Friday, March 4, 2011

Career Advice from the Unemployed - Part 2

Here’s a continuation of my sagacious snippets of career wisdom, from me, a trusted source. My outsider’s perspective on this one is key, peering as I am at the prospect of employment from a comfortable distance.

      4. Look Busy, Your Boss (or Jesus) is Coming
       One day at a job I had once, I thought I would be an “energetic, independent self-starter” by “manning the phones” (such a sexist term, I know). Someone had to be close enough to the phones to answer them in a timely manner when a customer called - why shouldn’t that be me? I watched those ugly institutional phones, caked with sweat on the handle and slick with face-grease on the earpiece (is that what you call the part of a corded phone you hold to your head?). Surprisingly enough, it did ring a couple times and I did help the customer. But then there was a lull. A deathly silent void in which my own existence was called into question. I thought I was trapped in a Sartre play. All of a sudden, at the edge of my perception I heard the sound of high heels clicking murderously along the concrete floor, and my brain was screaming at me to get up and do something, that trouble was afoot, but it was as if I was lashed to my chair, forced to bear the burden of answering those phones like Atlas holding up the earth. It was too late. My boss appeared like a flash of malevolent rebuking fire, and I was chastised for just “sitting around”. But the phones! Could she not see the weight of their importance?

At any rate, from this I learned the easy maxim: make sure you just look busy at all times. Do a lap around your office. Pick up a pile of paper from one side of your desk, move it to the other, then move it back. Have a clearly discernible window with your work email client open and just type gibberish. It seems that the only thing worse than bad work is no work at all, so make sure you’re on the right side of that line.

      5. Take Rejection Easy - Blame It on Others
    Ah, rejection. Nothing twangs the heartstrings quite like it. I received an early primer in this most devastating emotion from the scores of girls I had crushes on in elementary and middle school...and high school...(okay fine!) and on into college. And it will happen as you search for an initial position and later as you try to advance your career. Many times, you just aren’t good enough or qualified enough for a position, and you must learn to take this in stride. But remember, it’s not you they’re rejecting, it’s just everything about you.

So how do you cope with such a soul-rattling blow? One great strategy is to blame it on others. God is a popular candidate, but I would avoid such a move, personally. It might come back to bite you (eternally). Instead there are plenty of viable options: Prospective employers who “didn’t even give you a chance to interview” are most definitely missing out on some amazing talent and therefore should definitely be ashamed of their actions. “The Economy” (whatever that is/means) is a super-popular thing to place blame on these days, and will usually bring you the most sympathy from family and friends, who are also getting screwed by “The Economy”. But lastly, never blame yourself. You are awesome, and you didn’t need that stupid job anyways. Keep repeating that until it sounds kinda true.

   6. “Live Like You Were Dying” - Tim McGraw
     This isn’t just great career advice, this is great life advice. If you were dying, would you spend every day at an unfulfilling dead-end job? Hell no, you’d go skydiving and take other needless risks. And as a side benefit you’d become a better person in the process. Note that this only applies to people who aren’t actually dying.

That’s all for now, but hopefully this entirely useful series will continue.

1 comment:

  1. Adam ... you're fantastic. Thanks for articulating what many of us have thought / are thinking. Keep winning. (Like you could help it). much love - laurie