Job hunting has never been one of my favorite activities.
Not just because the whole process is one giant pain in the patoot (which it most assuredly is). No, I don’t like job hunting because of how it makes me feel.
I know, I’m being too dramatic. Applying for a job is supposed to be a neutral transaction, not one fraught with emotion. Kind of like going to the supermarket to buy a jar of peanut butter.
The problem, however, is that employers have all the power and I have none. I am seriously at their mercy. This does not make me happy.
Every time I fill out one of these dumb, dumb applications, I feel like one of my nephew’s dogs when I’m trying to eat my dinner. The fact that they’ve already been fed is irrelevant. As is what I happen to be eating. It can be tofu and broccoli, for crying out loud, but all they see is that I have food and they want some of it. In other words, they are beggars.
And that’s what job hunting has turned me into: A beggar. In perfect canine style, they have something that I want and it’s up to me to figure out a way to get it.
Taking a cue from Mia, Chris and Flower, it looks as if I have several tactics from which to choose:
- Sit at the human’s feet and stare him down. This is the dog’s way of saying “I’m entitled to some of that, buster, and I’m not going anywhere until I get some.” I once cadged a job in Connecticut this way. I phoned the manager once a week for a month, received every kind of excuse, refused to go away, and finally was granted an interview just so I’d quit calling and leave her alone. I worked for that company for two years.
- Lie down at the foot of the table and wait patiently. This is the dog’s way of saying “See what a good pet I am? Surely I deserve to share in your bounty.” So I show off what I’ve learned in obedience school to demonstrate what a good dog, er, applicant I really am. I fill out all the little boxes completely. When there’s not enough room to type, I write in the info by hand. When there’s still not enough room, I attach additional pages. I make sure that I include the equal opportunity statement, a list of references and two writing samples. I make sure that my name and phone number is at the top of each essay and that the pages are numbered. See how shiny my halo is. Now may I please have some of your tofu and broccoli?
- Whine. This is the dog’s way of saying “Hey, mister, I’ve been waiting here patiently for ten whole minutes and you have not been paying attention to me. What the heck is wrong with you?” Whining is definitely the tactic to use when two weeks, then three weeks, then a month have gone by and all I’ve heard back from the employer is a stony silence. That’s when I call HR and politely ask about the status of my application. This will be embarrassing for the poor secretary who answers the phone, who will likely stammer, make up some excuse about excessive workload or extending the application deadline or the boss being on vacation, after which I will be offered a sugar-coated version of “don’t call us, we’ll call you.” I am supposed to gratefully accept this as if it were a dog treat.
- Jump up on the table, grab the food and tear out the door with it. When applying for jobs, this tactic is only to be used as a last resort. Try it if you don’t believe me. Employers have a nasty habit of kicking you out the door and calling the cops. What’s a poor dog to do?
- Call the SPCA and report your owner as abusive. Instead of the animal shelter, job applicants have the EEOC, the state human rights commission and the Department of Labor. Perhaps if I complain loudly enough about how mistreated I am, the dog catcher will take me away, lock me in a cage and euthanize me after 28 days.
I’m telling you, it’s a dog’s life, this job hunting stuff.
But that’s okay. If I get sick and tired of it all, I’ll just lift my leg and leave them all a present.