Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pushing. Really hard.

I just needed some Edward Gorey.

I've spent the worst part of today applying for more jobs and writing cover letters. Dreadful.

Writing cover letters has got to be one of the most painful things I do these days and lately painful has real, specific meaning. Just this week I've performed surgery on my own leg. That's painful in a different way. I don't know what that black thing was sticking out of my thigh - a stinger or some other part of an insect or arachnid, but some of it is still in my leg and now it's surrounded by a hard, red lump. It's gross. Shut up. This is not doctor visit stuff. This is stiff upper lip, put some antibiotic ointment on it stuff. If an earwig climbs out of the pit I've dug with a needle, well, so be it. Must not grumble. But cover your ears because I'll be screaming like the girl I once was.

So I know painful. But this business of writing cover letters? Fuck that. I know I play a writer on this blog, but dear lord, trying to sell myself concisely is like trying to push really hard and turn my clitoris into a cock.

Perhaps I should include that in my next cover letter. Bet that would get someone's attention.

Seriously, folks, being unemployed blows enough, looking and looking for a job and finding bupkiss blows harder. Jamming my fingers to the keys and attempting to make enough magic to compel some HR person to sit up and take notice and even deign to roll their eyeballs across my resume? Dreadful. I'd say it's soul sucking, but I remain on the fence vis a vis souls.

And shit, don't even get me started on my resume. Lie, don't lie? Does it even matter anymore, daddy?

When I lose steam, I go trolling for ideas. You want to know what's really frustrating? All the How to Find a Job advice comes from people who have a job. Yeah, try being unemployed, 45, having been a bit too high above your station and without a job in this economy. Then tell me again how networking and crafting a great resume and cover letter is the ticket to success. Even the Department of Labor counselors have suggested I whittle my resume. Fine, but then how do I explain the last twenty years? All these motherfucking online applications require you to click a box indicating that you're presenting yourself truthfully. Okaaaay.

And since I'm already in the ditch, is this how it's supposed to go? You follow the rules, go to school, get a job, move up the ladder, do more than put in your time, you take risks, have some success, push yourself, leave things in better shape than you found them just so you can what? Deny you did any of that stuff so you can find a job, any job?

American Dreams. American Screams. A lie. The old rules no longer apply. The unemployed need not apply.

Oh, bitter. I should stop now. Here's what I'm settling on for my template cover letter.

Dear Prospective Employer:

Please hire me. I offer twenty years of progressively responsible administrative experience that can be bent and molded to fit your individual needs. I am a Libra, a middle child and woman. You can't find a more accommodating person than that. I come from a long line of hardworking people and as proof of my work ethic, I offer you a list of things I've done for little to no pay since having been laid off from my last job through no fault of my own. (please see attachment)

I am intelligent enough to do an excellent job, but not so intelligent to make you feel threatened. I have a good sense of humor and promise to use appropriately which means I'll laugh at only your jokes. I have no life and what little personal ambition I had has been sucked out of me. If you employ me, I give myself to you. I can start immediately and my salary needs are flexible like Nadia Comaneci.

I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the open position. Call me!

Best regards,


Shit. That's no good. The Nadia Comaneci thing totally gives away my age. Back to the keyboard...


  1. If you include your D-Cup avatar along with the whole clitoris-cock dynamic, you may have an in.

    Seriously, try not to despair. Soul-sucking? Good God, I know that. Good thoughts to you.

  2. Been there and I can relate. I could compile a short book of the stupidest questions I've been asked in job interviews. No need to include my answers. Just a blank stare is what they got from me.

  3. I'm hiring you to be my Gal Friday when I win the Powerball jackpot. I'll pay you quite the handsome salary.

  4. I have one tried and true method for getting something out that's stuck under the skin. Try soaking the afflicted part with hot water and epsom salts several times a day and then use the antibiotic ointment. It works better if the part is submerged but you may not be in the mood for a three times daily bath (unless you have a really good book).

    As for the job search - fuck. You're right about everything you say but I think that cover letter is a keeper. I wish I had a job to give you because even if I didn't already know you I'd certainly want to hire you after reading that.

  5. "I have no life and what little personal ambition I had has been sucked out of me."

    If you put that in there, the employers will come running.

    And yeah, writing cover letters blows. I edit/write for a living (boring shit, nothing exciting), and I hate writing cover letters more than anything (I sometimes have to write up the driest shit you can imagine).

  6. ummmm yeah, the whole Nadia thing...who even remembers her anyway...glad you are rethinking that one. Best wishes and personally I think you ought to send it out and see what happens!

  7. Ok writing resumes & cover letters sucks. But what about the other side. How about a little truth in advertising there?
    "Fast paced business looking for team playing multi tasker, advanced computer skills, and multi line phone".
    It should say"
    " Ridiculously understaffed office looking for a miracle worker who can walk on water, put up with a host of Bozos, do whatever we decide to dump on you, work briskly on our antiquated computer system that is one step away from being in the Smithsonian. Oh! And the phone never stops ringing. "

    I hate that you are having to go through this.

    ** Oh yea if you have a bug stinger in you, apply a paste you make of baking soda & water on the area can help draw it out. Let it dry on the skin
    Otherwise Comfrey on the wound is a good tonic. Garlic is nature's antibiotic, but it won't help w job interviews!

