Monday, August 26, 2013

Taking Stock of My Situation

Recently I've entered the world of the unemployed. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I've apparently missed the orientation session.

When one is unemployed, the prospect of more free time than one could possibly know what to do with pops up in ways much less exciting than, say, loading up the car and motoring over to Myrtle Beach for four hundred dollar per day fun in the sun. In fact, vacation has been redefined as sitting on someone else's front porch.

With all of this free time having descended on me like those vampire-looking beings in Van Helsing, I've discovered new-found motivation to find work. Besides, one can only wash and Armor-All one's car so many times before the guy who runs the car wash chases you off.

It was with such motivation in mind that I sought local employment. Interestingly, an increasing number of employers prefer to accept applications online. That general concept is fine with me; the gas and time I save allow me to complete that many more applications and increase my chances for employment. Great idea, right? I thought so, too. In fact, I filled out so many of them the other day that I wondered if I was in training to work at the Library of Congress. Things were clicking. Apps were submitted. Cheese crackers were eaten while I sat around in my shorts.

(Warning: gratuitous cliché follows) And then it happened. Filling out an online form for stocking goods at a supermarket introduced me to some long-lost frustration and a near-manic episode. Having answered whether or not I served in the armed forces, where I worked most recently, and whom to contact in case nine thousand cans of cling peaches fall on me, I was ready to advance to the next round of questions.

I love the questions. I majored in psychology, so I knew that they were looking for temperament and consistency of responses. I think I was asked, three times, whether or not I ever get mad at people. I was faced with a dilemma. If I answered yes, then could that mean that I have temper issues and might therefore be denied the job? On the other hand, if I answer no, would that indicate I'm someone who lies? Pretty in-depth stuff for someone who only wants to be productive while ducking cling peaches.

The entire application process exceeded twenty pages. I can recall a time when a job application was one page and all they wanted to know was whether of not you minded scrubbing dried cheese off of plates. Nowadays employers seem more interested in an entire forensic psychological profile of a guy who wants to work in Aisle Seven. Well, agreeing that my input was "true and complete to the best of (my) knowledge", I signed with the last four of my social security number and clicked the "submit" button.

To my horror, staring back at me was a muted blue/gray page informing me that "the web page cannot be displayed". This was disturbing, because I had spent fifteen minutes making sure that everything was, in fact, "true and complete". Fifteen minutes isn't anything unless you've wasted them on a time-saving activity. It turns out that clicking on the back button introduced me to "the web page has expired".

I believe that was the moment immediately following the impromptu discovery of books and aerodynamics.

And so I sit in front of this screen, still seething lightly, and plotting my next foray into the working world. I hope I have enough energy when I find another job.

Taking stock of my life, I believe that my productivity can be displayed, and I promise that it won't expire anytime soon.