Beer Me That Job

July 25, 2011

There are just so, so many things that bother me about the job search process.

For instance: why is it that nowadays, if you want to send in a resume to a job that’s located on a site that isn’t Craigslist, often they make you register with a multi-step process for their own stupid site, which then begins to send you more spam than exists in the entire state of Hawaii? News flash: If I’m looking for a job, I need to be checking my email account for serious job inquiries or, like, videos of kittens happily attacking watermelons sent from friends who want me to be less depressed about the dejecting work of job applications. I do not need it bulked up with requests for me to apply to jobs for which I would never apply and so, you know…I didn’t.

“Job available in your field: Prison Barber” Is it? Is it?

Or bulked up with ads directed at me, the job seeker. Alleged head-hunting agencies that—if really scammy—want you to pay to play, or—if merely sleazy, useless, and opportunistic—desire for you to go to their advertisement-marinated web page that no one actually uses to find jobs. Hey, glad that while I can’t find a job, you’re able to make lazy cash off advertisements springing up in my face like so many unwanted joke nut can snakes.

Job peanuts.

Don’t believe me that they’re not there for you to apply to jobs? Actually attempt to apply to a job on one of those sites some time. More often than not, you can’t submit what you need to, it’s unnecessarily convoluted to the point that you end up just not applying, or you have to sign up for more advertisement abuse in order to submit a resume.

Departed are the days of sending in an application directly to the company via email or in a very simple one- or two-step process. Dead and buried are the days of just going over the building and handing the resume in.

(Yeah, try this some time. Then as you leave, hide and watch the receptionist unenthusiastically use it as a great big wrapper for stale gum.) Just, really. In a vast majority of careers, the physical resume is all but obsolete in the eyes of an employer.

Which is fine. All I wanted to do was to email the damn thing in anyway. But it’s just never that simple.

There are other things I loathe about the job application process, too. For example, feeling like the worst sort of corporate whore, having to sell yourself on your cover letter to please the sadistic evil hiring machine of the non-desperate, already-job-havin’ HR dementors while they muse over your life’s accomplishments in the most trivial of manners and make capricious decisions about the fate of your life.

Or that’s at least what it feels like. I know and love a few hiring managers—family members and friends. That’s really not dementors. …that we know of… But I’m fairly certain that all the hiring managers who’ve gone over my resume and cover letter have been exactly like this. Evil suckers of hope and identity.

But most of all, what I cannot handle about the job search process is the interview. The terrible, horrible, stinking interview.

Very possibly it’s just that I’ve always been as inept with interviews as I have been with auditions or, say, blind dates. I lose all semblance of personality (or even what a human is and how it normally functions) when faced with the daunting task of “BE CHARMING AND SAY ONLY THE RIGHT THINGS.” What the hell? It’s like someone telling you, “Be funny.” Or, “Be interesting.” Or, “Be sexy.”  Uhhhhhh. Ummmmm. Buuuuuuuh. *blink, blink, rub eye, blink*

“Is this sexy or interesting?”  “No, but it is funny.”

You can’t put someone on the spot like that and expect them to perform well. Least of all me. It’s like I completely lose the ability to comprehend the fundamental makeup of humor or normal speech patterns at that moment and instead sit thinking totally functional and moderately intelligent thoughts with a horrified expression on my face, unable to make them come out of my mouth. It’s amazing—another person’s power to abduct attributes you might otherwise rock when not having to try at them. In these situations, rather than funny, interesting, or sexy, I instead break down into a grotesque amalgamation of the antonyms of all three—a character I think of as Abused Meg.

Abused Meg has had handed to her some of the most ghastly, miserable experiences known to man or woman and is therefore now no longer able to talk with the usual shape or wetness of her former mouth, cannot consider numbers or manifest emotions with certainty, can’t find an appropriate volume at which to express her monosyllabic sentiments, has never seen the sun nor heard loud noises, is constantly on the verge of tears or hiding in her own arm crevice like a sad baby Dracula, and otherwise behaves just as an abused, neglected dog might. At best, she has no personality at all; at worst she’s strange and alienating with the ability to rob anyone else in the room of a sense of normalcy. I am not good at interviews.

