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After months and months and months of job hunting, scouring the want ads and having to fill out online job applications, I’m here to tell you, insanity will surface at some point. If you’ve attempted to look for work lately, you know. It is a pain in the butt and the in brain.
I understand employers are now trying to streamline the application process. They’re busy. But, they’re not too busy because I’ve run up on some of the most asinine questions lately, especially in the online application forms. And, it’s not just the questions, which they have now decided need to be multiple choice, it’s the length of the application and the unquestionable lack of sense by which these things are formatted. I’m laughing because some companies pay big bucks for someone else to come up with this stuff. Employers now feel swayed to believe a computer can get inside of a potential employee’s noggin, mess with it a while and come up with a desperate soul who just happens to point and click the “right” answer. Subjective verses objective. Psychobabble verses common sense. I don’t like it, and shrinks out there will disagree with me, but I wonder what happened to filling out your basic information, schooling, job experience and the name of someone to call to be sure you’re not an idiot. Sounds simple. Sure would make people more likely to look for work in more places and save everyone a ton of time and second guessing.
Here are a few examples of multiple choice questions asked on job applications these days: (Yes, these are REAL questions…Lord help us all.)
1. What percentage of politicians do you feel are honest? I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking just about none. What does that say about me? Am I paranoid? Have watched “Consipiracy Theory” too many times? Or, do I just notice how many sleezy ones make headlines? If I’m gonna work for the Government, this may apply. Maybe. If I’m wanting to be a chef or hairdresser, what the crap do my political opinions have to do with pasta or curling irons?
2. Do you see your friends a) as unproductive as you b) as productive as you c) more productive than you….I’d add a “d” to that one and say none of the above, cause if I’m lazy I wouldn’t be filling out this application in the first place. I’d get one of my productive overachiever buddies to do it for me and then ask a free-loader friend to come over lay around with me while I wait on a response…seeing I’d have all this spare time.
3. What percentage of people do you think have gotten speeding tickets in the last year? Please tell me you’re kidding here. If I’m job hunting, do I have the time or want to make the effort to research the police database? All I want to do is drive and not get killed. If some fool gets a ticket, that’s their problem. I won’t be clocking speeders when I’m stocking dog food or typing invoices for a medical supply company.
4. Which pair of pants goes best with this shirt? I say, the ones on clearance in my size, don’t make my butt look big and are not plaid. That answer is not an option, evidently. Isn’t everyone’s taste different? Aren’t the runways and malls crawling with tacky, over-priced, itchy muffin top enhancing attire?
5. If you heard a fellow employee being rude to another employee or customer would you say something? You’re dang right I would, but the trick question is to whom would you say it? Personally, being raised in the South and with my smart mouth, I’d tell that rude dude or chick to quit being such a butthole, go outside by the back door for your cig break cause you’re either nicotine deficent, somebody licked the red off of your candy, get the chip off of your shoulder and act right. I wouldn’t have to tell anyone else, cause around here, either the customer will do enough tattling for everybody or somebody else over heard this butthole and tell their mama on them.
6. How often do you feel satisfied with your life? Well, depends on if I’m working with a bunch of buttholes my MS has pitched a fit, my kids won’t pick up their stuff or if I’m just feeling fine and dandy. Overall, I’m dandy. I do have my days, though. So, how do you answer that without looking like “Eyore” or a narcisist?
See what I mean? These are only a few of the hundreds of questions on hundreds of job applications. If I wanted to play “Jeopardy”, I’d take Stupid for $400, Alex.
I know. I know. I always say to be nice at the end of my blogs and I will in this one, so just hang on. Times are changing. No one wants to practice their observational skills in person and will pay top dollar for a group of head knockers to make decisions for them on who they hire. I’m gonna be opening my own business within a couple of years. I’ve got the plans in the making. I’ve been in owner/management positions before. It’s not hard to tell if someone is a moron, rude, hard worker or willing to learn when you get eyeball to eyeball with them. Some people I’ve interviewed give me the creeps, even if their resume is spotless. Some I’ve feared for their life when they try to walk, pop their gum and potentially trip over their saggy-butted expensive pants.You can’t read body language through a computer. You can’t tell if there is a genuine desire to do what will be asked of them by wading through a ton of subjective hoo-ha. Psychos can trick computers and good-hearted folks get passed by because they got the politics or speeding questions “wrong”.
