Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Many Roads to 'No'

No one will ever confuse me with Leif Erickson or Juan Pizzaro. Not Vasco da Gama, Hernan Cortes or Christopher Columbus. And yet I too have discovered something. A place only rumored to exist. I have discovered hell.

How else to feel with days that begin like this?

La Piazza Gancio,

Thank you for your interest in ____'s Department Stores. We appreciate the time you took to consider us for employment at our store locations.

We have given your background and qualifications careful consideration in relation to the opportunity for which you've expressed interest and have determined that we are unable to match your qualifications to a position at this time. We would encourage you to continue to check for future opportunities.

Thank you again for your interest in ____'s and please accept our best wishes for success in your future career endeavors.

Best Regards,

Human Resources

At least it didn’t open with ‘Dear’.

It is unclear exactly what aspect of my background renders me ineligible for even seasonal, part-time employment. Yet knowing the Van Halen-like heights (remember no brown M&Ms?) corporate fickleness has reached, I am likely better off in the darkness of my ignorance.

But as an occasionally-sentient being, questions persist.

I smile. I make eye contact. I speak in concise, direct sentences that answer the interviewer’s questions. I am nicely dressed. I am enthusiastic. I sit up straight, don’t fidget and even made everyone at a recent group interview belly laugh—twice. I am sober.

You read this blog—do I not ooze personality? Does charisma not spill from me like filling from a buttery, cinnamon-laced apple pie?

What’s not to like? Isn’t my pixie dust sparkly-enough?

How can prospective employers fail to see how I could lighten a customer’s mood, especially when said customer discovers half the items they’re shopping for are either out of stock, the wrong size, style or color? At 11:30 PM on a weeknight with just three shopping days left until Christmas?

I would be a two-legged Mai Tai. A warm mug of spiced cider. A pungent glass of Pinot Noir. No tipping required.

Perhaps I've been branded a flight risk. Since the majority of my employment has (thankfully) been for wages higher than what seasonal positions offer, this means I will vacate the position at first opportunity—as if there were any.

Then there is my college degree, which conveniently confirms to any would-be employer that I will be bored. This somehow differentiates me from the sullen, texting palm zombies already hired.

Bail is set at extended unemployment

Could it be that I fail to sufficiently impress the young women I am invariably interviewed by?

When asked why I want to work at the ________ store, perhaps I don’t become starry-eyed enough as I relate how working from midnight to eight AM the day after Thanksgiving for what can’t even be described as a living wage has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy.

Which presents yet-another another problem: I have a penis.

This provokes in me the unsettling feeling that to these women, drunk on some vague notion of girl-power, that I am their enemy. Middle-aged white guys stand in the way of everything they want to be, and always have. Isn't this their chance for payback?

Just for a change, I’d like to receive a wan smile, a limp handshake and the complete avoidance of eye contact from a middle-aged white guy after an interview.

But the hideousness doesn’t end there.

That would be when friends, acquaintances and overheard conversations confirm that many of those deemed fit for seasonal slavery don’t even show up for their first day on the job, nor possess the integrity to even call employer number-one and inform them that they have accepted employment with employer number-two.

Were circumstances not so bleak, I would laugh and spit that these corporate shitheads get exactly what they deserve.

But money is oxygen, and I am suffocating.

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