an open letter to all large company employers with online personality tests on their applications

To whom it may concern,

A couple of years ago I applied to work at Hastings (your entertainment superstore). Hastings is one of those places where they sell books, movies, CDs, video games, and various kitschy shit that no one seems to buy. I was told to apply there by my friend Adam, and so I did. Part of the application process was of the general sort: name+address, education, former jobs, references. I was fine with that. While my resume is filled with more holes than swiss cheese, I figured that Hastings wasn’t the kind of place that would look down upon me for getting my college education and not worrying about working as much.

Most of the application, however, was a big long personality assessment test. I believe it was something like fifty questions or so. And so I took it. And having never taken a personality assessment test prior to this one, I had no idea what I was in store for, and so I answered honestly, because in most tests of this sort (the Kiersey and the Jung – Myers-Briggs, for example), honesty is key in determining what kind of personality you have. I could spend another blog post just talking about these tests in general, so instead I’ll just reiterate that when I took the test, I was honest. And when I submitted it, I felt pretty good. Now, I thought, the employers will really know what kind of person I am. Continue reading an open letter to all large company employers with online personality tests on their applications

job-hunting part x: the final dimension

Here is an interesting thing: the best way to get a job is to network, correct? And the best way to network is to meet people, right? So why are so many companies now forcing applicants to apply online, away from managers and bosses? I find this awkward. Hastings did this, and other big companies do it too, and I don’t understand why, other than it helps decrease the amount of work a hiring manager does (if they even have a hiring manager). But this begs the question: what the hell does a hiring manager do? It seems like these days people who work to interview potential work candidates aren’t doing their job — they’re letting a computer do it for them. So instead of getting a handwritten application (handwriting tells a lot about a person, doncha know), they get a form e-mailed to them that states a person’s worth in nothing but words. Their whole life, in a sense, is condensed into a one to two page resume, with optional cover letter attached.

The greatest irony for me with regard to applying for jobs is that I have a great writing voice, and yet I have no place to showcase it on an application. I probably completed the greatest application online ever recently. It was for DirecTV. I got sick of repeating the same old stuff I’ve been writing for everyone, constantly looking at my lack of experience, my terrible job history, and so when I filled out this online application I noticed that they had actual text boxes for me to write in, instead of radio buttons or check boxes. So I wrote and actually injected a little humor into the whole thing. I hope it works. I mean, come on, those people know that there are millions of people right now writing out millions of applications, typing countless accomplishments into countless computers as they update their resumes on careerbuilder. They have to know that this process is time-consuming and generally shitty. They have to. It’s not about the job itself, it’s about the process of getting the job. The job could be fighting mountain lions in a pool filled with ice cream sandwiches (best job ever) and I’d still get pissy about filling out the application form. It’s just draining.

And, you know, when I do finally get an interview it will allow me to be cool with a real live person, but even that’s daunting. I have a good personality and all but job interviews aren’t having coffee at the Dawson Taylor’s across the street, you know? You have to sit in a room and impress someone within five minutes of meeting them. You don’t get a chance to shoot the shit, or get to know the person. You just have to say, “I have certificates in every type of Microsoft software known to man. I can decode Windows 3.1 in two minutes flat.”

I can’t imagine being a hiring manager, just because I would want to get to know everyone, and it would be impossible. Instead of asking them about their qualifications, I’d be askind them what their favorite soft drink was. Instead of their job experience, I would inquire about their abilities in making sandwiches.

I wrote a short play called “Myspace Resume” which will never ever be produced, but was about a young goth kid who used a myspace survey for an application. So the boss calls him in for a job interview just to set this kid straight and the kid’s such a sorry sack of shit that the boss hires him out of pity. I only bring that up because I think I’d rather read someone’s myspace survey than their resume. It just seems so much more personal, and I’d rather hire someone who I could like and did the job well than someone who was excellent at the job but was a complete jackass.

But then again, I’m the unemployed one, aren’t I?

dancefest 2008: day three

Okay, first off, if your name is Aaron or Jason or Danny, or if you just don’t want to read about me dancing, then for god’s sake, don’t read this. Go to your fancy sports blogs and read about baseball or something.

(I said to Aaron yesterday, regarding my Dancefest blog: “I don’t write those for you,” to which he replied, “Well … who do you write them for?” Smarmy bastard.) Continue reading dancefest 2008: day three

dancefest, 2008: day one

Before I begin, if you want to read about Mustache Saturday, I suggest you check out Jason’s blog. It is made of mystic awesomeness.

I am going to compile a journal of my journey through my first summer of Dancefest. Dancefest is a two-week dance intensive, which means that there are twenty 16-year-olds and four dudes, two of whom are gay, and one of whom is 25 years old. Classes start promptly at 9:00am and end around 2:30pm. After that is choreography, which rounds out the day at about 6:00pm. Continue reading dancefest, 2008: day one

job hunting; the ongoing struggle

The advent of the Internet has created a huge dilemma in networking today. It has, in effect, destroyed the interpersonal connections needed in order to get a good job. This creates a strange effect in which employers use sites like craigslist and careerbuilder to send out a mass request for workers, and yet they cannot discern if the people who reply are actually cool or not. All they can do is look at a resume.

