My job in human resources is never boring. Every day I’m astounded at what I see as young people apply for jobs with my organization. Most of what I see that causes me to reject a resume could easily be corrected, and (I suspect) most of these job seekers just don’t know any better. Therefore, here is a list of the top ten things to do when looking for a job:
01. Put your name and contact information on your resume — If I worked for the American Psychic Association, maybe it would be different. However, if you want me to contact you, I need to know your name and a working telephone number and/or e-mail address.
02. Choose a professional e-mail address to send your cover letter and resume — I recently received a resume with impressive credentials and experience from an e-mail address along the lines of firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not kidding. Now, I could read two stories into that e-mail address, but I won’t. The point of the matter is if this is how you’re going to represent yourself, how will you represent our organization?
03. Do not include inappropriate pictures — Unless you’re applying to be a flight attendant, I don’t understand why you would want to include a picture on your resume. If you do, though, give some thought to how the picture will present you to a stranger. I recently received a resume that included a topless glamour shot, with the applicant covering her bare breasts with her hands. Maybe it would slide if you’re applying for a job as a wet nurse, but, again, it makes me wonder how you’ll represent my organization if you get the job.
04. Textspeak — As more people embrace smartphones, the more resumes are sent from them to me, often accompanied by messages such as, “WOULD LUV 2 WORK 4 U.” I often wonder what they would think if I replied back with “NFW!”
05. Be honest about your education — Recently, under “Education” on her resume, a job candidate wrote: WORKING ON IT. (Better to list no education.) List the school you attended, the degree you received, your major, and your conferment date. If some of this information is missing, a phone call often reveals you’re lacking the credential or it’s in an unrelated field of study.
06. Casual greetings on cover letters — For the love of god, please do not begin your cover letter with “Hey, girl!” or “Yo, what’s up?” Call the company and find out whom you should address your letter to, or go with “hiring manager.” Also, check to ensure you’re sending your cover letter and resume to the correct company. It seems like people would no better, but it happens a lot.
07. Identify the position you wish to apply for — I frequently receive cover letters and resumes that give no indication of the position they’re for. If I have to stop and figure it out, there’s a greater chance I’m going to set it aside or reject it. Also, when you write you’re interested in any position available, it’s just as desperate as last call in a singles bar. If you’re not qualified in the position you’ve applied for, and I see your experience and education would fit another position I have available, I will consider you for it. Trust me.
08. Send your resume only once — When you send me your resume over and over again without adding new information, it’s annoying and wastes my time. If you want to be sure I received your resume, call me and ask. I’m happy to do so. However, if you fax it again and again, you’re wasting paper and costing my company money. If you must send it to me again, consider adding something to your original resume. For example, if you’ve lost five pounds since you last sent me your resume, consider adding “[Your Name] Now with less fat!”
09. Prepare a short voice mail greeting that identifies your telephone number and name — I’ve encountered a surprising number of people who recorded long-winded voice mail greetings: reading scripture, playing their favorite ballad in full, or reciting “The Epic of Gilgamesh.” Please don’t do this. Just identify yourself by name and confirm your telephone number. I just want to leave a brief message for you to call me back. I don’t need to be converted, moved, or entertained.
10. Be realistic about your transferable skills — When you read our job ad, you might immediately think you’d be a perfect for the position, but honestly take a look at your education and experience. Case in point: Just because you trained seals at Sea World, doesn’t qualify you to teach preschool children. Trust me, it’s not the same thing.
I’m not sure whether it’s due to sleep deprivation or the early onset of dementia, but I’ve caught myself talking to other people about a plethora of topics of which I know nothing. To hear me speak, one would think I’m an expert witness for the subject du jour; in reality, I have no idea.
I don’t mean to mislead others, but in my enthusiasm to be helpful, I often start sharing information and opinions as if they were verified and true. For example, the other day I was in line at the grocery store, trying to sort out why the celebrities without makeup featured on the scandal sheets were celebrities, when I heard the woman standing behind me say to another woman, “I don’t even understand how Billy would even become a woman! What are they going to do? Cut his talleywhacker off?”
Before I could stop myself, I turned to her and said, “Actually, it’s called a penectomy. The surgeon, basically, removes the testes and penis, but inverts the skin of the foreskin and penis to shape a fully sensitive vagina and clitoris.”
Both women blinked at me. I worried I might have been presumptuous by inviting myself into their conversation, when she teared up and said, “God must have sent you to me to tell me that, you angel.”
