Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seeking Employment: No Muss, No Fuss, and No Jobs

Looking for a job in the Internet Age is a tremendously frustrating process. It's not just that the job market is tight, as well it is, and especially for someone whose most impressive accomplishments are many years in the past. But I still have the skills, and I've used them outside my employment to keep them sharp. But aside from a limited cover letter, I never get the chance to tell anyone about them.

That's because nearly every job application I submit now is either an email or an online application. And I rarely get any reply. Oh yeah, the occasional auto-responder, and one company even sent a little card. But mostly my application, cover letter, and resume just disappear into the ether.

Today I submitted an application online, for a company which shall remain nameless. After the entire process was complete, before I pressed the button to submit my application, there was a final set of instructions. I didn't copy them, so I am paraphrasing. Okay, interpreting:

"We don't actually want to deal with you as a person, and so don't call us on the telephone or expect any kind of reply unless we've already decided, pretty much, that you're right for the job. If we don't contact you in the next 30 days, you can assume we've hired someone else. You're welcome to apply for any of the other jobs we have listed here, provided you go through this online system once again and don't bother us in any way. Thanks."

Sounds like a great way to get high-quality applicants. I think I just became a "discouraged worker."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Problem With Tools

I'm a great admirer of tools. Given the proper tool and the proper skill, many amazing things can be accomplished and often are. The problem with tools is that owning a tool, having spent money on a tool, having committed storage space to a tool, confers an obligation to actually use the tool.

I'm all for that if the tool is a camera, or a sound recorder, or any of the myriad software tools I use to create pictures and music and sounds and stories. But lately, being the owner of an unfinished house, I have begun to acquire the kinds of implements that everyone thinks of when you say "tools."

You know, the kind of stuff that comes from the tool department at Lowes. Circular saws and table saws and miter saws. Power drills and compressors with nail guns. Snow blowers, for crying out loud. Here am I, a native of Southern California, the land of perpetual sunshine and I own not only a weed trimmer, but a snow blower. Along with snow shovels and ice scrapers.

And I use every single one of them. I clear snow and I hang drywall and I do carpentry and wiring, and even a little bit of plumbing.

When I look in the mirror I hardly know who I am.