The Din of Inequity

The Din of Inequity

...yes, I spelled it that way on purpose.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Hmmph. Some Pirate. Also, Drugs Are Bad, Mmmkay?

For those of you just joining us, I recently got a resume from someone who had listed "Pirate" as a previous job. Turns out that it wasn't actually on the high seas, but rather some lake-bound pleasure cruise, where she mostly entertained children. That's right—entertained, not killed. I was kind of disappointed. She didn't even have a fucking eye patch.

On the job interview front, it's been interesting. I've only done two so far, but already I'm seeing what it's all about from the interviewer's perspective. First off, it's hard to be organized enough to be smooth. You can write up a list of questions, but unless you're going to kill yourself doing new questions for every interviewee, you generally have to adapt your format on the fly. I'm pretty fast on my feet, so it wasn't too bad, but I was always in turmoil that the interview was going to run out too fast, or I wasn't going to ask enough probing questions, I was going to look like a fuckup, etc. Generally feeling like I was blowing the interview and wasn't going to get the job.

Intellectually, I realize that this really isn't an issue. Since this is an entry-level job, and I've stuck steadfastly to only considering folks who are entry-level people, I don't think their concept of what's supposed to happen in an interview is all that strong. This is good, since I definitely don't know what I'm doing—I got my best questions off a job-seekers website, under the heading of things a prospective employer might ask you. I especially relished cribbing the ones from the you're-going-to-hate-being-asked-these-questions-but-everyone-asks-them section*.

Other work things have not been as fun today—I think it's a real mark of a bad day when I have to blog during real work hours to keep from braining someone with my five-year service plaque. It's probably also not a good sign that spending time listening to vague justifications about why this particular brainless** early-twenties kid is a better choice than the others seems like the high point of the day.

The real drag has been that our CEO has suddenly put the brakes on a project we were nearly ready to start on. We've got a guy here who was hired at least partly to organize the division he's in and get them a database that could do what they want. Various people have spent many hours in consultation with database contractors getting them up to speed with our plans so they could give us their typically exorbitant bids. Now that we've got a bid we like and are looking for approval to start the project up, said CEO is having sticker shock, and wanting to know why we can't do the same basic thing with Excel. Excel. Now I don't think I have to tell clever people like my readers how fucking retarded that question is. "Umm, we can't do that because Excel is a motherfucking spreadsheet, and as such is unsuitable for a task which requires a database." Yeah, it's a lot of money—probably 1/3 of the staff here makes less in a year—but we're talking about an infrastructure investment with growth potential, not a new desk chair and a blowjob.

Our CEO is rumored to smoke a lot of pot, and he forgets things really fast. Like really fast.

So I guess I'd just want to say this: "Look, just because you toked this project out of your short-term memory, and you're panicking about losing your stash because of the cost of it, that's no reason to basically reduce some poor slob's entire career at the company to a question of 'couldn't we do that in Excel?'" If you've completely forgotten why the project existed in the first place, though it's been in the business plan for two years, maybe you need to re-think the whole pot thing, you goddamn hippie***.

*"What makes you a particularly good candidate for the job? What makes you stand out from other applicants?" Hellish stuff, but frankly, those questions are signals that it's bullshit time. That's when I say things like, "pound for pound, I'm the most powerful proofreader in DC, if not the world."

**Not literally brainless, of course. These first two have been pretty sharp, all things considered. It's just how people are when they haven't been around a while. One of them took a job selling copiers right out of school, so he sort of has a whiff of middle age around him, but really he's just a kid. I've gotta say, as a veteran of the first-job copier sales wars, it's a bit like being Michael Jackson—your childhood is stripped away with promises of untold riches. Unlike MJ, though, you are unlikely to actually get any of the money, and none of the underage boy-hiney (yes, I'm so going to hell or bad karma land or wherever for that one).

Selling copiers isn't just the worst job I ever had, it's the worst job I ever heard of. Funny, I have a feeling that this may actually be one of my more google-able sentences—such is my belief that nobody likes selling copiers and that everyone is looking for a fellow lost soul for commiseration.

***Don't fire me, boss—I like working here, and I actually like you. I just find the fact that so many long-planned projects seem to you to have come out of the blue a trifle frustrating. OK, a lot frustrating.

|| Bikeboy 4:01 PM ||
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