If you’re gonna be job hunting soon, I feel for you. Be yourself, be polite and just do your best and go onto the next mammoth application. In time, someone will notice your skills and or willingness. If you’re gonna be hiring soon, take time to get out of the “in thing” of computer clicks, listen to your heart and talk to people. Either position in which you find yourself, take Kindness for $500. You’ll win every time.
Most who have the blessing of being a full-time home manager cringe when asked, “What do you do?” First with fear then with defiance or with an Eyore complex before they answer. The usual answer is as predictable as the question. “House wife, house husband, or even a pitiful “Nothing; I stay home.” Oh! Good grief! Call this nit picky, but, hopefully, you’ll see where I’m going with this. The question, first, is phrased with the word “do”, not the word “are”. There seems to be a ridiculous concept floating around which equates what a person does with who they are. ”What are you?” would be a really fun question to pose to someone. I don’t think that answer would be quite so predictable. Wonder what it would be? ”Human”? I know some where that answer would raise doubts, so I’ll leave that alone for now.
The person asking that spine-stiffening question is usually under the assumption they are asking about someone’s job. I don’t like it, but, no one has consulted me on that point. The person answering, usually assumes the same thing, therefore, the cringe happens for most of the house managers, hopeful artists, writers or unemployed I know. And, people with MS or other disabilities. A deflated sense of self rises up in defense spouting a whirl of daily activities, volunteer positions, club memberships “works in progress” and family stuff. Or, it relinquishes in defeat by using the word “just” in front of “stay at home”, like that’s the equivalent to someone under a bridge with a cardboard sign.
A while back, I was posed the same “And, what do you do?” question. I will admit, after working “real jobs” for a long time, I almost had a cringe crisis, but it passed quickly. My answer? “I happily clean toilets in my monkey pajamas.” Then, I smiled. I really do clean toilets in my pajamas. My toilets. In my house. In gloriously tacky pajamas. And,with no time clock, unless someone has a bout of death by Mexican food….I would have answered a bit less sarcastically to someone else, probably. However, I know this person well asking me that dart-filled question. He has a seemingly very busy job in a very important and very busy office with other important, very busy “doers”. I can read people pretty well. I knew he knew I do not work outside of my home anymore. He knows I have written for a few papers and magazines, which in his mind, doesn’t count because I’m not famous. I knew his elevated social status and golf swing are major sources of bragging to him and oddly, to his wife. Who, by the way, lunches with other golf swinger wives and she has a full-time housekeeper. I doubt his wife knows how to swing a toilet brush. These people are not hard to spot. With my sarcasm in 5th gear, I began to imagine I was looking into the face of some “Alpha Male”, beating his chest, showing his crooked yellow teeth driving his Lexus. My pajama answer got a long, funny silence as a response. Then, an awkward yellow grin as he pompously told me all he did in his “monkey suit”. (He didn’t use the words “monkey suit”, but he was wearing one at the time…)
I do a lot more than scrub nastiness. I cook. I write. I hug on my family. I have slumber parties with my mom. I scoop cat poo. I buy groceries, light bulbs and underwear when needed. With MS, some days, all I can “do” is hug my family and watch them scoop the liter box. Everything I do combined is not who I am and is wonderfully untangled from my self-esteem. I am a very blessed human who happens to be grateful about being home, scooping poo,writing for free and being me.
Please realize you are NOT what you do. You are, period. The verb “to be”. You are valuable. You are loved. You are amazing and I’m thinking you are more than amazing in the eyes of your friends and family. I am not on a tirade to knock anyone’s job, position or the effort it took to get it. I simply want to encourage you to think of who you are, based on being. Because, when you can think that way, what you do…will be just gravy. Be a spectacular you. And, always, be kind.
*Note: I did “do” something after my encounter with “Monkey Man”, though. I prayed for forgiveness for having a smart mouth. I seem to need to do that fairly often. Oops.