Help Wanted. Must Be Dumber Than Velveeta. EOE.
Let’s hear it for President Bush! Thanks to him, being unemployed is considerably less irritating than it was in the old days.
I’m completely sincere about this. The last time I was out of work for too long came in 2003, before the Do Not Call anti-telemarketing law. I remember a particular eight-hour period where I got seventeen calls, each one answered in a polite, professional voice in case it held a job offer, and each one turning out instead to be some twit mispronouncing my name in hopes of selling a home-equity loan to my apartment-dwelling non-equity-having self.
But not this time! Thank you, Mr. President. And as a small- government libertarian, I have no problem justifying the Do Not Call law on the grounds that expecting solicitors to respect my number’s presence on a DNC list is no different than expecting door-to-door solicitors to respect a “No Trespassing” sign on my house.
Unfortunately, I can’t invent a proper justification for a firm law (not necessarily involving the death penalty, but a good horsewhipping at minimum) against that other bane of a job-hunter’s existence: the would-be scam artist who thinks that if he can trick me into wasting my time at a pointless job interview in which I have no interest, he’ll also coax me into parting with a good chunk of my own cash.
Many years ago, when I’d finished school and started looking for my first Real Job, I sent resumes and cover letters to any help-wanted ad that sounded willing to hire an English major. One ad said something about jobs in “advertising,” and a couple days after mailing my resume I got a call for an interview. The woman was rather vague about exactly what the job would entail, and since this was my first-ever Real Job Call I didn’t know enough to ask certain questions.
Next day I arrived at the interview a few minutes early, as recommended by the career guidebooks, and sat in the waiting room with a couple other applicants filling out a thick pile of forms. After a few minutes, I saw two dozen people file into the conference room adjacent to the room where we sat.
We heard a low, muffled voice speaking, and then everyone in the next room suddenly shouted “YEAH!!!” in raucous voices.
This continued for the next several minutes: Mumble mumble YEAH!! Blah blah YEAH!! Something something YEAH!!
We four in the waiting room exchanged looks. I can’t say what the others were thinking, but I remembered the mandatory pep rallies in high school and how much I’d hated them. So I quit filling out the application, put my pen down and began chatting with the others in the waiting room.
No one knew anymore than I did what this job was supposed to be about. One man had responded to an ad offering “management” jobs, another sought positions in “sales,” and the third also wanted work in “advertising.”
The pep rally finally ended and people streamed out of the conference room. Everyone left the building except for one man – presumably the muffled speaker – who came into the waiting room and started the "interview."
The company turned out to be a pyramid scam. They wanted us all to spend a couple hundred dollars buying some coupon books that we’d sell door-to-door, and if we could sucker other people into selling coupons for us we’d get a cut of their profits.
I had more than enough money to buy the books, and far too many IQ points to ever consider doing so. Instead, I spent awhile saying things like “This sounds great but I don’t have two hundred dollars, that’s why I’m looking for a job,” and tried to persuade him to pretty-please give me an advance on my first paycheck so I could afford to buy these coupon books and embark upon a wonderful and rewarding new career. (I actually said “wonderful and rewarding new career.”) He said I could earn the money by selling his coupon books door-to-door.
Once I figured I’d wasted about as much of his time as he’d wasted of mine, I abruptly ended the discussion and went home.
But that was years ago. The Internet makes such job offers more streamlined; instead of getting dressed and driving to an actual interview, you can stay in your bathrobe while people try to scam you on your own couch. I turned down the chance to make up to $5,000 a month, working on my computer at home, in my spare time, because I’m too stingy to buy and too lazy to install the $100 software package I’d need for this exciting opportunity.
I told the guy that if he’d just give me the name of the software, my friend-who’s-good-with-computers could probably find me a copy cheaper. He didn’t like my idea.