““Well, I don’t know about that.” Realizing I might have gotten myself in deeper than I should have, I pushed my items closer to the cashier, so as not to waste any time.
““I just don’t understand how my grandson, Billy, could feel like he’s a girl born in a boy’s body. He’s six-foot-four and weighs 220 pounds and played high school football.”
I smiled. “It happens in the best of families,” I said, motioning to the cashier with my head to scan my protein bars faster.
““Have you been through a penectomy, yourself?” the woman asked.
““No, no, no, I’m still very much in tact.” I slid my debit card through the credit card reader so fast it sparked. “You know, if you just google transgender support groups in Atlanta, I’m sure more knowledgable resources will come up.” I grabbed my bags and ran out the door.
Back in my car, I wracked my brain, trying to remember where I’d ever heard of a penectomy, then recalled I probably remembered it from the Brian De Palma film Dressed to Kill, which I had seen on cable as a teenager. I promised myself I would never try to be helpful and give information to others like I was an expert witness.
Since that time, I’ve shared information about hamster allergies, prostate massage for better health, practical uses for buffalo dung, implements of torture and execution in 15th century France, the secret formula for Coca-Cola, and why the character of Dana Scully on The X-Files is so popular with lesbians. Clearly, I’m out of control, so don’t listen to me if I offer to give you advice on to make the perfect barbecue sauce with peanut butter.
Instead of jetting off somewhere tropical last week, I stayed home for my vacation and cleaned my bedroom. I don’t know where all the junk came from, but I knew something had to be done. I removed two desktop computers, two laptop computers, a package of popsicle sticks, two old gym bags, a plethora of motivational cassette tapes, bowling shoes, and a slightly used black athletic supporter. And those are just the things I can remember off the top of my head.
““What’s wrong with this laptop?” Jeff asked.
““The ‘F’ key doesn’t work,” I said.
““Is that all?”
““Just try typing ‘The fluffy muff is iffy and naff’ and see how easy it is.”
Jeff picked up my bowling shoes. “I see you’re finally letting these go.”
““It’s not easy.”
““Yes, it is.”
““That’s easy for you to say,” I said. “Those shoes and I have been together for 22 years. Sadly, it’s the longest relationship I’ve had.”
““How many times have you gone bowling in the past 12 months?”
““Exactly, if you go bowling, you can rent shoes.”
““It seems a bit like prostitution, in light of my long-term relationship with my pair.”
Jeff held up my black Bike jock. “I’m surprised you’re giving this up.”
““All of my workout shorts have liners. What do I need it for?”
““In some circles, this would be considered fetish wear.” He raised and lowered his eyebrows rapidly for emphasis.
““Please don’t cheapen my pursuit of physical perfection with your gutter humor.”
““Regardless, you’ll feel better once it’s gone.”
I opened the door to my closet and evaluated the crap piled to the ceiling. “It’s so overwhelming. I just keep asking myself, ‘What if I throw something away and then I need it?’”
““When did you buy this calligraphy kit?” Jeff asked.
““I guess in 1998.”
““Why did you buy it?”
““So I could help Rose address her wedding invitations, once she found a boyfriend and he proposed to her.” Jeff rolled his eyes. “Don’t even go there. It’s not like I had a crystal ball and could have known she would become a nun.”
““I’m putting the calligraphy kit in the Goodwill pile,” he said.
““The real challenge, though, is clothes.”
““Because of the sentimental value. Someone I cared about gave me that Hawaiian shirt with the neon Hello Kitties all over it.”
““When was the last time you wore it?”
““Never, but only because the right occasion has ever arisen.”
““And what occasion would that be?” Jeff asked.
“A fund raiser for radioactive felines.” Once I expressed my logic out loud, I realized there was no point in justifying keeping anything I didn’t use. After all, I tended to wear the same clothes over and over again. “Okay, put that in the Goodwill pile, too.”
““See how easy that is?” Jeff asked.
I nodded. It was even easier not to tell him about my polka dot Bananarama boxer shorts that were held together by a tenuous seam that I seldom wore and were stuffed in the back of my underwear drawer. Maybe next year, I told myself.
The SlimSucker Swimsuit uses a space age, patented LipoLycra technology to use the body’s perspiration system to suck body fat from the hips and waist and push it up into the breasts, presenting a more busty figure.
““The SlimSucker is fantastic,” said Melanie Majors, 36, a paralegal, wife, and mother of three. “After the triplets ripped me to shreds during childbirth, I had a difficult time exercising, so I had a hard time losing that post-pregnancy weight. Thanks to the SlimSucker one-piece, I look like a super heroine drawn by a horny, thirteen-year-old boy and capable of breastfeeding an entire third world nation.”
