Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ladies' Guide to the Sand Landian Job Interview

Dear Ms. Adventures,

I have been searching for a job in Sand Land for several months. At first, no one was showing interest in my CV. But then I used your Sand Land CV guide to spiff up my CV and I am finally getting called for some interviews.

But I'm still not able to land a job! I research the company ahead of time so I will be well prepared. I arrange for a babysitter to watch my children while I attend the interview. I arrive at the interview 15 minutes early. I give good answers to the interviewer's questions. What gives??

Jobless Gal in Sand Town


I could not help but chuckle as I considered your plight. Perhaps you are doing everything right by the standards back home. But honey, you're not in Kansas anymore! Many of the behaviors you've described may signify "excellent candidate" back home, but in Sand Land they scream "pathetic, douchey loser." But don't fret, gentle reader, if you follow these simple steps, you'll have employers wrapped around your little finger:

Everything about this picture is wrong.

Step #1: Cancel that babysitter!

In Sand Land, when a lady attends a job interview, it is expected that her children will accompany her. Consider them an accessory as essential as your CV. If you do not currently possess children of your own, borrow or kidnap someone else's.

You should plan to bring a minimum of three children under the age of 10 to the interview. One of the children must be an "Unweaned Bipedal", which is to say that it should be old enough to walk upright, but...umm...not yet eating solid foods. Consider the other 2+ children "Wildcards" who can be of any developmental stage. Both categories of children have essential roles to play at the interview.

Step #2: Tell your husband to clear his schedule.

Much like children, a husband is an essential accessory at any woman's job interview. If you are not married, you will need to hire someone to pose as your spouse at the job interview. Be sure that your husband or the hired actor is capable of assuming an air of belligerence and machismo at the interview.

Consider the "Unweaned Bipedal/2+ Wildcards/Husband" ensemble as the bare minimum necessary to conform to Sand Landian job interview etiquette. You can always go the extra mile and invite parents, siblings and any house guests who may be staying with you at the time of the interview.

Step #3: Care and feeding of children prior to the interview.

All Wildcards you are planning to bring to the interview should be placed on a diet of processed carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup and added sugar for a minimum of 48 hours prior to the interview. The children should also be kept indoors and deprived of TV and favorite toys so they will be in "peak interview form" - an emotional state characterized by pent-up energy and extreme agitation.

Step #4: Getting yourself ready for the interview.

In job interviews back home, you may have tried to demonstrate that you were eager to get the job and enthusiastic to contribute to the organization's goals. But this type of Eager Beaver attitude gets no love in Sand Land. Rather, you'll need to project a "you'd be damned lucky to have me on whatever terms I and any member of my interview ensemble demand" attitude.

To convey this mindset, consciously avoid all information related to the company with which you're interviewing and its industry. You should also be prepared to give the impression that you have little to no clue about what the prospective job entails. And try your best to remain ignorant of the company's physical location.

Step #5: Prepare and pack large quantities of food.

Your interview will probably last all of 15 minutes and during that time your entourage could become ravenously hungry. Tantalizing "interview entourage picnics" that I've come across in the past have included aromatic ingredients like raw onions, canned fish and BBQ potato chips.

Step #6: Leave your house at the time your interview is schedule to start

A major, deal-breaking faux pas in Sand Land is showing up to the interview early or on-time. Never do this! You'll look like an over-eager chump. From the Sand Land employer's point of view, late = aloof = hard to get = awesome employee.

Once you are in the car, have your husband drive about aimlessly as you call the company and ask for directions to the interview site.

Step #7: Take over the waiting area

When you finally arrive at the interview site, you and your entourage must launch a coordinated banzai-style attack on the waiting area. Think of the lobby as Guadalcanal and your crew as the Imperial Army.

Instruct your children beforehand that they will be rewarded with Baskin-Robbins if they succeed in digging up all of the lobby's potted plants with their bare hands. While they are doing this, your husband should pester the reception staff to change the TV channel and crank up the volume. Your objective is to bring the company's operations to a grinding halt so everyone sits up and takes notice of the awesomeness that is you.

Step #8: Meet the interviewer

When you are called to the interviewer's room, be sure to bring your whole crew. The children should dart into the room and begin playing with the interview's office supplies, paper weights, mobile phone, etc. Your husband should munch on the BBQ chips while demanding to know the salary you will be paid, he should then warn the interviewer that you can't work later than 2:00 p.m. When the interviewer asks your husband and children to wait outside, express extreme annoyance.

Step #9: Ask not what you can do for the company, but what the company can do for you.

Answer the interviewer's questions in a confused and distracted manner. The interview should be a tit-for-tat game wherein you attempt to ask more questions than the interviewer. All of your questions should be asked in a manner that assumes you have already been offered the job:

Interviewer: How many words can you type per minute?

You: Typing? Uh, yeah. I can type. How much annual leave are you giving me?

Interviewer: 30 days. How much experience do you have answering phones?

You: Ummm, I can use phones. Are you going to give me 45 days' leave next year? What about air tickets?

Step #10: Shit fits.

