Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who Needs a Job?

This is a re-tooled version of a short story I wrote several years ago when I was having particularly awkward job experiences. Enjoy!

I awoke with a sudden jolt that caused my eyelids to engage in a rather extraordinary impersonation of a demented Venetian blind. Open, close. Open, close. Open, close, open, close, opencloseopencloseopenclose. Finally, by rapping my forehead sharply against the jowls of a conveniently placed wildebeest, I was able to still the frantic fluttering and begin assembling a somewhat vague idea of my surroundings. The more aware I became, the more terrified I felt.

It seems, through no fault of my own, that I had become unwittingly involved with a highly unsavory segment of the population. Namely, the workforce. It was a shock, let me tell you. I tried to think back and remember exactly how fate (aided by my parents) had outmaneuvered me, but could not come up with a satisfactory scenario. I had gone to bed, blissfully unfettered and awakened to find myself in chains.

I spent most of the day composing what I considered to be a highly sensitive and diplomatic notice of resignation. A notice that would rend my shackles asunder and set me free! I looked at the gentle, heartfelt letter, which read, "So long, turd!"

For the remainder of the day, I lurked about my boss's door, metaphorical hacksaw in hand, waiting for just the right moment. Before that moment arrived, however, he called me into his office. I entered without fear, knowing that, due to highly sophisticated methods, my subtle lurkings had gone undetected.

"Why are you lurking outside my office?" he asked.

Thus did I manage to sever relations with my boss. As I left work that day, I noticed that the birds were singing, the sun was shining, and the air seemed much clearer. However, it wasn't long after I drew my first gasp of freedom that I was under pressure from certain sources, which I will not call by name (but the code word is parents) to reconsider my "hasty actions." Soon this plea was modified to the point where I gathered that if I did not voluntarily submit to this incarceration, they would torture me. Possibly even to the point of forcing me to take out the trash.

As you can imagine, I was soon beating the bushes for a job. But this turned out to be a fruitless and tiring effort, so I eventually began to actually fill out applications. These, I soon discovered, were much the same, the similarities made even more obvious by the poorly disguised, fiendish chuckles the secretaries emitted as they handed over a sheaf of papers, the thickness of which was roughly equivalent to that of the national budget. They all ask the same questions: Name, Birthdate, Phone Number, Previous Employment, References, How Loudly Can You Belch, and other inane queries designed to send you screaming into the street, where they hope you will be hit by a large moving van, thereby saving them the trouble of interviewing you.

There are a great many people in my category, who are also searching for a substantial job which requires no physical motion. Through my long search and extensive experience in job-hunting, I have uncovered a great many fallacies and also some job-related techniques, which I have honed to a razor’s edge. I will now share these with you at no cost. Well, maybe a small fee.

Once you obtain an interview, there are several things you must do in order to suitably impress the boss. First, you must dress appropriately. Not having worked there, you naturally have no idea what the attire should be. Since there is no way to know what is strictly appropriate or what isn't, I suggest going to an interview in your underwear. Not only will this impress the boss as to your shrewd understanding of company policy, but it will also show them that you are the humble type, who will readily accept instruction and fit in easily with any team.

After entering the office, size up the boss. If they are of small stature, pounce upon them immediately and apply a great deal of pressure to their throat until they gasp, "Take the job! No, take MY job!" If this personage is larger than you, then I would strongly suggest a slightly less aggressive approach, such as, "Nice weather we're having, eh?" Then run from the office, chuckling fiendishly.

In order to illustrate the importance of applying these and other techniques, let me share with you the story of one of my most successful interviews.

I entered the office of a prospective employer and sized him up. He was big. He shook my hand, the mere exertion of which caused his shirt sleeves to recede to his elbows. Judging from his bulky appearance, I decided it might be wise to hold off on my plan until his back was turned. At which point, I would run from the office, chuckling fiendishly.

We sat down, he behind the desk and I at the closest point to the door.

"You don't have to sit in the hall," he said, motioning to the chair in front of his desk. I entered the office and sat alertly on the edge of the chair.

"Nice weather we're having, eh?"

"Yes, it is," he agreed. I smiled to myself. This was going well. The boss cleared his throat and peered at me keenly. "Your application says you are looking for a job in sales?"

I nodded.

He looked at me strangely. "I see by your underwear that you enjoy Batman."

"Curses," I thought, making a mental note to replace the light bulb in my bedroom. I nodded again.

"May I ask why you are chuckling fiendishly?" He backed his chair toward the wall.

"Just rehearsing," I said.

"Mmmmm." He seemed nervous.

After asking a few more pointless questions, he peered across the desk at me, eyes filled with apprehension. "I'm afraid," he said, backing further into the corner, "we have all the help we need."

"What did you say?" I asked, half rising from my chair. "You're not going to hire me?"

Raising his sweaty and shaking hands, presumably to fend off an enraged assault, he shook his head with a rubbery neck. I leaned toward him and then jumped abruptly to my feet. He turned and grabbed the phone from his desk. He had dialed "nine" and was frantically searching for "eleven," when I made my move. After checking to make sure his back was turned, I ran from the office, chuckling fiendishly.


Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

This is seriously some of the craftiest prose ever. EVER.

Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

I agree with me. Grade A drivel.

Jack W. Regan said...

Why, thank you! Both of you. I mean, both times!