Please Hire Me. I’m Real Good at Doing Stuff.

I’ll be looking for a job pretty soon. I realize that people who can give me a job will expect me to tell them what I’m qualified to do. I don’t mean that resume crap. That stuff’s almost fiction, even if it’s technically true. If my skill was begging in the gutter for burrito wrappers, I could make it sound like “acquiring recycled commercial materials in atypical urban areas.”

No, I’m talking about looking someone in the eye and telling them, in one breath, just what I can do. After which they’ll feel that if they don’t hire me they’ll live in regret and never be happy again for the rest of their lives. My challenge is that I’m a senior manager, so the things I’m capable of sound stupid. For example, I could look my prospective employer in the eye and say:

“I’m great at saying no. Really, I’m like a negativity machine.”

Based on that statement, even I wouldn’t hire me. Hell, I’d spray for me, like I was a chinch-bug.

It’s a problem.

By the way, any grammar fans may have noted that in the earlier paragraph I should have written “…the things of which I am capable sound stupid.” I didn’t do that because it doesn’t flow well. I know it’s wrong, but I offer a quote that’s been attributed to Winston Churchill:

“This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”

On Saturday I interrupted my musings on unemployment long enough to visit my father. I go there to talk about building things, and stupid politicians, and grilled cheese sandwiches, among other things. I also go there to write checks to pay his bills. His hands shake too much for him to write because of a raucous and unwelcome party in his cerebellum, so I help out. I’m hoping that my wife will be kind enough to write my checks when I get older. To be truthful, she writes most of them now, so things wouldn’t be that different.

My father and I found ourselves talking about job qualifications, just after we’d been discussing how much useless crap is in his attic. Right away he told me that he didn’t learn anything in college that helped him get a job, or that helped him at all in his career, for that matter. I found that discouraging. When he was still working he supervised the construction of schools and hospitals and so forth. However, in college I think he mainly knocked people down and pulled semi-larcenous pranks on the Texas A&M football team. So maybe this wasn’t entirely surprising.

We backtracked and talked about whether his military service had given him qualifications he could present to future employers. He said that had been problematic. After the Korean War his discharge papers stated that he was well-suited for any civilian job requiring a “small arms technician.” He didn’t feel that was too helpful, since it meant “move about silently and kill people.”

We agreed that it can be hard to explain what you’re qualified to do.

I guess I’ll keep working on it. I may need something more generic, like, “I don’t usually screw things up,” or, “I haven’t been killed by my own employees so far.” Maybe I can adapt one of those common sayings about success, like, “Success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” I could turn that into:

“I sweat a lot. You ought to see it.”

Or here’s another one I like. “Ninety percent of life is showing up. Nine percent is paying attention. One percent is getting laid.”

I should be able to do something with that.

My father, back when he was a "small thinking-about-punching-a-photographer's-assistant-im-the-throat technician."
My father, back when he was a “small thinking-about-punching-a-photographer’s-assistant-in-the-throat technician.”

 

11 Responses to Please Hire Me. I’m Real Good at Doing Stuff.

    • Short answer–yeah. He was one of those independent kids. His folks gave him a .22 rifle when he was six and turned him loose in the woods for the rest of his childhood–apart from exceptional punishments such as this photo.

  1. What I’ve learned: it’s all about examples. As long as I give an example that vaguely pertains to what they’ve asked me, I do super well in the interview. But then again, this means all my jobs have been so different that on paper I look terrible… :p

    • Yeah, most of my jobs have also been different, even within the same company. I’ll think about examples.

      “How do you motivate employees?”

      “When I asked someone to take a trip she didn’t want to take, I wrote her a note that she could present to me in the future that would get her out of one thing she didn’t want to do.”

      What do you think?

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