Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why is there air?

posted Wed, 13 Sep 2006

I go to an interview yesterday. It’s for a temp job, which is weird. Who has to interview for a temp job? But it’s temp to perm, so maybe that’s it. I’m not interested in the perm part. I want more than $13 an hour for a perm job, but I’ll take it for a temp job.

The first question the guy – let’s call him “Zack” (one of the noms du jour – have you noticed everyone and her dog is naming her son “Zack” these days?) – the first question Zack asks me is, “Why are you here?”

I don’t think it’s an existential, “Why are you here?” as in, “What is the meaning of life?” sort of thing. It’s a more literal, “Why are you sitting in that chair across from me interviewing for this job?” But he’s not hostile, either, the way the dykey chick who asked me essentially the same question was at the interview I had in June . You know – the one wearing the shoulder pads, the wide belt and the clunky shoes who disliked me on sight and whom I disliked right back. Lipstick lesbians I don’t mind. But butchy ones rub me the wrong way, especially if they are hostile to me. Honey, you’re the one who’s dressing ugly on purpose, OK? I didn’t pull those clothes out of your closet, put a gun to your head and make you wear them.

Along those lines – did anyone else notice that when American Express ran that lesbian couple in their ad campaign last winter, they picked gorgeous, beautifully-dressed women instead of the traditional Dockers-clad, wallet in the back pocket, no bra, no makeup, plaid flannel shirt wearing, mullet haired lesbians I am so accustomed to from UT’s West Campus? Maybe styles have changed. Maybe lesbians have a new fashion ethos and now they all look like the women in “Sex and the City.”

I don’t know. I don’t get out much. And yes, yes, yes, I know I am stereotyping. But I found this interesting. Any lesbian readers, please enlighten me. I thought part of the whole lesbian culture was to reject the values of the patriarchy, one of those values being traditional feminine beauty.

Back to the interview with Zack. He looks at me and asks, “Why are you here?” In retrospect, I realize the inflection was on the “you,” but at the time, I didn’t pick up on it. I think the question is odd and the answer is DUH, OBVIOUS!

I look back at him and think, “What a stupid question!” But I try to keep a neutral expression as I say, “Because I want a job [duh!]”

“What do you know about the job?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I answer.

“Nothing?” he replies.

“Nope,” I say. “Kelly told me to come here so I did.” It’s a temp job, for crying out loud. How much do you ask about something where you are probably going to be 1) typing and 2) answering the phone?

“They just tell you to go somewhere and you go?” He is still skeptical. What is so hard for him to understand about this? Has he never been unemployed, bored and broke? You offer to give me money for spending eight hours a day at your legal, legitimate place of business doing menial work and I will do it. It’s an easy concept.

We finally move past why I am here and talk about more substantial stuff. He tells me about some really cool process improvement work he is doing – mapping all the as-is processes in customer service so he can figure out how to improve them, maybe put order status on the web so customers can look up their repair status online rather than calling on the phone, etc, etc. Neat! I would love to do that project!

Then he asks if I am interested in the customer service job.

“Sure, as a temp job.”


“Well, yeah. Kelly told me this is a temp job. I want a temp job while I look for fulltime work.”

“But this is a permanent job.”

“Oh. Well. Umm. I’m sorry. I thought this was a temp job. I’m looking for something a little more – challenging [and high paying] – for permanent work. But I’d love to do the process improvement project you’re talking about.”

He leans back in his chair. “That explains it. I couldn’t figure out why someone with your resume would be interested in the customer service job.”

I guess I could have lied, taken the job, then quit when I got another one. I am never a fast thinker when I need to be. Rats.

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