Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why do you want to work for our company? (A rant)

Well, it is that time of year again: time to look for seasonal employment. Ugh. I can get a teaching job in Eastern Europe (several, actually), but I can't get a temporary job selling clothes at the mall. And why is that? Because--quite frankly--I suck at filling out applications and answering employee test questions. And the clue to my utter inability to do so is buried (though not exactly hidden) in that last sentence: quite frankly, I'm just too damn frank.

Let's start with the obvious Q&A. Why do you want to work for our company? Well, quite frankly, I don't give a damn about your company. I just want to earn some extra money to fund my next adventure to a country where your company owns sweatshops that take advantage of the economically disadvantaged. Hopefully, while in this country, I can find a job teaching English in an effort to give my students more opportunities to improve their lives--and not have to work for you guys any more.

Yeah. I know.

Next question: What do you have to offer our company? I have an ability to look customers in the eye and smile, then make snide comments once they have left the store. I can fold clothes like a sonuvabitch. I don't smell funny. Usually.

And then there are the on-line questionnaires, where after a series of multiple choice questions, I am judged unfit to even be interviewed. These questions are usually the obvious ones (I like people, I would report a thieving co-worker, I relish the challenge of dealing with a difficult customer). But I do not live in a world of multiple-choice boxes. If a question asks me how a feel about dealing with a difficult customer at the end of a long day, I'm going to respond that I feel utterly exhausted. That is the honest truth. But the question was how I would FEEL, not how I would REACT. If the question asked me how I would REACT, I would respond that I would do my damnedest to smile and help the customer. But this is not fill-in-the-blank; this is multiple choice. And chances are pretty good that my response is not even an option. Or how about the agree/disagree statements? My favorite: In the past year, I have been stressed so much that it has affected my sleeping/eating habits. Strongly agree--of course! But where is the option to explain that in the past year I have lived in a different country, started two new challenging jobs, traveled through 19 countries (mostly by myself), and almost been homeless. Twice. If I hadn't lost a little bit of sleep during any part of all that, it would probably be a pretty clear sign there is something seriously wrong with me.

Anyway, time to go to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. A much more pleasant experience than trying to find seasonal employment.


At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

"But the question (on the job application) was how I would FEEL, not how I would REACT."

I'll be referencing this when, if at any time in the future, you refer to my nitpicky anal grammarian peeves. :)


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