A Giant Fantasy Job
2011-10-27, 4:30 p.m.
recently on Chaos Attraction
So I had two days in a row of job search classes, joy. (Last one is next week, thank gawd.) Today's was kind of an extension/related to yesterday's class, except this one was coming up with various version of the "elevator pitch" to blab to people while in an interview or networking.
Which reminds me: how much luck does anyone actually have with "networking," per se? As in, you meet a person once, you exchange contact information, you e-mail them or whatever later, and it actually leads to something? Because dear god, that shit has never worked for me. At BEST I get an "I can't e-mail you right now, but I'll e-mail you later" e-mail. Which, apparently, translates into "I have zero interest in ever speaking to you again," but is even more obnoxious because e-mailing someone to say you can't e-mail them is even more ridiculous than "I'll call you." Like, I have proof RIGHT HERE that your hands aren't broken, hello? Why didn't you just ignore my e-mail instead of obnoxiously pointing out that you could answer it, you just don't wanna? As far as I can tell from experience, "networking" really only seems to work when you have the opportunity to hang out with the person on a regular enough basis to develop a relationship of some sort. So really, shouldn't people be advised to get into the frequent vicinity of someone, rather than this kind of elevator pitch thing?
(Another reason to move to LA.)
Anyway, other than the part where I am all "networking really doesn't seem to work like that, I don't think...." about it, it's probably a good idea to boil down who you are, what your experience is, and what you're looking for. They made us listen to other people's various pitches. This is how I discovered that nobody who works in HR can tell you what they do. No, LITERALLY. I don't mean like, for security reasons they can't tell you. I mean, there were several folks in there I talked to and their pitches were, "I have twenty years in human relations."
I was all, "um, could you be more specific? Because I have no idea what y'all do in there, other than sort people's resumes and throw them into the trash." I mean, the whole point of these classes at times is to TELL PEOPLE WHAT YOU DO. If you write grants, say you write grants. If you do customer service, say you do customer service. It's listing your transferable skills if you need to transfer them.
So I said that to these people, and trying to get them to say literally what they do all day at work when they come in and sit at their desk was like pulling teeth. One of them told me, "Another HR person would know exactly what I meant by saying that" (i.e. that she had X # of years). Great, I said, but you may end up having to apply at places that are not HR and they're not gonna know this stuff. It's rather scary how I have absorbed SO MUCH from all this career counseling that I can give the spiels like "Don't abbreviate unless you are sure your audience knows what you mean by that, by which I mean that you already work with those people" without even thinking about it.
I finally got one person to admit that she went over people's benefits and tried to solve their problems with that, and I said, "Great! Put down problem solving, then!"
So, for those of you wondering what people in HR do other than resume sorting, I honestly cannot tell you beyond that.
Back to the me me me of all of this, I didn't exactly write my blurbs to appeal to getting my current sort of job. I listed my varying skills, which are not all used for paid employment, saying that I wanted something that used all of my talents, something that would let me work on projects. Waaaaay back in the day when I was a reporter, the best thing about it was the part where I was doing different projects/articles all the time, and I miss the variety.
The third girl I had to read my elevator pitch to, who did not work in HR, was the only one to ask, "What kind of job is that going for?"
"I have no idea," I said. "I know it doesn't exist in real life, dammit." The point of work is to fit into someone else's box, and that box doesn't exist.
You know, I say I don't know what I want to do. A lot. Well, the thing is, I know and I don't know. Which is to say: I know what I want to do, but it doesn't freaking exist yet.
I think the closest concepts that exist to what I want are the Craft Center where I volunteer, the idea of a think tank,(specifically more the name of it than the idea of a place that comes up with policies) and Pimp My Ride. I'm thinking of some kind of organization that's part hangout place, part place to take classes, and part "craft think tank." The Pimp My Ride bit...well, if you haven't read the show, scroll down to the part about the custom car places. They had a Wacky Cast Of Characters that all specialized in sections of the cars, like the paint job, wheels, electronics, accessories. I want something like that: a board of directors with different skills in stuff.
Theoretically, it's some kind of problem solving, troubleshooting agency for... weird problems. You come in, you present your issue, and we've got a think tank of folks with mad skills in a variety of areas that will then brainstorm about ways to solve the problem. Optimally we'd have some kind of creative financial whiz to do the finances and estimate a price to charge them, then we put a team of experts on the problem. In addition to the board of director sorts, we'd have freelance-ish experts in related topics that would be called in to help put some kind of weird show on, or do an art exhibit, or...well, whatever weird shit might go down in LA that could use us.
I fear this sounds a wee bit like Entertainment 720 on Parks and Recreation (in the "what the hell is it that you do to make money?") sort of way, and yeah, it is. It'd probably take a gajillion dollars to set up proper facilities and it seems unlikely there'd be a lot of customers even in LA, especially in our shitty modern era when nobody has money or ever will again. So yeah, it's all a giant fantasy.