I've been holding onto this piece for awhile, not sure how to write it. While I'm not really paranoid - I don't lie awake at night worrying about suits with guns and unmarked black SUV's - I'm no dummy, and it's clear to anyone who cares at this point, the surveillance, police state is ratcheting up. It's not like I'm anything like a threat to my government - who's gonna rally behind that Goddess guy, in any kind of number? - but I have said many a thing in this blog that could be triggers to some digital sweeper, leading to God knows what. All in all, I think my message is about peace. But then, when you think about it, the last thing the leadership of this empire, any empire wants, is peace. A compliant, apathetic, cynical consumer citizenry, passively in support of global military expansion and universal debt bondage, maybe, but certainly not peace. So if you will permit me to be a bit coy, I think it best perhaps not to advertise precisely where I might be working.
That said, after my brief tour through the
rotten underbelly of the job market, I received a call about an
interview downtown. They weren't very clear about the job, and I wasn't
at first inclined to go to the interview. But it was downtown, there is a
high concentration of attractive women and curious characters downtown,
I can take the train, and as I'd skipped one interview already, it
seemed like fulfilling a kind of commitment, if not to the interview as
much to the idea of finding a job.
So I took the train
downtown on a beautiful, sunny day, and rode the elevator to a very high
floor in a prominent tower, and presented myself in my everycorporateman grey
shirt, black pants and black shoes.
First thing was the
assessment test. I was led to a back computer in a small room of ten
computers lining two walls, I was asked to take a seat, given brief
directions, before I was left alone in the room. Right off, first
question on the screen, what is 10x12? No problem. Next, what is 314-76?
Ok, thank the Goddess I brought a pen, and there's a pad of paper.
Next, what is 765.1936-345.789. Oh shit. By this time, I am feeling
somewhat clammy, not being conditioned to air conditioning, or lists of
random math questions. I'm ok with basic math. No problem. Except I'm
applying for a job, and there are 76 more questions on this first of
four assessments. Breath. Relax. You can do this.
math questions, um, mercifully ended after question 36 - after they had
gotten progressively more complex. Then it was on to, "of these four
sentences, which is grammatically incorrect?" And I'm looking at them,
the sentences, and I'm like, they're all kind of stilted, kind of
sloppy. I wouldn't write a sentence like that. What's the rule again
about apostrophes? Oh shit, relax, breathe, think, intuit. Then it was
about punctuation (except they're kind of the same thing), and then it
was spelling, and sometimes, in a way, it was really about all three in
the same word, except they weren't that specific. I was looking at some
of those spelling words, and I was remembering Hemingway's A Movable Feast,
and his assertion that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a terrible speller, and
then I was thinking about how spell-check has made me a lazy speller
(until recently, as my Linux Ubuntu spell check is a worse speller than I am),
and then I was like, I don't think there's an extra g in Armageddon, but
I'm pretty sure there's a second l in millennium.
second assessment was the 10-key. Tap. Tap tap. Tap. The third
assessment was Typing Speed and Accuracy. You'ld think after a million
and a half words...peck, peck peck, backspace, peck. After that, was the
Customer Service assessment. "If a customer is rude to you, is it ok to
be rude back? A:Never, B:Almost Never, C:Sometimes, D:Yes." Etcetera,
eighty times over. As a former manager of a retail establishment, I can
assure you, whatever is said, the customer is not always right. The
customer is at times delusional, occasionally sociopathic verging on the
psychopathic, and potentially violent. As far as I'm concerned, I
scored 100% on that test.
Back in the lobby, I was
standing at the front desk filling out some paperwork, when I heard a voice
next to me: "Hunter Duncan. William Hunter Duncan." I looked over, and
there was Lorenzo M. who I haven't seen in maybe eight years. We had a
little love fest, and in that moment, the entire mood in the room
changed, and I went from random guy applying for a job, to part of the
in-crowd, just like that.
In the official interview
with Jackie, I was informed that I scored in the 96th percentile on the
math/grammar/punctuation/spelling test; only the 90th percentile in accuracy
on the 10-key and typing tests, but, um, slightly below average on
speed. But not so slow as to disqualify me...whew. On the customer
service assessment, I got a dozen questions wrong. Wrong? I told Jackie I
didn't think it was possible to get a "wrong" answer unless you were a
fool. She laughed and said the 83% percentile probably meant I
was telling the truth. I told her I answered as a manager, and not a
robot. She giggled.
Afterward I went to lunch with
Lorenzo. He claims, that very morning he was looking at a database of
potential hires, that he hasn't looked at in three months, and my name
was second on the list.
The next day I was talking
with a friend, one of the Halloween partners (of the retail store I
managed), and he says, you're a prolific writer, go to this website and
type in "writer." I did, and the first thing that popped up was my DREAM
job. Not just my DREAM job, but the thing I was MADE TO DO. Except, I
was in the middle of shooting off resume after resume, and I didn't
realize it was my DREAM job that I was MADE TO DO. I filled out the necessary info, hopped up
on coffee, sweating, and went to send it, and my Internet went down.
That's weird. Restart. No Internet. Restart, Restart, freak out for no
good reason, Restart. Internet! Yeah! Go to send, Internet goes down,
Shit, WTF! Restart, Freak out for no reason. Restart. Restart.
wasn't until I went back later and I really looked at the job
description, and then even later as I was in bed, trying to get to
sleep, that it hit me, that's my DREAM job! That's not just my DREAM
job, that's MY JOB! That's what I've been working toward, without
knowing that's what I've been working toward! And Oh MY GOD, I fucked it
up, didn't I? Those weren't the writing samples I should have sent!
That wasn't the cover letter. Idiot! And then I realized, or remembered,
I sent that application thinking that I couldn't get that job,
and I was only applying because I couldn't not. And then I rolled around
in bed for another hour berating myself. Why didn't I just take the
hint - the first or the second - and stop, and think about it?
than 48 hours later, I was rejected by HR. As expected. So I started
calling everyone I knew who might have any connection to anyone who
might be inside the office of my DREAM job. Call after call, and
nothing, and then I called one of my childhood playmates, who used to come out
to the lake and go swimming and paddle around in the paddle boat, and
she was like, I know everybody in that office. And I was like WHOO-HOO,
and dancing. And she dropped my name with half a dozen people, and I
made contact by email, and spent five days re-writing everything,
Resume, Cover Letter and Samples, recruiting some good advice from an HR
friend. I reapplied, and that is still pending.
I got the call. I got that other job. Not the DREAM job, but the
never-in-a-million-years-imagined-I-would-do job, the back into the
belly of the behemoth job, doing something egregious (maybe*) for less
money/hr than I make landscaping with my friend Organic Bob,
less-than-half/hr I was making at that other behemoth doing something a
hell of a lot easier, back in 2008 before the market collapsed, or was
collapsed. (*I say egregious, but I don't really know for sure, and I
may even like it and be good at it, and it might be a great opportunity,
and eventually pay for all sorts of necessities. Stay tuned.)
job doesn't start for three weeks. Meanwhile, there's still the
possibility of the DREAM job. Except I have to get past HR, and they are
humorless, and I don't necessarily have the credentials. If I'd gone
and got that Masters and that Doctorate like my professors all wanted me
to, instead of wandering in the wilderness, and learning how to build a
house, and gardening and writing radical blogs and books, I'd be a
shoo-in (and about $150,000 in debt.) Still, nobody in this city can do a better job at that job than I can.
keep calling out, I am in service. My Goddess, my Goddess, my Goddess,
my name is William Hunter Duncan, and I am in service to you. The path
seems obvious to me, but that's not now in my control.