Thanks for the bummer Debbie Downer, but I’d rather not rehash my failures. After some stumbling around that question and a few awkward stutters, I came up with some lie that seemed to suffice and got me to the next round in the interviewing process….YAY! However, what I really wanted to respond with was – I actually consider the fact that I am forced to converse with you and your identical cronies on the phone for a less than mediocre job my worst failure of all…this is the lamest interview, goodbye.
When I arrived at my interview, the hiring manager made me wait 15 minutes in the front lobby for her, to which she then made me wait 10 minutes outside of her office while she hastily organized and “tidied up a bit.” Was she not aware that we had scheduled this interview four days prior? I somehow managed to drive twenty miles and still show up ten minutes early, but she was a mess. Once I was let into her office, she proceeded to not sit behind her desk like a normal person would, she instead sat right smack next to me. At one point our feet even touched and it was not only totally gross, but very disturbing. She then rambled through the tedious job responsibilities and what she needed from the person who would be hired in this position. I learned that she (who was not only the hiring manager, but the Assistant Vice President of recruiting for her department) was clueless when it came to understanding the mighty power of the elusive Power Point and Excel programs. She spoke of how frustrating it was when others would send her a Power Point presentation because she was “completely lost” on how to make edits to it. WHAT!?! She even asked me if I “knew any Excel formulas?” I almost found it hard to take her seriously after that. How was I ever supposed to respect a woman like this? This “manager” then told me she wanted the person she hired to be her “right hand.” This is the point in the interview where I should have walked out. Um, no thanks. Isn’t that the hand most people use to wipe their backsides with? I mean seriously. No one wants to be another person’s right hand. That option is just wrong, gross and unattractive. All it says is that basically you want someone to do all the crap work that you can’t be bothered with or that you have yet to educate yourself on how to complete. Why did I graduate from college and why am I currently taking my education to the next level only to wipe someone’s ass everyday. Not that there’s anything wrong with wiping asses, if that’s what you want to do. I; however, do not! I’ve done that in past jobs and it only leads to wiping bigger asses.
By the end of my interview, my theories on incompetency were proven to be true yet again – If you can’t do, manage. And my favorite theory of all – Those who are miserable, incompetent, uncreative, and enjoy destroying the dreams of others, aspire to be THE BOSS. I know that is not true for everyone, but like the saying goes – majority rules.
Needless to say, this is not the job for me. If not for the facts I stated above, but because they also wanted to pay me less than I make right now. I am over doing the bitch work and am ready to find something worthwhile (if that even exists).
A special thanks again to my homeboy George Bush for making our economy and job market so prosperous for my generation!