Monthly Archives: January, 2012

Interview Strategies

So you’ve turned in your impressive resume and someone has called you for an interview.  Seriously?  They called you?  Wow . . . uh, well, anyway, there are certain things you must know before you interview for a job.

First off, anyone who told you that looks aren’t everything never had a job interview.  First impressions are key to snagging that job.  You don’t want to go into a job interview wearing something really stupid, like anything worn in the 80’s, or you’ll be judged before you can begin!  No, you want something conservative, yet striking, something that

BAD!

says you are doing them a favor by applying at this measly little job.  Try having money sticking out of every pocket to show how successful you are.  Since you are obviously broke, you can either steal it (another career path right there!) or use monopoly money.  You won’t fail to make an impression!

GOOD

So you’ve got the right look.  Now you’re ready for the interview.  Don’t be late, that looks bad.  Show up as early as possible, like the day before.  Do not break eye contact with your future interviewer until he invites you into his office (or has you escorted out).  Use a firm handshake (a few broken fingers shows you are serious).  After your interviewer has recovered, he – or possibly he and a committee of people if you’re lucky – will start asking you questions.  So that you can be prepared, here’s some sample questions and answers.
 

So if the interview’s not going well, we will all hold up “X” signs.

 
Common Questions and Answers
Tell me something about you.
I’m the tallest midget in the world.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My greatest strength is my ability to see through walls and leap over tall buildings.  My greatest weakness is Kryptonite.  Hey, what’s that paperweight made out of?
What did you like least about your last job?
All that working stuff.  What a pain.
Why should we hire you?
I kidnapped your cat.  (Show a picture for proof)
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Right where you’re sittin’, buddy.  (grin widely)
What are your goals?
I hope to one day fit an entire bag of red hots in my mouth.  Also, I would like to fly.  Without a plane.
What would be your ideal working environment?
A bathtub filled with Jello.
How would a friend describe you?
As a saint – why?  Did one of them say something?  Who was it? (crack knuckles)
What type of salary do you expect?
Eleventy billion dollars.  A day.  Or whatever Oprah makes.
Describe a problem you’ve had, and how you solved it.
I once had this dead body to dispose of, and I didn’t know where to put it.  So I just stuck him in the meat grinder.  You don’t eat at Taco Bell, do you?
What type of person would you feel most comfortable working with?
Myself.  Except when the voices start arguing.  That’s annoying.
Is there anyone you could not work with?
Anyone who watches Toddlers and Tiaras.  Also, Hobbits.  Their hairy feet freak me out.
 
It is important to remember that interview questions are designed to test how well you react under pressure.   They are also designed for the amusement of managers.  The success of certain questions is measured in the amount of sweat around an applicant’s armpits.  But don’t worry.  Eventually you are going to get that job, because you have what it takes.  You’re determined, persistent, unavoidable.  And you have the manager’s cat.

Hang in there! You’re sure to snag a thrilling job soon!

 

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Job Search Fun!

Great news!  There's a new job open in the lab!

Great news!
There’s a new job open in the lab!

Lots of people are out of work.  Or they’re in work, and they hate it.  So they’re looking for a job they hate slightly less.  Who do they go to for help?

Luckily for these peeps, I have a vast amount of experience in applying and interviewing for jobs, since I’ve applied and interviewed for TONS of jobs that I have never gotten.  So I’m an expert.  For all you poor saps who are also looking for a job, I thought I might provide some tips.

First off, if you’re applying for anything higher in status than your local McDonald’s you are going to need a resume.  What am I saying?  Probably McD requires them too – how else will you get into Burger University? (seriously, there is one!)

For the job applicant that just doesn't give a crap.

For the job applicant that just
doesn’t give a crap.

But what’s a resume, you ask?  A resume is a way to “sell yourself” without actually taking off your clothes.  (Unless you’re applying for a prostitute position, though they usually aren’t quite so formal.)  You have to list your skills, education, and work experience.  You want this to look impressive, so be sure to leave out all those Fs you got in basket weaving, or the time you got fired for mooning your coworkers at Wal-Mart, or that pesky criminal record.  Here is an example:

I.P. Freely

Frank’s van

Butt Crack, Mississippi  111011!

Objective (this sounds important, but is just stating the obvious): To get a job so I can move out of     Frank’s van and hopefully Mississippi.

 Skills (Stuff you can do.  Use bullets – no, the kind on your keyboard, stupid)

  • Experience with multi-tasking (example: drinking while driving)
  • Ability to run really fast (especially when chased)
  • Expert license plate manufacturer and potato peeler

  Work Experience (places you showed up to at least once)

  Bob’s Bait Shop

Responsibilities: Reading comic books and playing with fish hooks.

  Monica’s Massage Parlor

Responsibilities: Massaging clients.  No – uh – just massage, that’s it, really.

  Fast Eddie’s Car Lot

Responsibilities: Repossessing cars from unknowing clients.

  Education (School – the place with all the desks)

Butt Crack High School and Juvenile Detention Center

Buford’s Burger Academy

Here's where you can get creative. The camera doodle is a nice touch.

Here’s where you can get creative. The camera doodle is a nice touch.

Okay, then, the next thing you’re going to need is references.  This requires you knowing important people, or at least pretending you do.  Considering how pathetic your resume is, you’d better come up with something good.  Here are some good examples:

Mother Teresa

–    Email: mteresa@mail.heaven.com

Sure she’s technically dead, but can you GET a better recommendation?

Oprah Winfrey

–     Email: owinfrey@mail.iamsoawesome.com

Everybody loves her.  Can’t go wrong.  She might even buy you a car.

Queen Elizabeth II

–     Email: QLiz2@mail.buckinghampalace.com

She’s old and rich and lives in a castle.  ‘Nuff said.