90 seconds into the interview, your husband should give the go ahead for the 2+ Wildcards to run into the interviewer's office and begin throwing full blown shit fits. Each Wildcard should throw a shit fit that is completely unrelated to the other Wildcards' shit fits. For example, one Wildcard could scream about how they want to leave while the other Wildcard rolls about on the floor demanding a juice box.

Step #11: Deploy the Unweaned Bipedal.

In the midst of the Wildcards' shit fits, the Unweaned Bipedal should scamper into the room, jump into your lap and attempt to climb up your shirt.

The interviewer will be amazed at how your cool, collected self manages the chaos. They will sit back, watch the situation and think to themself: "Hot diggity dang! Look how Superwoman wrangles them kids! No assignment we'd throw at her could ever come close to the technical difficulty of simultaneously placating those Wildcards and juggling that Unweaned Bipedal."

Before the interviewer can stop themself, they'll blurt out "Hired! We'll give you whatever you want!"

Happy Job Hunting!

Ms. Adventures

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What to do when work gets you down? FAIL Break!

Over the past few months, I've chronicled some of the funny, frustrating and inane happenings that typify the Sand Landian work environment - or at least my Sand Landian work environment. But let's face it, all workplaces, regardless of geographic location, can be crazy, stressful and/or bizarre at times. In the obnoxious wise words of Mr. Adventures, "That's why it's called "work" not "fun!"

People often ask me: "What do you do when you just can't take it anymore?"

To which I respond: "Dissolve a few xanax in my nightly vodka and chase it with a shot of Cuervo gold. Problem(s) solved!"

No, just kidding, I really don't do least, not the xanax part...most nights...

In all seriousness, when I find myself getting overly dismayed or stressed out by Fuckwittery, Inc's whackness, this is what I generally do:

1. Close my door.
2. Go to YouTube
3. Type "FAIL" in the search box
4. Select a video. (This is my current favorite.)
5. Spend 4 or 5 minutes laughing as random people do shit that's waaay stupid, even by Fuckwittery, Inc. standards. And if you've read even a couple of my posts, you know that's saying something.
6. Mentally compare my coworkers to the protagonists of the FAIL video I just watched:

Me: Self, it really sucks that your administrative assistant, who spent two years in "secretarial university," takes 85,000 years to transcribe a single letter because she types using only her index fingers.

Me: Yeah, that's totally lame. But, you know, at least she hasn't done something really lame like attempt to roller skate off of the roof like that tool at 3:58 in the video you just watched."

Me: Yeah, that really puts it all into perspective. I feel better now, back to the grindstone!

Now, if I'm having a really, really bad day, FAIL videos just aren't going to cut it. Let's say, hypothetically (wink wink), I just discovered our accounting clerks spent the last couple days delivering 100+ invoices to the wrong companies and I'm seriously contemplating ending it all by roller skating off the roof. Well, then I'd watch this video five or six times:

So that's basically how I keep myself from losing it. If not for my occasional video breaks, I'd probably be just another unemployed bi-winning warlock banging seven gram rocks...that is, if they even have seven gram rocks in Sand Land.

What do you fellow employees of Sand Land do?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"I'm the branch manager, is it not my right to use this office as a church?"

My company has a few branches scattered across Sand Land. I spend most of my time at our headquarters in Sand Town but every month, I try to set aside a few days to travel to our remote locations and check up on things. To the extent possible, I try to keep both the date of my travel and the branches to be visited under wraps. Like a field anthropologist, my goal is to drop in quietly and unannounced so that I can bear witness to the real deal - not some hastily cleaned-up fallacy that the employees would treat me to if they had advance warning.

After making the rounds to our larger branches, I set out one morning to visit the remotest, most neglected of our outposts - the "Bumblefuck Branch." The Bumblefuck Branch is located in the middle of nowhere, consists of only four employees and is basically the redheaded stepchild of Fuckwittery, Inc. In fact, at the time I joined the company, no one even clued me in to the Bumblefuck gang's existence. I came to know about them after a few days on the job when some dude going by the name of "The Reverend Jedidiah" and claiming to be the Bumblefuck Branch manager emailed faxed me a handwritten annual leave request.

I asked around about the Bumblefuck Branch and none of the headquarters employees seemed to have much of a clue about what was going on out there. At the time, I had my hands full trying to get the headquarters and the main branches organized, so in lieu of traveling to Bumblefuck I invited Rev. Jedidiah to meet with me at the headquarters in Sand Town.

Rev. Jedidiah was an intense guy. I never figured out if he was a formally trained theologian or if he'd simply bestowed the title upon himself - my money's on the latter. The first time I met him, he was wearing a black blazer, a navy shirt buttoned all the way to the top and a clunky wooden crucifix in place of a tie. He strode into my office with a briefcase in one hand and a tattered Billy Graham book in another. I knew instantly I had to make time to check out the Bumblefuck Branch - fast!