And the thing with interviews is, you just can’t ask the freaking questions you want. Mainly—how much will I get paid, and what are my benefits? I don’t get why this is such a taboo. You’re not supposed to ask that until right before you get the job. Why are we all wasting so much time?!

I understand that employers want a person who is right for the job and dedicated to the work. I get that. That makes for a more pleasant work experience for all and a more dedicated worker. But here’s a thought that is applicable for every single person I’ve ever met—unless there’s something truly horrific about my current job, I am leaving my job to look for either comparable pay or a vertical move of some sort, like more pay and better benefits. If money weren’t important with regards to the job, I wouldn’t be working in the first place. I’d spend my time … I don’t know … rowing a fucking boat or painting pictures of me rowing fucking boats. I wouldn’t be sitting in a cubicle taking orders from people. Right? And you—the job dangler—are remarkably stupid in not acknowledging that out in the open and right away.

So why can’t I ask on the first interview—or hell, before I go take off work to waste my time and the potential new employer’s time—what the pay is going to be? Then let’s see if I’m a good fit. Because I tell you what—even if I really love a potential job, I—like most everyone else—do not live in a career utopia fantasy. I have rent and bills to pay. I have to eat. I have a life outside of work I’d like to continue living in a similar fashion or better. I need to find a new job that’s going to pay me what I need to make in order to do all these lovely lifey things. And nearly everything beyond that is a minor deciding factor. The order of importance has to be: 1.) Do I vaguely want to perform this job/am I qualified?  2.)Does it pay what I need/want to make?  3.) Literally anything else that might be a point of interest. It doesn’t matter.

Number 1 is taken care of when I apply. I got the job description, I’m interested so far. Number 2 should be next. Number 2 should always be next. There is no point proceeding if number 2 is a deal-breaker. PEOPLE—NUMBER 2!! Come on.

So, yeah. This is the aspect of our job culture that I think I find most aggravating and wasteful of everyone’s time and energy.  And so does Abused Meg. As she shambles off into the shadows, totally freaking out all who exist there with her wide-eyed weirdness.

**I should note that this is not about a current job search I’m doing. In fact, I’m on the brink of going down to part-time work in a month so I can start full-time grad school (Yaaaaaay!). But being around others who are currently looking for jobs, it brings me right back to that same old rant in my head. Why the senselessness? Why the time-suckage? You know what? Let’s all just quit our jobs and join a commune.

Or go back to grad school.

I’m not that kind of girl. Well, not to strangers, anyway. Probably.

So, there I was, searching back through emails I had archived from about a year ago, and I came across something I had received and entirely forgotten about, which really should be shared with the world.

“And the answer is—it is often one of the only redeeming qualities of online dating.”

“Uh, what is ‘foreign guys who know just enough English to make it creepy,’ Alex?”

For sure, because it certainly isn’t worthwhile dates, in my experience. Not by a long shot. The hidden, seldom-shared actual benefit of dating online is the amusement and oddity upon which you’re likely to stumble, not entirely unlike attending the circus. For instance, you don’t want to stay at the circus forever—dear god, the headache. The grotesque freakishness, the garish makeup, the haunting music. But going once in a great while to marvel at the strange, colorful, and unusual can be quite fun.

Likewise, I can’t hang out on the online dating sites too often, because oh my god, does the anonymity of the Internet make otherwise normal people nuttier than squirrel crap. Or complete douche bags. You know, or possibly it’s just that anonymity and a lack of face-to-face social responsibility is just a magnifying glass to qualities that already existed in a person, like flat-out psychosis, a troglodytical disregard for manners, blatant megalomania, abject cowardice, glaring narcissism, (also related) total self-esteem failure, unchecked irascibility, general mean-spiritedness, sexual repression, sexual aggression, hate-mongering xenophobia, and remarkably hyperactive one-upmanship. They all tend to come out and line themselves up on these dating sites like a little psychologically damaged parade, often whacking you in the head with sexual harassment candies.