The SlimSucker was designed by Theodore Reichen, 56, a biologist specializing in harmful parasites. “I was observing the Tichi Tichi in the Belgian Congo, a tiny parasite that digs into the flesh of a larger organism and uses a feeding tube to suck the life out of another creature.
““A few weeks later while vacationing with my family in Panama City, Florida and seeing just how many obese Americans were on the beach in Speedos and bikinis, I thought, why couldn’t the science of the Tichi Tichi be used to design a slimming swimsuit for larger folk?”
In addition to the lovely one-piece for women, the SlimSucker is also available in trunks for men. The LipoLycra technology has been modified to move the fat from the gut and push it down into a special codpiece, which inflates the ego as well as his junk.
““The SlimSucker trunks are awesome,” say Kenny Ortega, 27, part-time playa and owner of Between the Bunz. “It’s not only changed my physique, it’s changed my life. I cannot even walk down the beach without some babe giving me her digits. It’s also brought a lot of attention to my hot dog stand, too, and business is booming.”
The SlimSucker retails for $59.95 and comes in four retro 70s colors: black, gold, avocado, and bone white.
After a long day at work, the last thing you want is to ride a cramped, crowded train home. You can, however, make a little more breathing room for yourself by following these ten tips to have a seat to yourself on the train:
01. Throw your head back and cackle for no reason.
02. If someone sits down beside you, burst into tears and tell them they sat on teeny tiny Lady Hoboken.
03. Borrow your friend’s boa conscrictor and perform a dance with it while sitting down.
04. Keep crossing your legs and say, “I don’t know if I can hold it much longer.”
05. Ask the person who sits next to you if they would mind if you performed a Black Mass.
06. Whine to your neighbor about the injustice of being unable to legally marry your goat since you have a such a great relationship, not mention that the sex is totally worth him eating your nightgown off your body.
07. Ask your fellow passenger if she would like to meet. Mr. Happy, the hedgehog who lives in your rectum.
08. Throw your leg over your head and begin giving yourself a tongue bath.
09. Stick your hand, palm-down, on the seat next you to you and tell people, “Sorry, super glue accident.”
10. Turn to your neighbor and ask, “Do you love singing showtunes as much as I do?”
In my opinion, people have become really impatient over the past decade. We live in a world where information can be found in seconds via the Internet, text, social media, or even by calling someone’s mobile phone. Have you noticed most of your friends send you messages via Facebook instead of using your e-mail address or calling you? God forbid they should have to stop playing Farmville to communicate with you.
Personally, I think it started years before with the highway system in the United States. No matter how high the speed limit, it never seems to be fast enough. How can it be that in a 65 miles per hour speed zone where I’m chugging along at 80 miles per hour that other drivers are still zipping around me? Where can they possibly be going that requires a near attempt at breaking the sound barrier? I could understand if someone is in labor with a baby’s legs hanging out doing flutter kicks, but all those men behind the wheel can’t be pregnant.
I went with 2Fs to celebrate Mother’s Day with his family, since my mom is 800 miles away in Texas and, most likely, either at Zumba or belly dancing class right now. Jeff’s family decided to unofficially adopt me several years ago, so I always sign my cards from: YOUR FAVORITE ADOPTED SON.
On the way down to his older sister’s house, 2Fs told me that when he was living in London during his work exchange program in college in 1980, he decided to cook a traditional Southern meal for his British friends, so he mailed his mother a letter to ask for the recipes.
““You’re kidding me!” I said. “How long did it take?”
““About seven days.”
““Seven days! God created the world in that same amount of time and all you were trying to do is get your mother’s recipe for fried chicken.”
Nowadays, mom would send you a link to her YouTube channel where she’s uploaded a short clip of her making the dang recipe. Who has the patience to wait seven days–well, really fourteen days, since you have to send your letter, then wait for a reply.
It reminded me of when I used to order British twelve inch singles from a mail order company in Illinois. I’d look through their catalog, fill out the form, and send my order off with a cashier’s cehck for the cost of the records, plus shipping and handling. It would sometimes take weeks to receive my records. Today, we go to the artist’s website, where we can listen to the song and watch the music video. If we like it, we can click on the iTunes icon and download it without paying shipping and handling. Who has the patience to wait weeks, anymore?
All of this has combined to make most people very impatient listeners. We want others to get to the point before we feel the overwhelming urge to disengage and check our e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter feed. It got me wondering how to get someone’s attention once I’ve lost it.
