January 24, 2011

Job Hunting (Sucks)

I'm sure you've known someone (maybe more than a few someones) who has unexpectedly found themselves out of a job. If you don't, now you do.

Ah, the sweet, unfortunate nightmare of realizing that, despite your best intentions, you are without the luxury of waiting for the perfect job. Instead, you find yourself trolling the streets and the internet for (almost) anything that pays, because you're an adult with bills and a hungry book addiction to feed. Suddenly all those jobs you thought you'd left behind you forever start to look shinier than they've looked in many a year. You start adding things to your resume such as 'can juggle miscellaneous fruit, perfect for spicing up board room meetings' and 'comfortable dancing in ten-inch platform heels'. Some friends call this 'liberating' and 'a great transition time'. You try not to call this 'astoundingly depressing'.

Which is perhaps one of the reasons I fell in love with Michaela McGuire's book Apply Within. McGuire, a twenty-something writer living in Melbourne, takes us on an hilarious adventure through her eclectic resume, detailing the woes of temporary employment. She talks about her time overseeing private lap dances at a gentleman's club and chronicling a bank executives' stamp collection. Using her dry wit and deadpan humor, she details the absurdities of working for a politician who thinks a trip to a barbershop for a haircut counts as getting out into the community and the harrowing, soul-sucking silliness of trying to sell anything door-to-door.

McGuire, who seems like a smart, funny, and very capable human being, appears to take all of this indignity pretty well, which amazes and heartens me. She delights in the absurd situations she finds herself in and doesn't seem overly concerned about things like steady career progression - at least, not all of the time. That's the genius of her stories: she's taken something that most twenty-somethings fear (floating from one inane job to the next, never finding a place to belong) and turned it into fantastically funny prose. Her book gives me hope that good writers can always find a way to have the last laugh.

Apply Within took me back to all of those fantastically awful jobs I had through high school and college. These include:

1) Stuffing envelopes for a Republican I didn't like very much.
2) Painting curbs.
3) Shampooing old ladies' hair (don't even get me started on this one).
1) Waitressing at a restaurant where I had to both stare at large hunks of meat all day AND line dance every 45 minutes.

So what are your worst jobs ever?


are you hiring?

1 comment:

  1. What a day to ask me this question...

    I've been pretty lucky on the summer job front, actually. Other than the summer I spent de-thorning roses at the local flower shop, I have actually enjoyed most of them. I liked the summers I spent working at a coffee shop, and usually enjoyed the experience of working at a restaurant.

    That said, my grown up job sometimes (who am I kidding -- usually) sucks my joie de vivre. In fact, you'll be proud to know I let myself indulge in a full-out public sob fest in front of a high-end menswear store this past Thursday. I cried so long and so hard (by myself, on a couch in the middle of the mall), that I had to take another half hour of "me time" to collect myself before I went back to the office. Emmmmbarrasing.

    So yes -- I'd like to drop everything and come job hunt with you. Please enjoy what you can of unemployment a little extra for me, love! xoxo