That being said, one of the only perks I’ve found of having an online dating account with PlentyofFish or OkCupid (with the exception of a precious few genuinely interesting and enjoyable people I’ve met as a result) is the occasional hilarious reply I receive that makes all the other boring, ridiculous, offensive, spambot, attention-starved, obnoxious, downright geriatric, or mass-produced replies seem worth wading through. Unlike my long-winded sentences. Which brings us to the foreign guys I mentioned, who clearly just enter what they want to say into a free direct translation Web site and paste it exactly into their message to you.

I shall lay this here—a response I had gotten a year ago to my PlentyofFish profile (and saved, thankfully). It is unaltered, except that I changed the email and phone number, in case any of you feel compelled to stalk poor Daniel here:


Oh, Daniel. Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. Thank you for making this all so worthwhile, because that was pure poetry. I adored it. The inexplicable all-caps with the exception of the first sentence, the hasty marriage proposal, the free love advice, the desire for new bedding (he’s in need of a comforter, folks), the enigmatic signoff: “GOOD MOMENTS.” All of it, gorgeous.

I mean, I didn’t actually reply to this. Yeah, if I wanted my handkerchief chanced on, I would march it on down to a fetish club. But his reply did, nonetheless, remind me why I keep my profile on these sites amidst an incessant forum for negativity and degradation.

Complete hilarity.


If I could work my will, every idiot who capitalizes random words all willy-nilly with neither rhyme nor reason, places an exclamation point where a period should be and three exclamation points where one exclamation point should be, or uses ellipses every time they should actually use commas, would be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly in his heart.

You cannot wang your chung.

September 2, 2009

wang chung

I was given permission by my man-friend to re-post this after a very long and rather beautifully exasperating G-chat session:

Man Friend: So, when I was with Lisa, I told her about our conversation that culminated in you winging a red pen at me.

me: a figurative red pen, or did I do this in person?

Man Friend: A figurative red pen. It was over G-chat.
So I asked if “winged” was the correct past-tense of “wing.”
it doesn’t sound right.
I wing a pen.
I winged a pen.
It sounds wrong.
I wang a pen?
I wought a pen?
I have wung a pen?

me: winged.

Man Friend: Lisa said, “It gives that song ‘Everybody Have Fun Tonight’ a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?”
Everybody have fun tonight
(Everybody have fun tonight)
Everybody wought chung tonight
(Everybody wought chung tonight)
Everybody winged chung? That doesn’t make sense either.

me: LOL
Well, what does present-tense “wang chung” mean?
And perhaps I can help

Man Friend: No, it clearly must be past tense.
He’s saying that some time ago, but still tonight, people were winging chung.
..Whatever that is.

me: Wait,

Man Friend: If it was present tense, then it would be “everybody wing chung.”

me: If I remember correctly, it’s in present tense. Actually, technically future tense, since he’s telling everybody what to do tonight.

Man Friend: “The winging has already occurred. Therefore, have fun.”

me: And Wang Chung is who sang it, right? So, were it to be past-tense, since it’s a single phrase, it would be Wang Chunged, awful though that is.
Or Wang Chang.

Man Friend: See, now that’s just silly.

me: Because telling everyone to wang chung tonight is completely sobering.

Man Friend: Whoa. I didn’t even think of that.
“Wang” as a verb.
A verbification of the noun “wng.”

me: I am disinclined to believe it.

Man Friend: It’s right up there with “girls, rock your boys.”

me: I stick with “Wang Chung” is a complete phrase, therefore you cannot make the first word past tense.

Man Friend: Only they’re saying [presumably boys] “wang your chung.”
…Whatever chung is.

me: No no no no no
what’s even going on
where am i

Man Friend: A cheap Mexican place, burning off a lunchtime bender?

me: Clearly. This sounds like the kind of nonsensical, Lewis Carroll conversation I’d have with one of my ridiculous coworkers.
You cannot wang your chung.
You might chung your wang

Man Friend: You cannot, or should not?

me: But there again, you can’t because it’s acting as one whole phrase

Man Friend: You can probably wang a great many things, ethical or no.

me: you cannot. Physically impossible
It’s like biking your ride.

Man Friend: You’re suggesting that chung is a verb?
I _ching_, I _chang_, I have _chung_?

me: No, I’m suggesting Wang Chung is a proper noun, as it’s the name of band, so you can’t conjugate just one word from it
it’s preposterous

PM Man Friend: Well, Sting is the name of a singer, but you can still conjugate that.

me: well, to be fair, I ching, I chang, I have chung. Chung would be past participle
but that is moot, because you can’t conjugate part of a proper noun phrase!

