Tag Archives: Job Search

Sick Oh

Friday morning I woke up sick.

Or I should say woke up sicker than usual as it’s been many years, decades, since I’ve been what I would consider truly healthy in any tangible sense of the word; if there had ever been such a mythical time and not just some fanciful memory.

But that particular morning was sickness of a specific sort that encouraged me to call out at work, something I rarely do.

I had gotten up to take Jack out. I started to change out of my robe into something more socially acceptable to wear outside. My fingers touched something unpleasantly wet and, upon examination, dark.

As if to emphasize its origin, I sat on the commode and proceeded to defecate in a splattering fashion that sounded more like urination. Over the next fifteen minutes I tried three times to make it from the bathroom, but ended up instead back in that rather helpless position of waiting for my body to do what it was going to do with or without my consent.

The fourth time I escaped the bathroom, got dressed, and took Jack out, like I originally had planned. Likewise, I thought I would continue with my routine and go to work, being stoic with matters of illness. But a few more attacks disabused me of such a notion along with the realization that the constant physical strain my current job entails would exacerbate such issues; especially since it already does so on a regular basis, just to a lesser degree.

So I called out and ended up spending most of the day and night in bed, dwelling on sickness, pending death – for it is always pending – and my relentless lack of means that makes the former harder to combat and the latter not as unwelcome, not as rage against the dying of the light, as it should be.

Relentless insomuch as my best efforts seem to no avail, with me frequently left an outlier to the world and feeling much like Equality 7-2521.

It is taxing not doing what you were born to do. It makes being born at all taxing.

Sickness bleeds the turnip.

Yet…

The next morning, not feeling great but not feeling as bad, I got up, took Jack out, and drove to Burlington for a board meeting. For I don’t know what to do when efforts are thwarted except put forth more effort.

I’m sick in that way too.

Interview Blues

How do you parse your life in marketable packets?

Coming home from a botched interview for a job I really wanted, I navigated the ensuing snowstorm without incident until I got home. Going up the steep drive to our apartment I couldn’t quite crest the hill. It ended up being a drawn-out ordeal with getting stuck and all the fun that comes with such situations.

But I ended up learning two things from a neighbor who helped me out.

  • If your car has front wheel drive and you’re stuck, try putting on the emergency brake and hit the accelerator. Emergency brakes are usually connected to the back wheels, so doing thus should whip you around and out of that situation. I didn’t have to do this, but I filed this information away as a last resort.
  • I always had previously thought salt with ice and snow. But my neighbor suggested – and that night effectively used – dirt. I filed this information away as well.

These snippets of data are retained and will be recalled in future snow incidents. However, if I went to a job interview the next day and was asked something general like “When have you tried a new solution to a problem?”, I’m not certain I would think to bring up this incident.

Data in my head doesn’t get organized in such nicely sellable chunks. It gets absorbed, recalled and used when needed, modified if necessary, then becomes reabsorbed. This ultimately makes me a heck of an effective worker who is able to accomplish much, but makes me altogether lousy at showcasing ability during interview time.

Once I learn something or accomplish something, either trivial or major, it becomes so integrated into the already existing and constantly evolving chunks of what I know and what I can do, I am hard-pressed to chisel them out again for the presentation successful job hunting requires.

In a probably futile effort to salvage this latest job search disaster, I wrote a letter to my interviewer, pressing myself hard to isolate a look at this rock of ability. Here is the letter, without names of course:

Dear __,

I gave a rather anemic answer to your question about when I have used creativity. So I thought I would provide this additional thought.

Creativity by its very nature is fluid. It flows daily and throughout the day enhancing activities in both minor and major ways. It is so ubiquitous I take it for granted and do not typically “record” specific instances of use. Its immediate output is ad hoc; its mechanism overshadowed by the results it fosters.

That said, here’s a concrete example of my solution-generating creativity at work:

I created a queer history display for Pride Vermont. My original vision featured a center panel with a collage of pictures from prides throughout the decades; a visual history. I diligently copied materials from the Vermont Historical Society.

The problem: As I put the display together, it became apparent that a collage would necessitate not including some years, which would subtract from the larger goal of infusing the display with a sense of time. Indeed, the space itself seemed too small to encompass the trove of wonderful information I had unearthed and wished to share. Even paring it down to one or two pages per year presented logistical issues for such limited surface area. There were too many years…

My creative solution: Instead of a standard mounting, I chronologically overlapped the documents, thereby allowing an easy view of year-by-year via a simple lift of one page to see the page – in its entirety – that it overlapped. Through this approach, no years were omitted and I did not have to compromise my aesthetic sensibility; form, function, and beauty coexisted.

Creation of the display involved other assorted creative bursts, which I discuss in some detail here on my website:

http://jdfoxpresents.com/queer-history-on-display/

Focused as I am on the present and the future, I am not good at heralding past accomplishments; an interview weakness for sure.

I reiterate here my impassioned interest in working for ______ and hope that this missive adds favorably to its articulation.

Respectfully,

JD Fox

Things blur inside me, not just creatively but analytically as well. I help Gary with formatting an excel spreadsheet, then that knowledge too goes back inside me until needed. Which is a very minor example of analytical, for sure, but it happened just yesterday and is what I am able to chisel out at the moment, other incidents currently being irretrievable.

Though I know they – both creative and analytical skills — are there for me to use when I need them; or someone else needs me to use them. I just need to find a way to prove it during the allotted 30 minutes of question and answer showtime.

Invisible Me

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?

I’ve never been popular. And I don’t expect to be.

Most of my thoughts are probably too esoteric for the Viral Video population while at the same time being far too simplistic for Great Thinkers. My stories are a little too subversive for mainstream consumption while being too ordinary for postpunkalyptical digestion. In conversation, I’m frequently only half-understood, and usually it’s the wrong half.

I would never be described by:

Whoa oh, it’s out at night he goes
He slips easily into conversation

That’s okay, though. Or more okay than not. For one doesn’t have to have everyone read you or understand you or like you for a pleasant life to be obtained. A carved-out social niche could be quite comfy enough for such purposes.

But how does one make such a space? A place where you are welcomed and accepted? Or at the very least one where you are acknowledged?

Such questions become doubly difficult to answer when something happens that indicates you’re going about it all wrong or, worse, that maybe there’s just something fundamentally wrong about you that keeps such a place always over there and out of reach.

I had such a recent experience with being turned down for a job.

Now it should be noted I am used to rejection. Don’t like it, of course. But I am used to it. Competition in both the writing and the job market is fierce. Submitted stories frequently get replies of Does Not Meet Our Current Needs and the same is true with employers who are Pursuing Other Candidates At This Time.

But this particular not-getting-the-job was special. Or rather not special, which is what made it all the more troubling to me.

For the employer knows me and I’ve done non-paid work for them. Still will do so, in fact, as I believe in their mission. All in all, I had always thought I was reasonably well-liked there.

They have a small staff of paid folks and when an opening came up I applied. As it was something I truly wanted to do and something I was impassioned about, I spent a lot of time on crafting cover letter and resume.

Still, I tried to keep my hopes at minimal. For like I said, the market is fierce and I know they had received a staggering number of resumes. With so many applicants vying for the same position, and with probably a great many of them also well-liked and also having done work for them, it would be unwise to have Great Expectations.

It turned out, though, that my low expectations were apparently not low enough.

For I not only didn’t get the job, I received a form letter rejection that gave no indication that the employer knew me from any other applicant on their desk. That impersonal missive hurt far more than just the “No.”

Emily Dickinson goes on to write:

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

Yet I can’t help but think how dreary it also is – to be – Nobody! Especially when I thought that I was finally becoming something else; something visible.