So the next week, I hopped in my car and set out for the middle of nowhere. As the quaint little town consisted of a single intersection, it wasn't hard to locate the Bumblefuck Branch's sign. I got out of the car and walked to the door that was directly beneath the sign. I pushed the door open and a cloud of incense wafted into my face. Hymns blared from tinny computer speakers and clusters of religious icons and statues sat in each corner.

"Oh crap, how stupid am I?" I thought to myself. "I walked into some church instead of the Bumblefuck Branch."

I walked back outside and glanced up at the sign, trying to figure out where the entrance to my company's branch could be. "Oh come on, you moron," I thought after a couple seconds. "That was totally Rev. Jedidiah's decorating."

I walked back into the deserted office. "Hello?" I called.

A perplexed Sand Landian lady came out. I introduced myself and established that this was in fact the Bumblefuck Branch.

"Where's Jedidiah?" I asked.

"He's in a meeting," the lady said, glancing back toward his office.

"Ok, I'll wait here until he's finished," I said.

I plopped down on one of the ratty seafoam green sofas and took in my surroundings. Bible verses printed on a dot matrix printer in all caps lined the walls. Mixed in with the standard regulation "God loves you" and "Everything through Christ" quotes were alot of "Thou shalt not do this" and "Thou shalt not do that" and even the odd verse from Leviticus exhorting you not to do random, freaky stuff you never would have dreamt up unless you'd read in Leviticus that you were banned from doing it. Seriously! There was a verse instructing believers to "detest flying, four-legged insects"...WTF?? Do four-legged insects even exist? And what abomination did the Bumblefuck gang commit with these non-existent insects that compelled Jedidah to paste that verse to the wall? Ok, sorry, I'm getting way off track...moving on...

After reading all the dot matrix Bible verses and checking my email, Jedidiah's meeting still showed no signs of wrapping up.

"Who is Jedidiah meeting with?" I asked the receptionist.

She looked instantly uncomfortable. "Umm...his friends?" she speculated sheepishly.

"Friends?" I said. "This meeting's not about work?"

She bit her lower lip. "No," she whispered, shaking her head.

I jumped up and knocked on Jedidiah's door. When he opened it, I saw that there were three other men in his office. All dressed exactly like Jedidiah: black blazer, navy blue buttoned-all-the-way-up shirt and clunky wooden crucifix in place of a tie. Apparently, this was some kind of uniform.

"Hey Jedidiah, how's it going?" I asked

"Reverend, Madam. It's Reverend Jedidiah." he replied, clearly annoyed that I'd busted in on his meeting.

"Excuse me, Reverend. Are these some of our local clients?" I asked, motioning to his three clones.

"No, madam. They are not," he scoffed. "They are my deacons," he explained proudly.

"Got it," I nodded "What are your deacons doing here during working hours?"

"Planning tonight's prayer meeting, madam."


"Yes, madam," he said, sounding irritated. "You are welcome to join us if you like. It will start at 5:00."

"It's starts here? In this office?"

"Yes, madam" he said in a sing-song voice as if I'd just ask the stupidest question on earth.

"Alright, deacons: can you all clear out of here and let me speak privately with Rev. Jedidiah?" I said, motioning toward the lobby.

The deacons shuffled out one-by-one and shot me the evil eye. I closed the door and turned to Jedidah.

"Look, Rev. Jedidiah," I said. "All of this has to stop. You cannot decorate the office with religious iconography and hold religious gatherings on the premises."

Rev. Jedidiah stared at me speechless. So I just kept going.

"All of these decorations have to come down now. The hymns have to be turned off and you have to do your work."

"What do you think I'm doing here, madam?" he asked slowly, his eyes narrowing. "Are you telling me saving souls isn't work?"

"Um, it's not the work I'm paying you to do. So you'll have to confine the soul saving to your free time. I'm quite honestly shocked that you think what you're doing here is appropriate."

"Excuse me, madam. I'm sorry you're surprised. But let me ask you this: I'm the branch manager. Are you telling me it's not my right to use this office as a church? I'll have you know that at every single meeting, we pray for the prosperity of this business.We have even prayed for you," he said, pointing at me like I was a total ingrate.

"That's very kind of you, but even so, it's definitely not your right to turn the place into a church."

"Madam, at my next prayer meeting I'm going to pray very long and very hard for you. I'm going to pray for you to realize that you are being manipulated by satan. You are being used by him to stop my work."

"Ok, Rev. Jedidah. As long as that prayer meeting isn't taking place in this office, you go right ahead and do that. Now let's get to work taking down all those statues and Bible verses."

For a moment, I thought Rev. Jedidah's head would rotate 360 degrees. He looked like he was about to fly across the table and choke the devil out of me. But he collected himself and calmly tendered his resignation. At the time, I was alittle surprised at how readily he walked away from his job.

He skipped town a few days later before the end of his notice period, leaving his deacons like sheep without a shepherd. In the weeks following his departure, we were contacted by one person after another who had lent Rev. Jedidah funds for his ecclesiastical pursuits. The good Reverend had stiffed them all. On a happy note, the employees who had the misfortune of working under him are now holding down the Bumblefuck Branch rather nicely.