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When they say “pounding the pavement” what they don’t tell you is that they mean with your fists in frustration.

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Interview Questionnaire – Question #6
What are some of your likes and dislikes?

“I like talking to people and making them laugh. Writing, reading obscure graphic novels, and cooking fat-free, dairy-free, meat-free, low-carb food are hobbies of mine. I do not like extreme heat, golf, or mayonnaise.”

I crossed out that last line.

For five months now I have lived in Portland, Oregon (aka “Little Beirut,” whose unemployment rate is supposedly 4.9% unlike actual Beirut where the unemployment rate was 18% last time I checked.) I have had two jobs, one of which drove me to the very brink of insanity, the other of which I was fired from.

The first job was at a pilates studio. Perceived perks included seeing scantily clad women contort themselves into unnatural positions, proximity to my favorite coffee shop, and the fact that it seemed like the kind of job where I could just dial it in during the day and then go home to write. What actually wound up happening was that I became enslaved to the equivalent of Randy Nadell, my high-school nemesis who owned a Jaguar and smoked Parliament Lights. Like Randy my ex-boss made fun of everyone, had no loyalties, and enjoyed plastic surgery. Unlike Randy I actually had to kiss my ex-boss’ ass in order to make sure my rent was paid. This ended much like high-school: with tears and an inevitable therapy bill. Actually this time instead of a therapy bill it was a bar tab and in place of tears it was a histrionic, nonsensical resignation letter. Booyah.

Next I worked for a company that is so awesome that it still irks me to write about them because they let me go. And as much as I’d like to say something about how they will struggle and fall like all other internet start-ups (Y2K, bitches, I still have my water and duct tape in the closet) and that they have only expedited their doom by canning me, well, I know I didn’t fit in. The unnamed company, just like the rest of this town, sees me as just a little too weird. What was considered quirky on the East Coast is viewed as just plain old garden variety batshit here. I’m too intense, talk too aggressively, and swear like I have a sailor with Tourettes smuggled under my hoodie. Not exactly the strawberry jelly to Portland’s pot-smoking, jam band loving, crunchy hippy peanut butter. Chillax, to me, sounds like a serotonin inhibator.

I was fired on the corner of Davis and Third, across the street from my bus stop. My boss had run – literally run – out the door and down the stairs to catch me after I left work. He asked if I wanted a coffee. There was awkward small talk about some conference in California, email lists, and the weather. We walked around, I drank a Lurisia. Eventually I knew that I would have to take the bull by the horns and perform professional Hara-kiri:

Me: “So.”
Him: “So…uhm…”
Cue up awkward staring.
Me: “So, is there anything I can be doing differently at work.”
(omission of question mark intentional)
Him: “That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. I think we’re going to have to let you go.”

Fan-fucking-tastic. Karma for my righteous, cruel resignation letter from the pilates prison is played out across the street from a homeless shelter and the dim-sum restaurant where we had my “congratulations for being hired” luncheon a mere month ago. I’m out of work in Portland, again. This would be less frightening if I hadn’t sat in the office listening to them try to hire someone for a week…who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was going to replace me. Which means that I sat at my desk listening to my supervisor and boss mock the resumes belonging to people who, as is now revealed, were applying for my job.

Awkward. And disheartening.

This leaves me back at square one. Now, all halfway decent self-help books pertaining to the Great American Job Hunt tell you to evaluate your skill-set, usually in list form, and apply this list to your resume. So I now present to you sections of my resume and their translation:

Self-starter = Responds well to being yelled at.
Computer literate = Surfs the internet well. Hire me just because I do not have a MySpace account.
Highly organized = Entirely dependent on Post-Its to remember shit.
Punctual = Perpetually early due to mild OCD. Do not look in the refrigerator as I have brought lunch for the week and stacked it in ascending order.
Team player = This one is an actual lie with no translation. I do not play well with others, nor do I work well in groups. Female coworkers usually hate me, and I generally creep out anybody within my age group. On the plus side, I get along extremely well with older, skeevy men. Extra bonus points if they have a lazy eye or a record.

I leave you with my heroes, the Suicide Kings, breaking it down for you. Stay tuned. Looking for work in this town is a full time job. One that doesn’t pay. Much like, you know, blogging.

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