Recently I sat writing in Wegman’s Café and listened to a potential employee stumble through an interview. I cringed for the poor victim as she fumbled her way through answering idiotic questions.
And I cringed at ever having to do a job interview again. The bullshit questions. The bullshit answers. I wanted to run over to the victim hunched in her chair and say, “It does get better than this!” and drag her off to give her a free lesson in proper bullshitting.
You see, I’m the queen of bullshit–and I was a serial job hunter once. I loved to interview and get the job. Hated to take it. The rush was in the winning–and the winning over of the folks who hired me even though I had no direct experience in many of the jobs I took on (I won 99% of the time).
I’ve had dozens of jobs in my lifetime. Some, as short as a few hours or a day.
I’ve worked for multiple organizations in:
Government (U.S. Navy photographer for Fleet Intelligence in Pearl Harbor, but I didn’t like that whole authority thing).
Education (I was a full time H.S English Teacher for one week. Scary.)
Manufacturing (For a company that developed drug and explosive detectors. There is cocaine on every dollar bill you touch.)
Advertising (No explanation needed. Biggest bullshit there is).
Healthcare Communications (The era of big-money 1990s when the CEO flew in on a helicopter daily, bands played at our lobster lunches, and our cars were serviced on site)
Hospitality/restaurant (I trained for Olive Garden for a week, ate all their food and then quit with my first customer–those trays are damn heavy and slippery) and hotel (a maid one summer. At 18 the best tips were beer.)
Computer (Backing up giant reels of tape in a room with computers bigger than a Frigidaire. Remember those days?)
You name it. I bullshit my way into it.
I even had my own resume writing business for a while which I loved. It was a great feeling helping people in down-times find a job. I found out that while I didn’t enjoy sales, I could sure sell myself because my business WAS myself.
I left an employer and convinced them to take me back two weeks later after trying out two other jobs. I’ve accepted a job, turned it down, and called them back to convince them that I really did want the job and to take me on. They did. I quit a week a later. (I’m not always proud of my serial job tactics, but I swear no one ever got physically hurt because of it).
Whackiest job? Working for a high-end fabric care business. I targeted neighborhoods and ran from door to door dropping off dry cleaning montauk-monster.com/pharmacy/levitra bags for folks to try out their service. I got paid per each new client. I was chased by dogs, nearly run over, cursed at, and shot at with high-powered water guns by obnoxious kids.
Most stressful job? Being a weekend nanny for a crazy lady who had cameras all over the house and watched me on multiple screens from her spy room. Every minute of my 10-hour day was scheduled with juggling events between her toddler and baby. 12:02 lunch. 1:28 bath. 2:05 nap.
If I fell behind, my trainer stood by me with the stop watch telling me to hurry. I had to record everything they ate and drank down to the ounce. I had to wipe every drop of water up after their baths (and it was inspected). I did three loads of laundry a day per child as I had to change their clothes after each meal. I had to use a fresh paper towel to touch anything in the kitchen. The children were only allowed in two rooms of the house and not allowed to touch anything in their bedrooms. I lasted three weekends at this job. Can you blame me?
My last job interview as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency was 6 years ago, and they offered me the job on the spot. As a settled mother and wife now it allows me the flexibility to work at home, change my hours, and even bring my son to work.
Plus, even when the job is dull (sorry, boss-lady) the folks I work with are great fun and the place I work at is like The Office on crack. Most important, it lets me do the job I now love–being a novelist.
Novelist. The ultimate bullshit job.
Yep. The job I’ve been bullshitting my way towards and didn’t even know it. The job for where all my other jobs become fiction fodder – like Ben in my suspense novel, A Human Element. He is a Navy photographer stationed in Hawaii (like I was) and gets himself in a bit of trouble there in one night of terror at the Pali lookout in the Koolau Mountains. Not that I ever got into trouble there **snicker**.
So I’ll keep writing books for now and freelancing and hope that I don’t have to interview for a job ever again because my real-life bullshit is in dire need of polishing.
Have you ever gotten what you wanted by being a great bullshitter?
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sherry fundin says
I enjoyed the fun post. Glad you found your niche.
sherry @ fundinmental
Sherry, thanks! Yes, it took many years but glad at least I did – I know some folks aren’t as lucky. Hope you are!
Fun post, Donna. Maybe there’s a book there. Like The Serial Entrepreneur (Gulati) or Nickel and Dimed (Ehrenreich) — only comical. I thought I was bad changing jobs every two years over the course of two decades. Once I discovered I could write for a living I hired myself and stayed put.
Jeanette, how wonderful you found your niche too! A job every 2 years isnt to bad- my dad ground in me that to keep moving up in your career that you must move on ever 4 years. He made the mistake of staying 9 years at his last job and that was when he was let go right before early retirement. Funny on the 2 year thing – as that is when I get itchy and want to move residences again. I call it the 2-year itch and it’s hard to make it go away! I was not meant to live in one place I guess. Maybe because my parents moved us 9 times by the time I was 9! From the US to the UK and back again. So I usually stay in one place until I can’t take it anymore – and then uproot. 🙂
So funny! I can relate to your post, though I don’t have such a wide array of jobs. The last “real” corporate job I got was a total bullshit win, but it was a horrible job and I think both me and my boss regretted it. Afterwards, I stuck to temp jobs and part-time work, and now I’m a mom and a writer, attempting to bullshit my way through both, much of the time 🙂
Dana, thanks for stopping by! I had the same sort of journey as you it seems. I hope you enjoy being a mom and a writer – it is a balance still!
Catherine "Kitsy" Stine says
Very funny post. I’ve had some very bizarre jobs, too. For instance, I was a foreman in a solar heated swimming pool cover factory! Your nanny experience for a paranoid mom sounds really edgy.
Catherine, how in the world did you dive into that job? Ha ha, couldnt resist the pun!