This contrasts with the traditional job hunt because people everywhere will tell you, “Get your foot in the door,” to make yourself known to your potential manager or hiring manager. To look presentable. To shake hands, maintain eye contact. To, in essence, be a human being (leaning towards being yourself, but not necessary). Continue reading job hunting; the ongoing struggle

the theatre degree; or, how to intentionally starve yourself with $40,000 in student loans

It’s becoming more and more clear as the days go by that my Theatre Arts degree from Boise State isn’t going to help me one bit. While most people say that just having a college degree to begin with is a good place to be, I find that most prospective employers take a look at a theatre degree and say, “What can we do with that?” The trouble, it seems, is that most degrees in college center on specific vocations: business, management, business management, fixing cars, nursing, being a doctor, film and television, english (teaching), history (teaching), mathematics (teaching) and, of course, teaching. Art, on the other hand, is shunned, and we — painters, actors, musicians, singers — are huddled into this corner where we become, ostensibly, Jack of All Trades. Continue reading the theatre degree; or, how to intentionally starve yourself with $40,000 in student loans

ah, sickness

I’m amazed at how asymmetrical illness is. People say that beauty is in symmetry, and that beautiful people are, for the most part, extremely symmetrical. It’s interesting that the opposite of beauty — malaise, illness, sickness — is depicted in asymmetrical specificity rather than all over your body. Right now I have a cold and a sore throat, and I noticed that my right nostril was plugged up while my left was not. The reasons for this are simple; if both of my nostrils were plugged up, I wouldn’t be able to breathe. But it still says something about the ugliness of disease.

Cancer starts in a specific spot. Headaches attack certain parts of the head. I suppose migraines feel like they’re all over but probably emanate from one spot. It seems like all illnesses start from specifics. On the other hand, beauty emerges as a whole, equal on both sides. The egg is symmetrical. The sperm is too. When they combine the cells divide equally into mirroring sides. Things that are one always split into two. Symmetry.

What, then, is symmetry in love? It’s a little more difficult to pinpoint the concept of symmetry in intangible things like that. A lot of people, myself included, have been deluded to believe that having similar things in common equals symmetry in love, when in practice that doesn’t seem to work out at all. In fact, the opposite idiom, “Opposites attract,” usually works out better than having the same things in common. Why is that? Why do higher concepts have a yin-yang approach to them, rather than a symmetrical approach?

Balance, in nature, is in symmetry. Physically, it would be harder for a man to walk if one of his legs were shorter than another. And most beautiful things in the world are symmetrical things. It’s a form of natural balance. But ideas like love and good and evil are dictated by a different kind of balance, where having one concept become greater than another becomes “bad,” like evil becoming greater than good. These things are to be balanced, usually by social constructs but ultimately by nature. Is this the same with love? And what balances love?

I’ve noticed that if a woman loves me too much, it turns me off. And alternately, if a woman doesn’t love me enough, it frustrates me. It follows, then, from my own personal experience, that finding a balance of love is fundamental to a good relationship. But how does that work? How does one achieve a balance of love?

The only real answers to that question come from the Beatles (“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”), which is a warmer way of explaining Christ’s fundamental belief: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Karma, essentially, though Christ didn’t exactly flesh out the karma part of it. He set out the first principle, but didn’t tack on the “if you do bad things to others, bad things will happen to you” part. It looks easy but I’ll be damned if it isn’t.

Well, my throat hurts so singing sucks right now. I wanted to record a cover of “Thinking About You” but I can’t reach the high parts without going into a really girly falsetto, and even then it still sounds shitty. So maybe I’ll just strum my guitar for a while.

behold, the power of pablo honey

A lot of people throw away Radiohead’s first album as, to use a British term, rubbish. Especially compared to their later works, Pablo Honey appears primitive and unclean, the shaping of a mold that will eventually create the masterpiece trilogy of The Bends, OK Computer, and Kid A.

I myself don’t listen to a lot of Pablo Honey, but after a particularly entertaining weekend full of craziness and eventual let down in multiple stages, I found myself playing “Thinking About You” on guitar, over and over again. It’s a very cathartic song, very easy to play and very straightforward about it’s message. And it made me realize how much I enjoy Radiohead’s debut album. It’s grungy, sure, the imprint of the era in which they developed, but in a way that solidifies their status as the Beatles of the 90s — they took a style of music so popular that it was being copied by almost every new band out there, and they made it their own, just as the Beatles did with the blues and rock. If you listen to an early Beatles album, the comparisons to Buddy Holly and Bill Haley and the Comets and even Elvis Presley come easily, but just as easily comes the realization that the Beatles took that archtype of sound and improved upon it. Radiohead did the exact same thing in the early 90s with the one-two punch of Pablo Honey and The Bends. They took a sound and experimented with it, and made it ten times as better.

And now it’s on Winamp again. Okay, maybe it’s perfect because it is the perfect song for the situation I’m in right now, but it is resonating, and that’s a good feeling, that feeling that your fellow human beings are in the same plight you are in and they had the same problems that you have right now.