Monday, January 10, 2011

The Door-to-Door Job Hunt

In the U.S., we often say that someone who is looking for a job is "pounding the pavement." It's a figure of speech implying that the job seeker is scouring vacancy ads, networking and diligently sending out their resume day after day.  The expression doesn't imply that the job seeker is literally running around on the street accosting prospective employers.

But for many Sand Landian job hunters, "pounding the pavement" is a literal endeavor. Rather than (or perhaps, in addition to) responding to job advertisements, legions of people in Sand Land go door-to-door Jehovah's Witness-style in search of suitable employment. In the U.S., this tactic would at best earn you a misdemeanor trespassing conviction and, at worst, it could land you in Jeffrey Dahmer's freezer. But in Sand Land, going door-to-door is apparently a completely acceptable job hunting tactic, as evidenced by the fact that everyone here with a job has stories about wacko walk-ins.

As best I can tell, most walk-ins start at the beginning of the street and go methodically from one commercial enterprise to the next. As I've driven off to appointments, I've seen walk-ins I've turned away going into the other offices, fast food joints and stores that line Fuckwittery, Inc.'s street. Most walk-ins haven't the vaguest notion about what Fuckwittery, Inc. does. And quite frankly, they couldn't give a damn. They have two questions and two questions only: "Will you give me a job?" and "How much will you pay me for this hypothetical, unspecified job?"

When I first started at Fuckwittery, Inc., I got at least 3 walk-ins a week. Despite repeated instructions to the reception desk that all walk-ins should be turned away, many of them would somehow finagle their way into my office. They were genuinely offended when I declined to drop everything and interview them on the spot. A couple even threatened to complain to the government.

In an effort reduce time-wasting confrontations with walk-ins, I created a 13-page front and back "application" one night after I'd had a few dirty martinis. In addition to the usual personal data and experience questions, the walk-in application is riddled with dozens of open-ended, wackadoodle new-agey questions like:

  • "What's your favorite color and what do you believe it reveals about your true nature?"
  • "Have you uncovered your personal truth? If so, what is it?"
  • "Which element are you ruled by: earth, wind, water or fire?"
  • "If given the choice, would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? List three reasons for your choice (in complete sentences)."

I keep a few applications handy in my drawer and when confronted with a walk-in, I smile brightly, shake their hand and ask them to complete the application and return it to me if they wish to be considered for a position. 98% of walk-ins glaze over as they flip through the application and they quickly scuttle off to the furniture store next door.

A few weeks ago, one of the receptionists came to my office to say there was a walk-in that they couldn't get rid of. I handed her a copy of the application and told her to have him fill it out, thinking it would make him run away. An hour and fifteen minutes later she was back in my office with the walk-in following closely behind.

"He completed the application," she said.

"Oh, ok," I said, raising my eyebrows as I took the application from her.

"Excuse me, madam. I'm looking for a job. I'm a mechatronist," he called from the doorway.

My ears instantly perked up. "A...mechatronist?" I asked, tilting my head to the side. My nerdy side and my snarky-evil side were mutually intrigued.

"Yes," he said, nodding purposefully. "I am a trained and professional experienced mechatronist."

"Well then, have a seat. So, tell me, what is a mechatronist?"

"It is a person who is knowledgeable in the discipline of mechatronics."

"Fair enough" I said, nodding my head. "And what is mechatronics?"

"Mechatronics is a cross-subject," he patiently explained. "It is 30% mechanical engineering, 30% robotics and 30% computing."

"What's the last 10%?"

"Um...thinking," he said, looking to the side.

"Sure, take your time," I said.

"No. Thinking is the final 10% of the mechatronics cross-subject," he said, correcting me.

"Oh, I see," I said. "So what does a mechatronist do?"

"We build robots that think."

"Wow! You can build robots? That think? All by yourself?" I asked incredulously.

"Some robots," he replied, nodding confidently.

"So what kind of job are you looking for? I mean, we don't build robots - thinking or otherwise. So I'm not sure what you'd do here."

"I would like a job in marketing or computer programming or business administration," he replied.

"Why? Why would you settle for that when you can build robots?" I asked. "Do you just need alittle pocket money while you build your evil robot army and prepare to launch inter-galactic warfare, Lord Xenu?" I thought to myself.

"My diploma is in business administration, so I want to go for that," he explained.

"I thought you said you were a "mechatronist"? Don't you have to have a degree in mechatronics to be a mechatronist? Or are you self-taught?"

"No," he explained. "I attended a seminar for mechatronics. But my degree is for business administration."

"Oh. How long was the seminar?" I asked.

"Two and a half days," he said, smiling confidently.

"I'll give you a call if we have any openings," I said standing up to usher him out.

(And for those of you who are curious, Mr. Mechatronist elected to be a vampire because he "doesn't like wofs." Suck on that, Team Jacob!)


  1. Excellent idea, would you mind providing an electronic copy of the application? A scrubbed, text-only version will do if you wish to maintain privacy.

    Would greatly help with instantly shutting down (or mentally short-circuiting) 99% of the "fuckwits" who walk through our doors on a daily basis. Our reception staff (considering they are only the highest percentile of the same category) just can't seem to say "no" to them.

  2. You are so awesome. I love it. I think that was an excellent solution. 13 page application. Heh.

  3. Unfortunatly I'm the only one who can be seen from the reception (we don't have a receptionist) so if I dont spot the walk-in in time then they come right to my desk. Im normally sat there with technical manuals piled up so how they think that Im in HR is beyond me.

    "I want job, I am specialist in sales" says them,
    "We are an engineering firm, we don't do sales" Says I,
    "Mafi Muscula, can I still have job?"

  4. Ciba: Yes, I'm going to post the text of the walk-in application. Hope it helps with Operation Shortcircuit.

    Suzanne, thanks so much. That is a big compliment coming from HR lady...and hope you enjoyed your trip to the Gulf!

    Shipman, I feel your pain. Perhaps the walk-in application I'm going to post (or some version of it)will help you with your plight.

  5. This is very nice! I hope they will do this.

  6. While searching tips for d-t-d hunting I came upon this. Very discouraging. Suggestions please on getting foot in door then if d-t-d appears to be so loathed. You're take would be appreciated.

  7. Anon, I'd concentrate on local classified ads and networking with job holders that you know. Maybe if you have specialized qualifications, you could approach companies directly, but I'd make sure to have have a clear, articulate explanation for why you're seeking employment with them specifically. General door-to-door gladhanding probably won't be much appreciated or worth your time. Good luck.