Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Inhuman Resources

BS Statement #1
"We appreciate your interest in employment with us; however we have chosen a candidate whose qualifications more closely match our needs."

BS Statement #2
"It was a pleasure to talk with you about your career plans during our recent discussion. We sincerely appreciate your interest and the time you devoted to the recruitment process.

Thank you very much for your patience in allowing us the time to review your credentials. After reviewing your qualifications and experience as it relates to our specific needs, we regret that we do not have a suitable position for you at this time. We extend our best wishes for success in your search for a rewarding career."

BS Statement #3
"Due to the over whelming response to the talent search announcement, only those candidates whose background more closely matches the position will be interviewed. As such, at this time we are unable to give your resume further consideration. We encourage you to pursue future job opportunities for which you meet the minimum qualifications."

What does any of that mean? I'm seriously lost in translation here. Is it some sort of refined, alien, HR English-Jargon they teach in school? Or does one pick up the language on the job? Personally, I think it's all code for: "Yo, your resume was wack," or "By law, we're obligated to post each and every job, but we already knew who we were going to hire before we even posted this position," or "the job you applied for has been open for five years now. We have no real intention to fill the position. We simply like sorting through resumes during our down time for a good laugh." Say anything besides the proverbial, "We're going with someone who more closely meets our qualifications." Comments like that can leave the insecure job hunter second guessing his capabilities.

Sorry if I come off bitter, but I've been looking for a job for close to three months and I haven't been called in for one interview. I can't catch a break. My cover letter and resume are flawless. I've been at my present job for over eight years. My references are waiting by the phone to gush about how fabulous I am. "I'd recommend you in a New York minute," said my Communication professor from college.

I did come close to a real live interview in early January. I had a phone screening with a very reputable accounting firm. Some nerve of them to think I wasn't worthy enough for a face-to-face interview. Was I that bad? Perhaps I was. During the Q & A, I did feel like a used car dealer trying to pull a fast-one on an unsuspecting customer. That can't be good. Everyone says interviewing is a skill. The more interviews you go on, the better you get at interviewing. I don't dispute that; however, how can you master a skill you never get the chance to practice?

I won't front, in the beginning I was applying for all kinds of jobs, but as the weeks progressed and I saw my phone wasn't ringing, I began to streamline my search for jobs I was truly qualified for. Turns out, that only made the rejection harder to deal with. In December, there was this great job that I was perfect for. My coursework mirrored the job requirements, the position was in an exciting department with the company I currently work for and most importantly; it was a job I could see myself getting up every morning to do, without feeling guilty about loosing my flexibility to go on auditions, go-sees and the like. Over the course of seven days, I put together an eye-popping resume, crafted the perfect cover letter and not only sent it to Inhuman Resources (IHR) but sent a copy of my paperwork to both hiring managers to prevent any over site on their part.

Last Thursday, I got a letter in the mail with the salutation Ms. in front of my name no less, telling me (please insert BS Statement #3 here). I was devastated. As I wallowed in self-pity, nursing battle scars and a bruised ego from fighting in this War on Job Hunting; I caught a second wind, stood up and proclaimed, "I refuse to take this lying down! I need answers!" So I attacked back.

My Arsenal/Return Fire: Ask questions and highlight their incompetence.

Good Morning,

I received a letter from you letting me know that I will no longer be considered for the Communications Coordinator position.

I wanted to know why I wasn’t chosen to move on to the interview process. I'm asking just so I am better equipped to deal with other positions for which I may apply.

Also, I wanted to let Human Resources know that there is some confusion with my gender. I'm a male. I've received a couple of letters from Human Resources--yours included-- that read: Ms. Shydale James. Just want to clear that up.

I look forward to your reply. I'd really like to progress here and welcome any advice or constructive criticism.



IHR's Arsenal/Return Fire: Pass the blame and answer question indirectly.


I want to apologize for the error in addressing you as Ms. I didn't type the letters but certainly I did sign. Again, please excuse this mistake.

We had a significant number of employees submit for this position. I reviewed along with the department eligible candidates. We selected the top candidates who were considered better job fits based on experience.

Please continue to pursue job opportunities in the future.


Human Resources

What they could have said back in the first place:

"By law, we're obligated to post each and every job, but we already knew who we were going to hire before we even posted this position."

Case Closed.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"You know you don't want to sit behind a desk for the rest of your life, so, you're not going to be put in that situation."

That was the Blackberry message from a very close friend that has completely changed my outlook on my short-term goals. The funny thing is she wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. I’m an actor for God’s sake. Ask any clear-headed thespian whether he’d prefer sitting behind a desk crunching numbers in some fluorescent lit office or stomping the boards in some rat-infested theatre praying not to melt under the heat of a color gel filtered light and you’re liable to be smacked upside the head with a monologue book.

Am I not clear-headed? It’s a question to which I really want no answer, but I ask because over the past 2 months, I’ve been actively looking for a legit full-time job. What gives?

Let’s face it. For most actors, times are hard on the Boulevard unless you’ve got a star on it. And many don’t. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “fewer than 5 percent of all actors actually make a living at their trade alone.” Most actors are forced to use their creative prowess on and off the camera as they attempt to maintain a job that pays the bills.

Technically, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been able to hold down the same job for eight years and still make every audition without the fear of being fired looming over me. However, that’s not the case for everyone. George Jordan, an actor in NYC, is sometimes forced to choose between keeping a job and attending an audition. “Many times, folks hire me knowing that I’m an actor and that I need lots of flexibility, but when its time for me to take off, it’s a problem,” says Jordan. “I’ve lost plenty of jobs because I chose to attend an audition instead of working my shift. The sucky part is that most of those auditions, I didn’t book!” Jordan looks down, chuckles and shrugs, “but hey that’s the nature of the business and I’m used to it.”

Though, I’ve never had that problem, as I get older, the need for stability seems to be more important and my part-time job, while steady, is not going to make these stable dreams come to fruition. Julie Schwartz knows this story all to well. A hometown girl from the suburbs of Colorado; Julie moved to NYC to study acting almost ten years ago. “My parents paid for me to go to school but said I was on my own after that,” says Julie. “Three years after graduating from acting school, I found myself broke, jobless and questioning if I could continue living like that. I ended up packing up and going back to Colorado.” Julie currently works as a city social worker and is married with 2 children. Asked if she misses acting and she says, “Are you kidding me? All the time! I’m always playing the ‘What If’ game in my head. Wondering if things may have turned around had I stuck it out one more year or so.”

The question remains: How do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel? When you’re broke? Haven’t booked a job in a week? A month? A year? Or when you’re just plain old tired of the instability? I wish I had the answers, but as I sit here dizzy from the confusion that is my life, I can’t help but think about that Blackberry message from my friend. She’s right; I don’t want to sit behind a desk for the rest of my life. So now what?