Man Friend: Wang, Have Chung.

me: no
I have wang chung?
I will wang ching.

Man Friend: I’m saying that the proper name of this band is the conjugated form of the verb wing.

me: I did wang chang.
It is not.
Lies, falsehood, and general knavery.
This is all wrong.

Man Friend: I am known for my general knavery.
And the winging of chung, as well.

me: This is the second time today I’ve had to utter, “I cannot believe I’m having this conversation.”
After “And furthermore, you’d see neither fire nor rain if you had moutheyes.”

Man Friend: Ah, yes.

me: You are not known for the winging of chung.
Knavery perhaps.
But not the winging of chung. Which, for that matter, calls to mind an image of doing something unsavory with some body fluid.

Man Friend: I was thinking that.

me: of an unspecific nature.

Man Friend: _From
*chung*   /dʒʊŋ/
–noun Chinese: (in Confucianism) conscientiousness in one’s dealings with others.
This is the only definition.
So clearly, wang is the verb here.
…Unless wang is an adjective.
The chung of one’s wang, perhaps.

me: Gross.
Wang chung = smegma.

Man Friend: No no. Conscientiousness when using the wang. Safe sex.

me: Yeah, but that’s not what it sounds like when you say the chung of one’s wang.
Just saying.

Man Friend: I agree.

me: If I were with a guy whose wang admittedly had chung, he would be seeing a doctor before he ever saw me naked.

Man Friend: You’re not one of those “come get your chung all over me” kind of girls, huh?

me: I’m not even sure I know how to respond to that question.
I know chung is pretty hard to get out of things at the laundromat.
If that helps.

Man Friend: Do you or do you not like guys to shoot their conscientiousness all over you?

me: I don’t like conscientiousness just flying all willy-nilly everywhere.



I had a crisis of identity today. In editing some text this morning, I made an active decision to leave out an Oxford comma for reasons of sentence intent and flow. I feel a little shaky, what with this newfound devil-may-care attitude.

You must understand, of course, what a breakthrough this is for me. For those who do not recognize the term “Oxford comma,” it is also known as the serial comma. It is the comma in a list or series that occurs right before the conjunction. For example: “The things I would like to do before I die include learning to make elaborate shadow puppets, growing another arm, and becoming Phylicia Rashad (though, preferably not in that order).” The Oxford comma comes just between “arm” and “and”. If this seems like a silly thing to fret about, consider a charmingly amusing faux pas by The Times. (Exerpt from Wikipedia):

Unresolved ambiguity

The Times once published an unintentionally humorous description of a Peter Ustinov documentary, noting that “highlights of his global tour include encounters with Nelson Mandela, an 800-year-old demigod and a dildo collector”.

So, you see, in my opinion, it is always necessary for the sake of clarity, if only to keep certain aspects of Mr. Mandela’s life private. (I assume that’s what he’s holding there).

The Oxford comma. The Oxford comma. It’s a lovely little thing, no? No? Then you must be from the Associated Press. The Oxford comma is one of the most argued over issues in editing, and I am a doting devotee of its use.

Today I voluntarily left it out. The sentence just didn’t sound as descriptive with it in there. I went back and forth over this for a good four minutes or so before I got ridiculously bored, overdosed on triviality, and just removed the damn thing. I made a decision as an editor. A stylistic decision. The same decisiveness that allowed me to make that last sentence a fragment.

It was so liberating, not being a robotic grammar slave to the style manual I drool over so much. I just did it, and now it gets to stay like that for all to read. Massive nerdy god complex here; please forgive me. My head is swimming. Perhaps I’ll do it again sometime soon. And then every little grammatical thing will be up for question, and all of the American English language will bow to my omnipotent backspace key! Oh, dear god, the power. Pardon me, but I might just go run with scissors … before … leaping right into Lake Michigan minutes after a meal for a casual swim!

Look for me on the 5 o’clock news raving deliriously up and down the financial district, disheveled and covered in red pen ink.