Jeff’s mother told an interesting story this evening about their pastor, who has a reputation for sermons that go on a tad too long. When he sees the congregation drifting off, he usually does something unexpected to get their attention. A few Sundays ago, evidently he pulled out a replica of a hand grenade from the podium and hurled down the main aisle of the church. Once he had everyone’s attention, he finished the sermon. What a brilliant idea! I can wait to try that out.
A single friend of mine told me recently that she knows within ten minutes of a first date, she knows whether she should agree to a second date or go into the Witness Protection Program. When I asked her how she knew, she said what people say always gives themselves away. Here are ten examples of red flags revealed through conversation on a first date:
01. “You remind me so much my dead wife. Did I mention she was a saint?”
02. “I ordered a bottle of wine. Did you want one for yourself, too?”
03. “A lot of women say they want a baby, but basically it’s just a parasite living on the placenta of the living and making no contribution to society.”
04. “People always ask me about the chainsaw I carry in the back of my pickup, then I usually show them how much fun it is to scare hitchhikers.”
05. “Some women like men to give them jewelry. For me, I prefer to be made the beneficiary of a large life insurance policy.”
06. “As soon as I saw your boobs, I knew you were the one.”
07. “The facilitator of my anger management group told me I need to be forthright about my history of restraining orders, but he really pisses me off.”
08. “I hope you don’t mind my mother tagging along. We do everything together.”
09. “My ex-girlfriend told me I was a sex addict, but I can quit at any time–and I never have sex alone.”
10. “You seem like the kind of a guy who doesn’t care about a girl with a little mustache problem. I should know; I’ve been shaving since I was eleven.”
When Jane Argo, a dietician and foodie, 38, formerly felt overwhelmed by the ups and downs of life, she used to go straight to comfort food for relief. However, after gaining 30 lbs. after her daughter was born, Argo decided to comit to lifestyle changes that would improve her health, eventually becoming a vegetarian.
Argo’s husband, Ted, 43, a police officer, used to kid her that after becoming a vegetarian, she became an angrier person, as she was no longer able to seek out her favorite comfort foods, because they were made with animal products.
““One day I was just at wit’s end after a difficult day and I craved my grandmother’s wiener schnitzel,” Argo said. “I was so frustrated I just wanted to hit something, and that’s when I saw the leftover pancakes from breakfast.”
Taking tenderizer hammer to the pancakes, Argo proceeded to pound the hell out of the pancakes until they were the size of manhole covers. She then breaded them and deep-fried them in canola oil and served them for dinner, smothered in maple syrup.
““The family loved them. Ted said the taste reminded him of fried chicken and waffles,” Argo said. “I also noticed that all the stress and frustration of the day.”
She christened her new recipe a Pfannkuchenitzel, a mash-up of traditional the traditional German pancake and a schnitzel, a boneless piece of meat tenderized by pounding flat.
Whenever she grew agitated, Argo continued to make her new dish, and other vegetarian mothers noticed and asked her secret. That’s when she first had the idea to offer a cooking class, The Zen of Pfannkuchenitzel.
Before long vegetarians were making the pilgrimage to Argo’s house to beat the hell out of their frustrations on pancakes and deep-fry them for lunch.
““I used to scald my husband’s dinner when he pissed me off and he complained about having to eat my hate for dinner,” said Margot Ellenberger, 51, a housewife and vegetarian. “Now he’s constantly thinking up ways to pull my chain, just so he can have Pfannkuchenitzel for dinner.”
Although it may seem everyone loves Pfannkuchenitzel, Ed Tanner, 64, the owner of an International House of Pancakes in town is not a fan. “That little vegetarian gal has hurt my business by almost 35% and I’m IHOPing mad!”
Argo, in an act of contrition, has offered to treat Tanner to a free class. “I’m saving a hammer for Ed,” said Argo. “He’s always welcome to come over and beat the crap out of pancake at my house.”
I’d just like to apologize to David Sedaris for everything I did on World Book Night on Tuesday, but it was the pushy drunk gay guy’s fault.
I suppose I should start at the beginning, which–if I’m really fair–should also cast blame on author Dorothy Allison. I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Dorothy last summer. We were discussing conservative politicians and vibrators, as you typically do when you’re in conversation with a Southern writer and self-identified lesbian femme, when I had mentioned I had seen an infomercial for an intriguing exercise program on my flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
““I like the fact that it’s all cardio and resistance training, yet doesn’t require any equipment.”
