Buisness Park Hell
Seeking employment is an immasculating process, where you are judged, rated, and evaluated by complete strangers. For many jobs, there exists a person dedicated to screening and judging the prospective hires. The HR person.
Corporate America has been called faceless, and there are good reasons. Join me on a cool September morning as I drive my battered little truck through a labyrinth of monolithic buisness parks. Parking in front of a shapeless ten-story box marked only as “10650″, I navigate through the maze-like corridors to suite 301.
Suite 301 has the smell of industrial carpet and fake plants. The large room is divided be pre-fab cubicle walls to the right and a large, catty corner desk to the left. Behind this desk a chipper, slightly overweight woman in her early thirties chatters away at a keyboard.
“Hi, my name is Matt, I have a 10:30 appointment.” I say. With appropriate enthusiasm and courtesy, office drone #4456-A instructs me to sit in one of two “executive style” leather chairs on either side of a melamine-clad table. As I leaf through the company’s literature, I notice the phrase “Integrated learning solutions”. At this point I begin to realize I’m in the sancor sanctoris of the soul-less corporate beast.
As I wait I look around the room. The walls are clad with nondescript, postmodern paintings in a southewestern motif. The grey carpet is accentuated by the dull white walls. Music wafts softly through the room to the tune of Natalie Merchant. Beyond the forbidding cubicle walls I hear the voices of office drone #56663-C and #33244-A conversing about Nostradamus.
Finally, I am called in to a cramped, windowless office. There is scarcely room for a desk and chair, and the bare walls reflect the flourescent light in an uncomfortable way. I am introduced to the HR person, Office Drone #45566-HR. A once-attractive woman in her mid to late 40′s, she’s wearing a black pantsuit and blouse. Her hair is highly styled, her makeup applied generously yet professionally. She is laden with gold jewelry, but none of this can hide the obvious fatigue in her eyes.
After a cursory introduction, she studies my resume and wrinkles her nose a bit. Picking up a pencil, she asks me to “Quantify my skills on a scale of 1-10″. I gasp a bit, watching her touch pencil to paper, awaiting my response. Now I understand that I have made a grave mistake. I attempt to explain that my focus is not mastery of software packages but the concepts that drive software packages. I tell her I prefer text editors and my own toolsets to get the job done. I explain that this enables me to be flexible, and better meet the needs of my employers and clients. I explain that while I am knowledgable in many commercial softwares, my strength is my flexibility and wide knowledge. She is obviously confused.
“Well, the companies that hire us need a name of the software package. When you say you use text editors… we can’t use that.” She continues to say: “Most people have one software that they use and that’s all they use.”
Again, I gasp a little. Mind you, this woman has a 15″ monitor set at 800 X 600 on her desk. There’s a phone book under the monitor to give it a little more height. This person has never written ONE LINE OF CODE in her life, and she’s telling me what “most people” do.
Quickly, the interview ends. By this point I am itching to leave. Loosening my tie on the way out the door, I scurry to my vehicle and leave the dirty place.
Your site is great, this post hits close to home for me…I worked for Arthur Andresen LLP for three years…grody. I’ve since been able to find more acceptable work. Good luck with your job search. andrew
Well written post-e- ol girl. Sounds like fun looking for a new job. I had to sign up for work study just so I could qualify for CitySITE. Now I have to learn and teach 2 3 hour classes on Protools, a sound editing program. Hoo- Boy!!! G’Luck in your struggles.
Be glad you at least got an interview. I can’t even get a fuckin call back from grocery stores or Taco Bell. I’m over here starving and they want to say I’m over qualified. Goddamn, I can make tacos just as good as the next guy.