Why I Don’t Have A Real Job

Phil Johnson interview pictureI don’t envy the people that have to go through the job interview process.  They always seem to demand more acting skill than any audition I’ve ever been on.

I never really went through a real interview process like most people do.  For one job, working at a Montgomery Ward, painting the place, my interview consisted of, “Do you paint?”  “Yes.  “Good, show up tomorrow morning at 7”.  I was there for two years.

For another, I actually did have an interview.  It was a job doing grocery store resets.  That’s when they move all the stuff around so you can’t find it anymore.  I didn’t really want the job, so I thought I’d try to not get hired.

“Do you have any grocery store experience?”

“I don’t think I’ve step foot in a grocery store even to shop in about 4 years.”

“Can you start tomorrow?”

Seriously… That was the interview.  Apparently, breathing was the only qualification they needed.  Had I known I might have stopped doing that.  Another two years I can’t get back.

Now, it’s not like I just fell into jobs immediately.  I’m sure even the thought of that would piss off the unemployed in our current job market.  This was quite a few years ago.  Before my first job working as a clerk in a music school (I was a student there too), I went on a couple regular interviews that resulted in nada.

They were opening a new Target by my house and seemed desperate for people.  Two interviews, no job.  I thought maybe it was my long hair, but they hired a friend of mine with hair down to his butt, tattoos, and a habit of getting drunk every night.  And he worked the night shift.  Never did figure that one out.

At one point I got real desperate and applied at a McDonalds.  I didn’t even get called for an interview…. How bad is that?  I was apparently up against people with years of fryer experience or something.  But you start to question your future as a functional member of society when even McDonalds won’t call you.

I couldn’t go out and do the real job market now.  I’m a very “Here’s me.  Take it or leave it.” kind of guy.  But from what I hear from friends, you really have to put on a show for these people.  It’s a real song and dance about how much you love retail work.  Or you’ve always wanted to work with a company that creates web apps that track roadkill for driver safety.

It’s that question… “Why do you want this job?”  Really?  How about “…because if I don’t have a job I’ll end up having Sunday dinner out of a trash can and riding the bus all day for entertainment.”

Now that may be different if you’re a CEO type who’s already loaded from the golden parachute your last company gave you and now you’re looking for another company to ruin.  But don’t ask this question of the poor girl interviewing at Claire’s.  She’s there for the paycheck, the employee discount, and the proximity to Hot Dog On A Stick.  Done and done.

And I guess you’re not supposed to talk about money at the interview.  Like you’re just so excited to do janitorial work at Ebay that you’ll do it for whatever they offer?  This is the big charade that gets me.  Most people are getting a job for the money.  If they could get paid doing what they love, they would.  But it’s tough to get paid for eating ice cream in a chaise lounge.

In my line of work that’s not even an issue.  “Thanks for offering me the gig.  How much does it pay?” is everyday conversation.  Sure there’s negotiation at the higher levels in entertainment, but it’s still a lot more straight forward.  If we as people really doing what we do for the love of it can talk about payment, why can’t the dude trying to be a FedEx driver get a straight forward answer?

And I’m sure this doesn’t go on at high level jobs.  But I’ve had to take those standardized morality question tests on an interview.  With questions like:

Q: If you saw an employee smoking marijuana in the restroom would you…
a. Ignore them
b. Happily join in
c. Rat them out like a little bitch

Of course, the right answer is C.  It’s a baseline intelligence test to see if you can at least fake it well enough to look like an upstanding member of society for 8 hours a day.  I answered all the questions right, but they must have seen through me. 🙂

So, as quickly as possible, I gave up real jobs where I’d have to play act that I gave a damn.  And that, my friends, was my Independence Day. 🙂

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