  8. Given the whole Warsaw Pact gymnastics thing, have you tried to see if the IOC has an opening?

  9. You're so damn funny and smart!

    You will find something. Hang in there. Cover letters/resumes/applications are NOT FUN.

    I sometimes try to turn it into a numbers game-reward system (if I send 10 cover letters, I get a brownie).

  10. I love it. A toned-down and sanitized (I know, I know, but we're talking getting a job here) version of this would actually probably work.

    While it was certainly never a regular part of my job, I have reviewed cover letters and resumes in the past. Let me tell you -- I only remember the really crazy, bizarre, inappropriate ones. And I mean crazy-crazy, not smart-crazy like your letter. All the normal/adequate cover letters were fine and worked, especially in comparison to the crazies. So I think as long as you don't write, "My name is AMANDA and I just like to make people SMILE!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)" in your cover letter, you are probably better off than you think.

    And yes, that's a real example!

  11. When pushing fails, go around the side and sneak in a window.

    If that fails, go to the media, tell them you're doing a walk across the US to make a statement about unemployment.

  12. "But this business of writing cover letters? Fuck that. I know I play a writer on this blog, but dear lord, trying to sell myself concisely is like trying to push really hard and turn my clitoris into a cock."


    Oh, my, god. That made my day. I am laughing so hard, I can hardly type!

  13. Feeling this; I lost my job last June and was stuck in a job interview this time last year that quickly began to feel like an awkward and bad date. It only took about five minutes of talking to realize the job would be boring and he would irritate me, when my potential supervisor said, "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
    I wanted to say, "Seriously? That's what you've got? How much five-year-plan life fulfillment does the voter registration clerk in a rural Pennsylvania county hope to aspire to? I'm 40 fucking years old. I hope to see myself 45 years old with some damn health insurance."

    The good news is, I DID finally find something I love. And I'm still cock-free.

  14. I totally would hire you for that. Man, I hate that whole verbal prostitution process.

    You know what I HONESTLY recommend though--Don't dumb down your resume, but acknowledge in your letter that the economy has changed and you understand you are probably overqualified, but that what you are looking for is stability and you are willing to commit for the long haul, because what you really want to do is work and be productive and the kind of job you've had before just are not there anymore. Face it, point at it, tell them why it's NOT a risk for them... how you are NOT going to jump off their ship in 6 months when something better comes along. Because as a HIRING manager, THAT is our fear with overqualification--that someone will leave at the next better opportunity. If you just address it head on, they may believe you.

  15. At this point I think you should lie and see where it leads you. Seriously. What have you got to lose?

  16. Hugs Lisa. You could always hire yourself out as clown at birthday parties, or what about day care for kitties? I know, I know. xoxo

  17. 'American Dreams. American Screams. A lie. The old rules no longer apply. The unemployed need not apply.'

    So coffeehouse on the web. Love it. On another note: I'm a Libra too, Lisa. We are nothing if not resilient.

  18. aaah the humiliation of applying for a job..even though you are humiliated to the core being unemployed..ya still gotta crawl through barbed wire just to get a rejection...what's with the cover letter's bad enough you have to fill out the fucking stupid application..what's worse is if you get past the first hurdle you will have to take one of those brainless personality they can figure out if your an axe murderer.. or worse yet.. there is a redneck branch in your family0 tree...:)

  19. I agree with Laura and MSB. Lie. Write a cover letter eerily close to this one. SOMEONE has got to hire you on personality alone.

    You might want to leave out the clit references, though. Just saying.

  20. Great letter. I'm totally sold.

    And if you could make that clit into a cock, you'd push half the dating services out of business and make a million.

    Hmm. Now there's an interesting idea for a story.

  21. Can we form a company where all us jobless but incredibly talented misfits can pay each other to be incredibly talented misfits???

  22. EEEE Gads Girl. you said it ALL..!

    I've discovered that in my cover letters I pretend I'm a drunken' loud man just after last call. Make it short ,quick, and in stupid in 3 sentences.

    this has gotten me five call backs already....

    P.S. love your Politits postings.

  23. I heart your cover letter so much. And also the revised more truthful ad from Fran.

    God, it's soul-sucking to be looking for ANY kind of work, and not the work you *really* want to be doing.

    And I really hate how you need to convince potential employers you're going to stick around FOREVER if you're a wee bit overqualified.

    I could go on. But I know your tenacity, your intelligence, and your sense of humour *will* get you through this. Keep pushing. xx

  24. Well, you know how long it took me to get a new job and I started part time with the hope it would become full time with benefits and now it has but the benefits suck out 2/3 of the take home pay.

    So now I am searching again for a job that pays more, either to me or to the insurance companies, I don't care which as long as I get to take home more than $600. a month for a full time job.

    Well educated, good work experience,professional in attitude and appearance, never use my cell phone at work, smart, great work ethic and taking home $600.00 a month. Hurray economy.

    So I am testing out the "it's easier to get hired if you are already employed" gambit. Keep you posted.

  25. I am 100% sure you will find something and when you do it will be perfect for you - so hang in there.

    Glad to hear you're a Libra - one of my favorite signs! (My husband is one and so is a good friend of mine!)


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