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chariots of hire
jumping through employment hoops
by mike julianelle

I’ve been on lots of job interviews.

Most were unsuccessful attempts at landing jobs I didn’t want. Some were unsuccessful attempts at landing jobs I did want. A few were successful attempts at landing jobs I didn’t want, but had to take, and there was even one for being a sperm donor.

But getting a job takes more than charming your way through an interview. Interviews are just the beginning, if you discount those pointless resumes and cover letters. God knows I do. The way I see it, job hunting involves three major components: networking, interviewing, and thank you notes. Or, as I refer to them: wasting my time, wasting my time some more, and lying my ass off.

Let’s start with networking. Like I said, forget resumes; it’s all about who you know. Unfortunately for my job prospects (but beneficial to maximum drunk-story production), my circle of friends starts with my two marginally employed roommates and ends with a group worthy of Tom Cruise’s family: a rightwing Vietnam vet, a Mexican with a lazy eye, a few Hindus, a few surfers, a cocaine dealer, someone named Ivan and an old college roommate who didn’t invite me to his wedding. Needless to say, he has never gotten me a job interview. (The coke dealer did once, but it didn’t work out ... let’s just say I couldn’t afford Kevlar.)

On top of my lack of viable connections, networking isn’t something I do particularly well. Or particularly at all. Unless you count carding people at the bar as networking. I’m guessing you don’t. My parents don’t either; that’s why I’ve invented a new euphemism. It’s called networking, and it’s when I check I.D.s and stock the cooler at the bar my parents don’t know I work at, in lieu of a real job.

"In lieu of" is another euphemism I invented. It means: I’m never getting a real job and my parents had better deal with it cause I ain’t nobody’s fucking puppet. By the way, be careful euphemizing. Euphemization is still a very fluid and imprecise technique, and it’s not for the squeamish. "Euphemization" is yet another of my brand new euphemisms. It means mercy killing. "The squeamish" means women.

So, networking isn’t my forte. But don’t get me wrong. I can interview with the best of them once I get my foot in the door. I gots skillz. I knowz how to knock ‘em dead. As long as I wear a matching suit.

I’m part colorblind, see. This one time I even wore the wrong color pants with the right color suit. Or vice versa. And the funny thing is, I still got the job! The person I interviewed with was Korean, though, so maybe he was colorblind too. Or maybe he’s just a bad driver. I forget, which race is stereotypically colorblind? What race is Vinny Testaverde?

That reminds me: football players don’t have to interview. They never have to answer those horrible interview questions. You know, like, why are you bleeding? ("Fuck off."); What’s that smell? ("I think it's your ass."); and, do you have a prescription for that?("No, but my friend can get me one if you’re gonna nitpick.") Football players don't get any of that. They get off easy, those lucky jocks. Those lucky, incredibly dumb, overpaid jocks.

But my least favorite question to be asked in a job interview is the one about my biggest weakness. I am at quite a disadvantage with that question, and not only because I'm damn near perfect. You see, self-criticism is my biggest weakness! Hence the violent, heaving crying jag that question invariably brings out of me (once I even vomited!). I guess I just haven’t been able to make that breakthrough with my therapist yet. But I have been taking a lot of ecstasy lately, so hopefully I’ll get there soon.

The biggest problem I have with job interviews is that they don’t really give me a proper shot to show what I can do. I mean, nobody pulls off a pedophilia joke like me, or is better at masturbating. I’m also really good at acting disinterested, but usually when I start showing off at an interview I end up getting an early dismissal. Especially once I start telling jokes to try to counter the inevitable disgust at my seeming lack of enthusiasm (I’m that good). Everybody laughs at Michael Jackson but nobody seems to like hearing that hilarious story about me and my uncle.

Finally, there’s the thank you notes. What a hassle. Everyone is well aware that in these times, the Awesome Aughts (or Abysmal/Appalling Aughts, depending on your perspective; I happen to be an optimist), post-interview thank you notes are mandatory. There’s nothing spontaneous or honest about them. But God forbid you forget to send a few, suddenly you’re screwed. No amount of experience can make up for a social faux-pas like that.

That's why I just send envelopes stuffed with correctly proportioned index cards. Odds are the stiffs at that company aren't opening something so obviously pointless. Besides, it's the thought that counts. But, if they do happen to want to read it, I write a little something on there. It says:

Side One: Kissing up is bullshit. Thanks for NOTHING! (please flip card.)

Side Two: BITCH

Yet despite my confidence that those cards are never opened (thank God! Just imagine!), I still haven't landed myself a job. Oh well. Maybe I'm just not white enough.


Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".

more about mike julianelle


the temp circle of hell
how i learned to stop worrying and love the job
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 4.29.01

we don't need no education
some moments just shouldn't be taught
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 8.7.09


matt morin
3.17.03 @ 12:10a

Sperm donor? You mean there could be little Michaels running around out there somewhere? Scary. Way flippin' scary.

adam kraemer
3.17.03 @ 9:26a

Well, he didn't say who he donated it to.

Are thank you notes really that important?

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 11:35a

Way too important if you ask me.

erik myers
3.17.03 @ 11:39a

I've never sent thank you notes.. not real ones. Just e-mail.. and I've been mostly employed for 4 years, now.

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 11:51a

Well, you haven't had to look for a job too much in the past 4 years, I assume. In my experience, thank you notes are pretty expected.

sarah ficke
3.17.03 @ 12:03p

Which is a pain in the ass. It started as a thank-you/suck-up and now it's just one more necessary piece of bullshit, and thus meaningless.

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 12:05p

Exactamundo, Sarah. I make that point, in between jokes, in my column.

sarah ficke
3.17.03 @ 12:36p

Yep, I caught that. But I felt the need to rant.

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 12:37p

Yeah? Rant on my critiques.

matt morin
3.17.03 @ 1:20p

I've been freelancing for the past 2+ years, so technically, I'm always looking for a job. I've never written a thank you note. A follow-up call or an e-mail, sure, but never a real note.

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 1:23p

Wow. My friends and I have ALL done that, and most of us seem to feel they are pretty crucial.

michelle von euw
3.17.03 @ 1:51p

When we interviewed someone two years ago and she sent us all thank you notes, we thought it was really strange. We decided that her college career office suggested them. Let me tell you, they didn't factor into our decision at all. (Actually, it may have hurt her...the general attitude was that the thank you notes implied she was young and inexperienced.)

russ carr
3.17.03 @ 2:14p

Michelle: agreed. I pretty much dumped the thank you notes pretty early on out of school. I also dropped the standard, staid resume layout as soon as I had something to put on it beyond summer jobs and college coursework. Maybe white vellum and serif fonts and tab-tab-tab-tab is what they expect to see in a suit-and-tie place, but nowhere I wanted to work would have given such a lifeless scrap of paper a second glance; it was a sure sign of inexperience.

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 2:30p

I'm pretty surprised at this. I've had people look at me slack-jawed after I told them I didn't send thank you notes. I didn't get the idea from my college career center. I never even went to my college career center.

Maybe, in some circles, they aren't so mandatory after all.

heather millen
3.17.03 @ 2:35p

I mean, nobody pulls off a pedophilia joke like me, or is better at masturbating.

Classic. You know, maybe you're not interviewing in the right places. Perhaps these career strengths would be most appreciated in a Hustler store. Or a porn production company. Or prison. You have to work with what God gave you.

sarah ficke
3.17.03 @ 2:35p

I think it depends on the kind of job you are applying for. I don't recall a thank-you note for the job I have now, but I did send them to a couple of other places. It was suggested by my college career counselor, who also seemed to be focused on suit-and-tie kinds of businesses.

heather millen
3.17.03 @ 2:58p

Well, I've used a lot of Entertainment Business recruiters, which is far from suit and tie, and they were adament about their people sending thank you notes. It's always struck me as kind of obnoxious, but necessary from my experience.

mike julianelle
3.17.03 @ 4:11p

Well, the column is a reflection of my experiences, and I've written and not written thank you notes. Whatever. I just hope the jokes are funny.

jael mchenry
3.17.03 @ 4:14p

I hire, and I definitely think it's weird if people don't follow up, either on paper or by Email. The thank you isn't special, but the lack thereof is certainly noticed.

adam kraemer
3.17.03 @ 4:30p

I wrote to the career center woman at the NYU j-school last week, and accidentally spelled her name wrong. This is the PS I got along with a very helpful letter today:
P.S. Even in an informal e-mail, make sure you spell the recipient's last name correctly. Every impression counts.

heather millen
3.17.03 @ 5:26p

Ironic that this all comes up on the day I have a second interview for a new position. And I didn't even vomit in the interview like Mike!

Now excuse me, I better go get to suckin' up. I mean, writing a "Thank you."

adam kraemer
3.19.03 @ 10:20a

And while you're at it, maybe you could demonstrate your masturbation skills. I imagine it would make a more positive impression than when Mike does it.

mike julianelle
3.19.03 @ 11:52a

Depends on whose doing the interview. I'd hire her.

esther cervantes
3.20.03 @ 8:39a

Thank you, Mike, for writing this. I've been on a soul-sucking job search for two months now, and I needed to laugh about it. Thank you so much. I hope to hear from you soon.

(Eh, do I get the job?)


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