…in a dead-end, low-paying, unskilled office labor job. Frankly, the job is beneath me. That’s not me being uppity—even though I have a ridiculously high IQ, 5+ years of experience as a programs manager, and a god-damned Ph.D.—the job is beneath all of my seven co-workers as well (well, almost all of them). It’s a piece-of-shit job and we’re being tossed the lips-and-assholes at this asswad company’s steak dinner. I won’t even go into my distaste at working for a publishing company where no one on the actual payroll (that’s right… I’m a ‘temp’) knows the difference between “who’s” and “whose.” I don’t want my blood to boil any more than it already is…
With that in mind, I’ve been seeking other options and, a few weeks back, I thought I had found a good one that was going to pan out. The job, as described, was for a computer repair technician—no experience needed—at slightly fewer hours per week, but 175% of the pay of my current job. Sounds good to me. Making more, working less, doing something I would actually enjoy, using my phenomenal problem-solving skills for good… y’know, adult-type work.
So, I go through the motions, send off my resume and cover-letter (cover-letter, n. : the most pointless 500 words I’ve ever written; now written hundreds of times in the quest for a decent work-life), and wait. Weeks I sit, hearing nothing from anyone, which actually feels better than hearing “You have a Ph.D.? You’re overqualified for this job. Sorry.” which is what I heard over and over again in my last major job-hunt, the one that landed me in the proofreading idiotarchy, six months ago. And then, luck be with me, about a month ago I got a nibble.
“Hey, Doug. Sorry it took me so long to respond to your e-mail, things have been hectic around here. We’re interested in you as a job candidate, just answer these five questions about customer service in the computer repair industry and if we like what you have to say, we’ll set up an interview.”
So I answer the five questions. I respond succinctly but well, thoroughly researching, editing, and proofing my answers, and send off the e-mail. I wait another week for the response—a response which comes at 9am.
“Hey Doug. We really liked how you answered our test questions. Could you meet us today for a lunch interview? Say around 11?”
Yes, of course I could meet you for an interview. That’s what this whole this is about, right? RIGHT? Even though you’ve given me a scant two hours to respond, shave, shower, dress, and prepare myself. Yes, yes I could meet you at 11. Sounds great. See you then.
The lunch interview, all 25 minutes of it, goes great. Two nice guys from the small six-person company; I choke down a couple of their “hot receptionist” jokes without going off on my ‘Don’t assume I’m straight’ rant, etc etc etc. It ends thus:
“Okay, well, we think you’re probably the best candidate for this position. The problem is, we haven’t told the manager yet that we’re looking to hire someone. He knows we should, though, and he knows we need to, but we just have to find a way to break it to him gently—he kind of freaks out sometimes when something isn’t his idea. So it might take a couple weeks for us to get back to you. Is that okay?”
You haven’t told the *manager* yet? You have to break it to him gently? WTF? But, of course, I haven’t got anything else on my plate, so sure, why not? Take all the time you need.
Another week passes by. On Thursday of the second post-interview week, I get an e-mail:
“Hey Doug, sorry for the short notice, but it’s taking forever to really get this process going. Could you go ahead and come into the shop for about three hours this Saturday? You’ll get paid $30 and we wouldn’t ask you to actually fix anything yet, just come in, hang out, see how the shop is set up, stuff like that.”
Yes, I can come in on Saturday. No, sadly, I didn’t have any other plans for my one real day off. Sounds great; I’ll see you then.
“Oh, PS. Just to warn you, we’re not always tremendously prompt in opening, so if you get there right around 10 and it looks like no one is there, don’t panic. A receptionist by the name of Janelle will be opening. Just wait around outside for her.”
At this point, I’m feeling good about my potential new job. 1/3 of the office I’ve already met and like well enough, they don’t open promptly so one assumes they’re pretty laid back… all is well, I am excited.
I get there, promptly, at 10 and the shop is not yet open. I’ll be waiting another half an hour for the shop to get opened. It goes downhill from here.
Long story short, the manager (who you can read about here), who had to have the news of my hire ‘broken to him gently,’ still hadn’t had the news broken to him and, therefore, had no idea I was coming in. Neither did anyone else, apparently. And no one but the receptionist was going to be in all day. So I sat there for three hours, doing nothing, chatting with Janelle, the 24-year-old receptionist with two too many layers of hungover whorescara on, while she answered phones, told me about her daughter, and gave me the low-down on my potential new coworkers. The potential new coworkers ran the gamut of awful, including but not limited to:
• the owner, a recently recovering (we think; he disappeared for a couple months last fall and claimed he’d gone into rehab, but who knows?) crack addict who regularly tries to cheat his workers out of their paychecks;
• the manager (see link above);
• coworker Neil, who often forgets to come in because he’s trying to smoke himself into a higher plane of being, but don’t touch his blunts if you see them lying around—he’s protective of his stash;
• coworker Kevin, an overweight man in his late-30s who snorts Ritalin off his work desk (HIS COMPUTER REPAIR STATION WORK DESK), collects parrots and other rare birds, and has an omitted fondness for well-developed 15-year-old girls. Yes, the pictures of Emma Watson and Jodie Foster (from Taxi Driver, natch) are his. I wouldn’t go into the bathroom after him if I were you.
Are you kidding me? Is this what the job market has come down to? Working for functional idiots or miscreant non-idiots? And the real punch line? I still haven’t heard back from them about the job. I’ll probably get an e-mail with my work schedule sometime next month. Please let me have another job by then…