The Din of Inequity

The Din of Inequity

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Pirate Fight at the OK Corral

Yesterday I noticed that the guys who are "renaissancing" our downtown have started construction on a new pedestrian corral. I can't tell you how not thrilled that makes me, though I should have suspected it would be coming.

For the last year or so, my eight-minute walk to work has been disrupted by construction. For a long time, I just had to cross the street and cross back an extra time. Then they started tearing up another block, and I had to cross and recross, but at a new place--one that I'll affectionately call Lake Fenton. In the process of improving my access to exciting new bits of stripmall culture, the construction cowboys managed to fuck up the drainage system of the one main road (Fenton Street) through their rubble heaps. They did this in the wintertime, of course, so there were huge puddles of slush right where I was now being forced to cross the road. Luckily, these engineering geniuses had a plan. They filled the puddle up with gravel, which gave us a heap of muddy sloppy gravel surrounded by a four-foot wide moat. In an effort to correct that disaster, they proceeded to put up makeshift fences and construct the first of the pedestrian corrals.

The pedestrian corral is just a 2x4 and plywood tunnel designed, no doubt, to steer walkers past dangerous obstacles and protect their heads from falling debris. Unfortunately, since plywood comes in 4x8 sheets, it takes a lot fewer sheets to build the whole thing if you turn them longways. Who cares if this yields a walkway something less than three and a half feet wide? Who cares if this walkway begins (or ends, depending on which direction you're going) on the island in the middle of Lake Fenton? The true genius of this became apparent when it got really cold, and not only did the moat around the gooey gravel island become a sheet of ice stretching halfway across the street, but the island itself became a treacherous hump of ice (which, because it was filled with gravel, was apparently impossible to move or remedy). Right at one end of the corral, with fences on either side leaving you no choice but to traverse this hideous no-man's-land of broken tailbone fantasies. Like I said: Genius.

So anyway, I fucking hate the pedestrian corrals, and now I see they're putting up a new one. With a right-angle turn in it, which should double my pleasure. This is undoubtedly because they're preparing to tear up another stretch of my sidewalk and/or install terrifying overhead industrial hazards, making my commute, which really should be a joy, into a fear-filled scuttle, punctuated by being pushed into traffic by the idiots behind me who only want to get clear of the corral, never mind what's at the other end. I think if these folks thought of the corral the way I do, they mightn't be in such a damned-fool rush. As I troop through it single-file with a bunch of other footbound cattle, I imagine that at the other end I'll meet "The Stunner."*

Being at work after my commute hasn't exactly been a picnic lately either. Just a ton of work, and no assistant. Perhaps ironically, one the main additions to my workload has been the search for a candidate to become said assistant. I can't wait to hire someone so that next time I can make them print out all those goddamn resumes. I suppose I'd still have to read them, though.

Going through resumes, especially for an entry-level position with the word "web" in the title, has got to be nearly as soul-destroying as actually applying for such jobs. I've seen a lot the last few days. Because the job is vaguely technical, there are quite a lot of transplants from Asia and India applying. This is kind of appalling--folks who are obviously well-trained and experienced having to go for the lowest-level jobs, probably because of language barriers** and local lack of confidence (misplaced, I suspect) in degrees from the University of Bangalore or whatever. I'm not sure I'd want to live here that badly, but I've never lived anywhere else, so what do I know?

I've also been amazed at the number of people who do not seem to have the slightest idea how to perform this job-seeking task. I'm pretty sure that an eight-page single-spaced resume is not a winning formula. Well, let's just say it: Since I'm in charge, I'm completely sure that sending something like that, or a resume with no cover letter, or a cover letter full of typos, word-os and flat out poor grammar***, or an email that says, "LOOK NO FURTHER" in the subject line, will get your offering a one-way trip to the never-call-this-person-and-ask-a-coworker-to-shoot-me-if-I-ever-think-about-it file.

Toward the end of the day yesterday, I did manage to find a resume I liked. This one had a good cover letter, links to a presentable if unspectacular hobby website, and a number of low-level jobs listed (remember, this is entry-level professional here--if you've been a CEO, I don't want to hear from you). One previous job in particular caught my eye--in her third-to-most-recent job, she listed her position as "Pirate." She is so getting an interview.****

*The Stunner, of course, is the guy at the meat packing plant whose job it is to shoot each cow in the head with some kind of hammer-thingy to, erm, stun them. Presumably so they don't try so hard to make a break for it when approached by the "Throat Slitter" or the "Cutter-in-half" or whatever grisly way they actually dispatch the cattle to the great beyond. The Stunner, to me, has to be about the worst job in an abbatoir.

Sure, I'm an omnivore, so I sort of owe it to the world not to be sqeamish about asking other people to do my dirty work in the arena of changing live moo-cows into dead steaks. The way I see it, somebody's gotta do it--but for economic success and a profound distance from cattle-producing land, there go I. Even if I did have to work for a slaughterhouse, though, I wouldn't want to be the Stunner. Something about being so close to the interface between live cow and dead cow, without actually being at it, freaks me out. I suppose you could convince yourself that you were the merciful one, dispensing pleasant senselessness before painful oblivion, but I think if I wanted to do that I'd be a bartender instead.

**OK, in many instances, if the cover letters are anything to go by, mostly because of language barriers. I'm not down on folks who are learning a new language, but I also can't hire them to proof and edit documents. It's strange, really, how you can feel guilty culling someone from the herd, even though he or she "seems nice," or even, "seems desperate," simply because they're plainly not up to the stated tasks. This differs, of course, from shitcanning the offers from assholes who didn't even bother to mail-merge the right job title into their form letters. That's easy.

***The job description says "detail oriented" right in it. If you can't get it together to proofread your one entry into the twenty-five thousand dollar sweepstakes that is entry-level job hunting, I doubt you're going to do that well proofing my website for accuracy every damn day.

****While I do think she might be a good fit for the assistant post, I just want to get her in here to quiz her about that job. "So, you have here that you were a pirate, but I don't see anything here about skills in skullduggery, timber-shivering or hatch-battening-down. Could you explain this? These are things managers usually expect to see on the resume of the well-rounded pirate."

|| Bikeboy 1:38 PM ||
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