““Oh, that’s the Insanity Workout!” In yet another example of the small world we live in, Dorothy’s partner works for Beach Body, the company that produces the Insanity Workout. Although Dorothy could care less whether I actually exercised along with the DVDs, she did encourage me to buy them, so she and her partner could continue to support their son, Wolf–and she’d appreciate it if I kept pushing copies of Bastard Out of Carolina to readers while I’m at it.
Well, I filed that way and didn’t really think about it again until a few weeks ago when I realized I was bored with the gym and running. I wanted something new, something challenging, something different. That’s when I saw the ad for the Insanity Workout and decided to order under one condition: I had to commit to doing the workouts six-days per week for the next sixty days.
Since Tuesday was World Book Night, I figured I’d better leave work a bit early, so I had time to complete it before I went to the bookstore. I was only three days into the Insanity Workout and figured it would be real easy to skive off, instead. Plus, after my shift at the bookstore and Jeff and I grabbed some dinner at Grant Central Pizza, I still needed to come home and blog for the next day and write three pages on my manuscript. I was a man with a plan and nothing would get in my way.
When I got home, however, I found my first obstacle. The contractor was at the house finishing up the punch list on the laundry room renovation, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do–except I had to do my Insanity Workout. But I couldn’t do the Insanity Workout while someone was there. What if they saw me? Trying to make the best of the situation, I managed to write my blog post until it was time to go to the bookstore.
Later, when I explained my Insanity frustration to 2Fs, he would ask, “Why couldn’t you just do your workout with Brandon there?”
““You don’t understand,” I said. “This workout requires a lot of jumping and it sounds like a herd of dinosaurs stampeding across the hardwoods.”
““I don’t think Brandon would care.”
““Look, the truth of the matter is I don’t want anyone to see me exercising, okay? It’s like having someone walk on you in the middle of a prostate exam, while on your back, and administered by a young female doctor of Indian ancestry with a valley girl accent, okay?”
Wisely, Jeff let it go. I watched the bookstore and finished the bi-weekly e-newsletter, while he left to hand out free books to light and/or non readers for World Book Night.
After we closed and Jeff dawdled around doing something in the back room that just couldn’t wait, I wondered if I would manage to stay awake long enough to do my workout once I ever made it home. We finally made it to Grant Central and ordered our food. When we sat down, I decided to ask Jeff what was in the box he was carrying.
““They’re copies of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris,” he said. “I thought we’d hand them out at Mary’s after dinner.” I physically restrained my hands to keep from smacking myself in the forehead. My schedule was getting further behind than a dentist’s office on a rainy afternoon.
““I don’t want to hand out books,” I said, trying to sound pleasant through gritted teeth.
““Then you can carry my box for me.” Jeff smiled. “You seem a bit tense.”
Luckily, our food arrived then, because it gave me something to chew.
For those who are unfamiliar with Mary’s, it’s a little bar in East Atlanta Village that Logo once named the friendliest gay bar in North America. Loaded with books, Jeff and I entered. Wouldn’t you know, I thought to myself, Tuesday is one of the few nights each week when Mary’s isn’t smoke-free.
It was also karaoke night.
I staked out a corner with the box of books, and Jeff went from customer to customer, handing copies of Me Talk Pretty One Day. That’s when the drunk gay guy staggered up to me and thrust in my face a black Sharpie and copy of the book opened to the title page.
““Here, I want you to sign this for me,” he slurred.
““I didn’t write the book,” I said.
““It doesn’t matter, just write ‘For my friend Kevin.’”
I sighed and scratched the words out on the title page, then handed it back to him.
““No, you have to sign your name!”
““But I’m not David Sedaris,” I said.
““It doesn’t matter, just sign it.”
Now, I could have easily signed David Sedaris’ name, but it was dishonest. Plus, what if Kevin ever tried to pass this book off as signed copy? On the other hand, I didn’t want to sign my name, because … well, it was a lot like having someone walk in on you in the middle of a prostate exame by a young female doctor of Indian ancestry with a valley girl accent.
I took a deep breath and considered what would be the perfect name to sign a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day for a drunk guy in a gay bar on World Book Night. Then something came to me and I laughed. I signed the book and handed it back to the drunk guy. He took one look at it and slurred, “Perfect!”
Once we finished and were walking back up the street to the bookstore, I told Jeff about what happened and how it drove home that although it’s good to be disciplined and have a schedule, it’s also good to be flexible and maintain a sense of humor aboute life.
““So, how did you sign the book?” 2Fs asked.
““‘Love, always. Peter Coxswain.’”