Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And You Know What Else, Part Infinity

This post is going to be snarky and snippy and written with a sneer, as I seem to have an attitude problem today. I might take it down later, but I might not. It all depends on whether or not my frame of mind improves.

I had to go to another outplacement session today. This one was on resume writing, and it was actually not bad, except for the presence of a fellow participant. This guy was a former creative director at some organization and he was downsized out of a job. The first indication that my nerves would suffer grievous injury at his hands was when he started to spread. His stuff was everywhere. His chair was everywhere. HE was everywhere. He leaned the chair back as far as it would go, until it was touching the conference room window, and then stretched his legs out as far as they would go, so that I, who was sitting next to him, was completely walled in. Then, he started with the questions.

You know, stupid questions don't bother me. I have no objection to a stupid question when it's asked in good faith because the asker actually needs the answer. I myself have asked an occasional stupid question. What I hate is stupid questions when it's clear that the asker fully knows the answers and he's asking the questions only to draw attention to himself, or to win public approval for asking such incisive, relevant, good questions.

Picture the setting: a very typical, very polished office suite, which includes a reception desk, a conference room with one wall consisting entirely of a huge window, a kitchen (with an awesome coffee machine), a mailroom, and some carrel-type workstations. The trainer tells us that our service includes free use of the workstations. OK, great, fine. Stretchy raises his hand. "Are those computers PCs or Macs?"

What do you think they are, dumbass? Yes, that's right, they're PCs, just like the computers in 9o% of the offices in the United States. "So. I guess you don't have InDesign available?" No. No InDesign. "OK", he says. "I have it at home, I just thought I'd check, just in case". Just in case of what? In case no one would get just by looking at you, and by noticing the use of the words "creative" and "design" in every single sentence you utter, that you're a wild, creative Mac guy and not a PC accountant type?

We're discussing which volunteer positions and community organizations are useful on a resume, and which are not. Here's Stretchy's next question (remember, he's seeking work as a Creative Director): "I've been a national board member for an arts organization. Is that appropriate?" Why yes, Stretchy! It IS appropriate! Isn't that a surprising and unexpected answer to that question? And do tell us more about your artistic creativity!

Now we're just discussing general principles. The obvious stuff: Spelling counts. If you don't know the difference between "which one?" and the witch who flies on a broom, spell check will not help you. Don't have a dumbass email address. Use a font that's easy to read. Blah. blah. blah. "This is so scary", says Stretchy. "I'm not used to dealing with corporate types" (yes, he seriously said that, in a room full of people of whom 80% might have been described as corporate types) "I'm just used to doing things in a more (fill in the adjective here) way".

Really? That is an astonishly original worldview, Stretchy. "Corporate types" are stiflingly conservative and complacent and conformist! Only "creative" people can hold on to their integrity, their joie de vivre, their very selves. It's you against all the men and women in the Grey Flannel Suits, who have sold their souls to The Man. Stay strong, Stretchy. Don't sell out, dude.

(I told you this would be snarky.)


themom said...

Snark away...I'm amazed you actually stayed in the room with such an ASS!! I would have been hoofing my way out the door, with a casual aside I'm sure. BTW, I filled in the adjective and it wasn't pretty!

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

What a tool. I laughed aloud at "Stretchy". You are so funny. Please be snarky and snippy as often as you like.

FranIAm said...

It is very surreal as someone who went to outplacement and then worked in outplacement briefly, to read this.


That guy sounds like a real piece of work. Stretchy. You is so funny.

And BTW, the email addresses - I kid you not, I had resumes come in that said things like "sexygurl2828@a... com and nonsense like that.

Hellooooo?! What are people thinking?

Lisa said...

I can just imagine your Really? face when he wasn't looking at you. Otherwise, I'm sure you were polite and kind and generous of spirit with the man-child.

I'm glad you took notes so you could share the fun with us. You did take notes, right, to keep from stabbing him?

SaoirseDaily2 said...

You should have just slapped him off his chair! I hate blowhearts like that.

Anonymous said...

Snarky and AWESOME.

There's one of those in every damn class and every damn time I want to pummel them.

Matty Boy said...

If you keep the post up, I will link to it this Friday and start the Random 10 with the non-random song Sensitive Artist by King Missile.

It's a great song and it's on YouTube!


CDP said...

Themom--I love your ObamaMom avatar! I took notes to keep my sneer somewhat hidden.

Lady--I have to admit, I was laughing at my own joke with "Stretchy". I hope he's not in any more of the classes I have to go to.

Fran--I had an applicant for an executive assistant position (for our very conservative CEO) whose email address was "sexxxyangel938" (or some other number). She had to use the three xs, just in case we weren't getting what she was trying to convey.

Lisa--I TOTALLY took notes! How did you know?

Saoirse--he was tipped way back, and I was wishing the window wasn't supporting him, because he'd have tipped over backwards. Tee hee!

VA--there is one in every class or meeting or seminar, isn't there?

Matty--OK, you have a deal.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You are so hot when you're snarky.

Stephanie said...

Wait! I think I know this guy!

(Heh. My word ver was orgimore...)

Sauntering Soul said...

OMG! You are hysterical. Me likes it when you get snarky.

enc said...

I LOVE this post, and I used to be a
"creative" type: I was an art director for years. I never got into the Otherness of it, though. I liked being a part of things, rather than separating myself from people. I wish this guy luck. He's going to need it with that attitude.

BeckEye said...

Holy Fuck. I don't have InDesign. What do I do?? FOR THE LOVE OF STEVE JOBS, WHAT DO I DO??????????

CDP said...

Dr. M--dude harshed my mellow; I had no choice but to bring in the snark.

Stephanie--sadly, we all know him.

SS--ok, I'll lay on some more snark every so often!

enc--I know, I really like creative people, but not when they think that a creative bent raises them above the herd in some way.

BeckEye--Abandon hope, my friend. There is nothing I can do for you.

susan said...

It's just too bad the window wasn't open. That would have been a very suitable exit.

themom said...

Lisa has made me do this, her threat of peeing in my drawer scared me. So I have tagged you for this meme. Actually, I had fun with it.


dguzman said...

Once that effer boxed me in, I would've had to get "creative" on his ass. Then I would've told him "You're fucking with my chi, asshole."

BTW--I love this post. Don't take it down. Do more!

CDP said...

Susan--I so wanted out of that room, but at least it left me with something to write about.

themom--OK! I owe Stephanie the same one, so I'll take care of both at once

dguzman--the people have spoken; more snark!

pistols at dawn said...

Jesus, these people are a pain. I encounter them more often at film festivals, where they want to "ask a question" of the director that instantly turns into a 5 minute story about how they have a project just like this.

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