Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blown Job

The question I'm most often asked is "How did you end up in Human Resources?"

Hold on. That's not quite true. Its probably the third most frequently asked question, right behind "You don't honestly believe that I'd consider going out with you, do you?" and "Are you going to leave me alone or do I have to call the police?"

Erm...now that I think about it, those are more rhetorical questions than actual ones, so forget what I just said. I was right the first time.

Anywho, now that we've gotten that squared away let's get back to our original point. Which was...um...give me a second while I scroll up... oh, that's right - how I wound up in Human Resources.

I'm afraid that's a long and not very interesting story - which, of course, makes it perfect for this blog.

When I was in my early twenties, I set off to conquer the job market. Being full of piss and vinegar,1 as young lads are wont to be, I wanted to work in a job that made a difference and to do something that would make the world a better place. With no concrete ideas and no job hunting experience I did what every person seeking employment does - I wrote up a little cardboard sign and sat on the corner begging passersby for career advice.

One cold winter day, a passing recruiter took pity on me. She wrapped her coat around me, walked me to her office, gave me a hot meal, and counseled me for several hours - if you know what I mean.2 Finally, we hit upon what seemed to be the perfect career for me. Working feverishly, we cobbled together a resume and faxed it off to several potential employers. By the end of the day we'd set up my very first interview.

The morning of the interview, I skipped breakfast3 out of concern that a full stomach would hinder the success of my plan. I strolled out of my apartment at around noon, dressed in my best suit and headed in the direction of my prospective employer. Once I'd located the building, I scouted around the area and found the nearest bar. I wandered in, ordered a shot and a beer and told the bartender to keep them coming every ten minutes.

About a half-hour before my interview, I arose from my perch and stumbled towards the door. After several failed attempts, I succeeded in exiting. As I made my way unsteadily down the street, I noticed that it had begun pitching and rolling at some point during my time at the bar. In marked contrast to my fellow pedestrians, I found myself being thrown off-balance with alarming regularity.

The treacherous walk ended with my arrival at the building. After a brief misunderstanding with the security officers at the front desk (I'd remembered who I was there to meet, but I'd forgotten my own name), I was allowed to proceed upstairs. Leaning on the door for balance, I nearly tumbled out of the elevator when I arrived at my floor. I was met by a perky receptionist who escorted me to the office of a Ms. Hayman, the director of the foundation. Ms. Hayman stood up from her desk and offered her hand. With one eye closed and my tongue stuck out in concentration, I reached for it. A few near misses later, I was finally able to grab it and shake hands with her.

Introductions completed, I plopped into the seat across from her desk, hiccupped, and gave her my best smile. She looked at me quizzically, then put on a pair of reading glasses and reviewed my resume.

"Thank you for taking the time to come in to discuss our opening. Let's begin by discussing the job duties..."

I giggled.

She looked over her glasses at me.

"Is something funny?"

That pushed me over the edge. Collapsing in peals of laughter, I was barely able to choke out my response.

"You said doody"

She stood and walked around her desk to get a closer look at me.

"My God!" she exclaimed stepping back. "You're inebriated, aren't you?"

"Yep!" I replied. I sat back and made myself comfortable while I waited for her to praise my dedication and willingness to go that extra mile to show that I was the right man for the job.

"Do you realize how inappropriate that is - especially considering the position you've applied for?"

Wait a minute, I'm confused. I thought to myself

"Wait a minute. I'm confused" I said

"You're confused?" she asked incredulously. "I can't understand what you're confused about. Do you honestly think that we hire a Drug and Alcohol Counselor who showed up for an interview in your condition?"

"Huh? Drug and Alcohol Couns.....I thought you were looking for a Drunken Alcohol Counselor."

The interview ended about thirty seconds later when security arrived to escort me out.

Fortunately, a few months later, I found a job that allowed me to both help people and drink regularly - and that's how I wound up in Human Resources.

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1 It turns out I wasn't full of piss and vinegar. The burning sensation I felt during urination was due to something completely different, but that's another story for another day.

2 When I say she "counseled me" I mean that I took a Career Interest Inventory, a Personality Inventory, a Values Inventory, and a Skills Inventory. Afterwards we walked through several decision making tools designed to narrow my choices and help me focus on the career that best suited me.

3 Generally, I awoke each morning and ate a balanced breakfast which, as well all know, features at least three of the following food groups: Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), Protein (beans, peanut butter, eggs), Fruit (bananas, oranges, berries), Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, celery), and Grain (toast, tortilla, bagel, cereal).4

4 A complete breakfast isn't nearly healthy as you'd think. For example, a
Bloody Mary and a slice of cold pizza meet the above criteria.