Friday, December 2, 2011

Job Opportunity for a Good Woman

Yes, finally a job that fits some of my qualifications!
(photo taken at Buffalo Bill Museum Cafe)

Having trouble finding the career of your dreams? Having trouble just finding a job that pays over $10/hr.?  You are not alone.  I did the "get an education" thing and equipped myself with several degrees by "following my bliss." After finishing up my most recent educational adventure in 2010, completing a degree in library and information science (MLS) with a 4.0 (yeah, who cares?), I assumed I would be able to find a nice little job in a local library. Information science was something I wanted to share with folks from a research perspective and a creative educational standpoint. I was ready and willing to work part-time and not stress the budget of any library. Salary was the least of my concerns; I just wanted to give back to the community like Oprah always suggests. For almost two years, I worked as a "student worker" in an academic library, gaining experience performing a multitude of tasks and learning the ins and outs of different library software systems. Ready to hit the streets, I sent out into the cosmos of my local library system my clean, clear and concise resume, accompanied by a brief yet informative cover letter. I waited and waited for a response. I applied again.  Um, nothing, nada, rien, nichts, zilch ever came back. Not even a "thank you for your application." I am indeed invisible or my application and resume are. How can a piece of paper transferred to a computer screen reflect the true essence of a person? And what if somebody looks "good on paper" but is really not good in person?

Perhaps I do not have the talent for creating connections with the important people in human resources and networking properly to get my foot in the door. Is there a school for that? Is it really all about who you know or who you are related to? What happened to the days of visiting an establishment and talking with the manager (or department head) letting them determine if you fit their team mold or fold? When was the last time the people who should be intimately involved in putting a team together for their work force could personally experience your smile, personality, or vibe and decide right then and there to hire you (or not)? Now, most job application processes are run through the anonymity of a human resources department where young, inexperienced personnel are mandated to determine from a piece of paper who is a good candidate for various positions. If one is fortunate enough to get an interview, they are then run through the wringer, asked ridiculous and canned phony questions and the equally phony replies are noted in the same fashion as if one were sitting with Dr. Freud. "So where do you see yourself in five years? "Well, I see myself sipping fresh-squeezed-lime juice margaritas sitting on the white sands of Ipanema Beach gazing out at Sugarloaf Mountain about 15 lbs. thinner - tall and tan and young and lovely."  Uh oh, wrong answer. The person who spins and sells the best lie wins. The human resources department might also demand the applicant take a multiple-choice test to be sure he/she fits some psychological profile (or to find out if one has the potential to become an ax murderer). I believe they also scrutinize one's education with the sole purpose to discount and undermine whatever schooling one has mastered in order to come to the conclusion that the applicant falls short of some class and their education is not enough.

Whatever happened to human intuition and gut feelings? One hiring experience I had decades ago and still cherish is the day I walked into a plant nursery for a job and chatted with the owner. I told her briefly about my horticulture experience and passion about all things botanical. The owner said, "Start tomorrow." I asked if she wanted my resume or master gardener certification and she said, "No, I can tell right away what kind of person I want here."  Voila! This is the kind of job interview and hiring practice that is sorely lacking in the post-globalization corporate and bureaucratic world. Put the “human” back in human resources and let the personnel begin again to trust their observations and instincts rather than have job applicants fit a geometric grid or business model. It is hard to get those fleshy round blocks into square holes. Can all those phony canned questions be trashed and an interview become a real conversation between two people who may one day work side by side?

Anyway, back to the job opportunity above: I can sew, cook, gut clean and shovel horse shit as well as the next person. I am a good woman and I still have my saddle and chaps, but not my horse. As a bonus, I can throw together a kitchen garden in the warm season. Any takers?

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