Don't Mince Words



My workplace sabbatical – Week 6 2

Posted on September 28, 2009 by Marna

This is going to be my last unemployment summary because not much changes from week-to-week.  I meet unemployed friends for drinks, I make calls, I send resumes, and I have interviews.

One thing that was reinforced this week was how much interviews are like dates.  And selecting a job is like choosing a husband – you really don’t want a beater.

I had an interview with a Fortune 200 company.  I had heard mixed reviews through the years from friends and acquaintances who have worked there.  I accepted the interview out of curiosity.  I had no idea it would be a source of material.

I realized was the last interview of the day.  Not a good position to be in when you find out it was a sausage factory interview process.  All my interviewers were tired.  Two out of three had not seen my resume before I handed it to them.

The HR bitch set me up.

Interviewer #1 had been on staff for three weeks.  He was from a similar background and took the job because he wanted a more stable environment and was tired of ad agencies.  He warned me about long hours and a lack of process.  He was still trying to figure out what the job was.

Interviewer #2 had a year on the first guy.  He spoke of long hours and couldn’t really describe the job except that he needed a sales brochure developed.

Interviewer #3 was tired and frustrated because it appeared the HR bitch didn’t describe the position to any of the applicants.  She went on to tell me there would be long hours, there were opportunities for process improvement, and there have been two people in this position in the last year.  In addition, when I asked if if there was head count to bring a designer on staff, she said, “No, and it doesn’t matter.  The economy is so bad that these contractors are thankful to be here.”

It took me a few years of online dating to figure out some of the code in people’s ads.  Now I know when a decades-established company advertises for someone with a start-up background, that means the division is unorganized and probably in need of better operational management.  In addition, when interviewers really can’t sell you on the company or the position, it probably isn’t going to be a good long-term relationship.  I don’t really need that and a job with no career path.  That recipe will never provide me with success and results.

I sent the HR bitch a thank you email and continued my search.

Corporate grunge 80’s flashback 0

Posted on July 26, 2006 by Marna

I’ve always felt there’s a profession more deviant and despicable than used car salesman or insurance underwriter. That would be the “human resource” career track. Throughout my 20+ year career, they have been referred to as inhumane and no-resource.

This week I received a call from a lovely human resource woman. She was screening me for several positions in the company. Strengths, weaknesses, what do you like doing, what is your management style, etc…. Then came a question I couldn’t believe. I was so thankful I was on the phone. She didn’t see me hold the phone out, cock my head and mouth “what the fuck?”

“What do you see yourself doing in five years,” she asked me.

I laughed a little and said, “You are kidding me, right? I think I was 25 the last time I was asked that question.”

She back-peddled a little and waited for my response. During the three-second delay, I crafted the best should-be-copyrighted response:

“Considering I walked home on 9/11, I don’t think about the future that much. I live every day like it will be my last. All I can hope for in my career is to use all my skills, get some kind of satisfaction out of the work, and produce meaningful results.”

I guess the response was good enough. She called me two days later for an interview.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 369 Posts, 128 Comments

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