Okay, you’ve got your resume and your references.  Now what?  Let’s say they are really impressed (or very desperate) and they call you for an interview.  What do you do?  Stay tuned for my next segment.  The interview: try not to blow this one.

The Regulars (2.0): Academic Library

Something is wrong here. 
Reading in a library?
You get some different patrons in the academic library.  For one thing, there are few children, except during the summer when the various junior high and high school camps terrorize the campus.  Even most of them know better than to eat the books, though I did have one student ask me where the “C” section was, since he was doing a report on the Civil War.
Regular users are once again in the computer lab – although most of the computers are downstairs in the Reference area.  There is one small pod of four computers up in the Special Collections area.  There is a student who routinely comes with his pals and camps at the computers for a few hours.  My officemate and I like to call them “Beevis and friends” because they laugh like them.  Heh heh, heh heh heh, heh heh.  What’s sad is that they are probably too young to get the reference.

Microfilm:
Ancient Librarian Technology
Speaking of “Electric Youth” we also get college students doing work for their classes.  As part of their Speech classes, they are forced to use the Microfilm machines to look up their birthdays in the newspapers.  You know, back in old  . . . 1992???  WTF?  If you weren’t feeling old already, these students look at these machines like they came out of the 1800s, and comment on how “old school” they are.  You must show them how they function, over and over and over, until you can slip a reel of microfilm in that dumb machine and repeat the instructions even in your sleep.  Of course they can’t figure it out by themselves, and you don’t want them to try, seeing as how they can’t figure out where the Microfilm room is (big sign over door saying MICROFILM).  They usually mistake the office I share with my coworker for this room, just because it’s basically an enormous storage room with two desks.   And lots of stacked up newspapers.  One student asked me if it was the Washington Post.  Yes, yes, of course, the north Texas division.
After this assignment, they will never use the machines again.  Most likely, they won’t even make it back to our area, because not only do they have to enter a library, they have to go up the stairs and all the way across the building to get to us.  It’s a relatively safe place.  But of course college students are not the main ones wanting Special Collections services.  Here again come the very old.  These people come from Timbuktu, show up at about fifteen minutes till closing, and want some esoteric detail about a family member who might have gone to this school in 1922.  Or maybe 1940.  And it might not even be this school, or even this town.  But you look anyway.  They will probably need access to the monstrous bound newspapers with just a hint of mold that crumble at your touch, and of course they will want copies.  This is done down in the scanning room, or “cave” as I like to call it.  For quite a while we dealt with a rather finicky big mama scanner that sometimes worked wonderfully and other times just showed a white screen to screw with us.  It could take half an hour to get a single scan.  Now we have a new big mama scanner that doesn’t show a white screen, but does decide for you how to do certain scans.  The new printers and copiers are in league with it.  I suspect a takeover soon.
Sweet Old Library Patron
Another patron is the rich and/or influential patron that gave lots of money to the library, or perhaps is related to someone who did.  Often these people are old, so they have two things going for them.  They give a lot, and they’re sweet and harmless and elderly, so they get away with anything.   Many of them are on the Friends of the Library board.  If they plan a luncheon, they can change the time of the luncheon, the day, what is served, how many people are coming, how the room is arranged, and anything else that strikes their fancy on a whim, sometimes multiple times, up until the actual date, if it ever occurs.  If they have something of “value” they may donate it, but you have to keep it just so, and be sure to have it right where they can see it whenever they visit, etc.  I so want to live to be old so that I can be a pain-in-the-ass and people will still think I’m cute as a button!  That sounds awesome.
So that’s my evil plan.  Live long enough to get old and annoying, retire, and become a Library Regular.  I will have so many questions to ask those helpful librarians!

New Year’s Eve

 

It is New Year’s Eve, and everyone knows what happens on New Year’s Eve.  People get drunk, act like morons, kiss total strangers, pass out in their own vomit before the ball drops, and call in sick to work the next day.   But they also make resolutions – often broken by Valentine’s Day.  I’m no different, except mine is usually broken by the evening of January 1st.  Because, you see, I have the self control of your average two-year-old.  Usually I start off strong, with a list of crap I’m determined to do better this coming year.  As time passes, my expectations go down.  For example:

My Usual Resolutions:

Cleaning
  • I will clean the whole house!
  • Okay, I will clean half the house!
  • Well surely I will clean one room.
  • I will pick the gum wrapper off the floor (check)
Healthy Living / Diet
  • I will go to the grocery store and shop only for healthy natural foods for my family!
  • I will go to the grocery store and buy at least a few healthy foods for my family.
  • I will go to the grocery store at some point.
  • I will eat take out from Wendy’s.  (check)

Healthy Living / Fitness

  • I will start an exercise program.  I will work out at the gym at least three times a week.  I will do my exercise videos.  I will not eat sugar.  I will lose 40 pounds.
  • I will start an exercise program.  I will work out at the gym at least twice a month.  I will find my exercise videos.  I will cut out cake.  I will lose 20 pounds.
  • I will write out an exercise program to start later.  I will show up at the gym occasionally to justify my membership fees.  I will cut out cake with coconut (that I don’t like).  I will lose and gain between one and five pounds.
  • I will do nothing and then feel guilty and scrape the coconut off the cake and eat it. (check)
Writing that list was exhausting. 
Time for a drink and a smoke!

Time Management

  • I will cut out Internet and computer entirely except when necessary for work.
  • I will cut my Internet and computer use to a few hours a week with the exception of projects directly related to work.
  • I will cut my Internet use to a couple of hours a day outside of work.  Work computer usage will consist of 8 hours a day, roughly 1 hour of which is actual concentrated work related tasks.
  • I will occasionally leave the computer for food, bathroom, and sleep.  (check)

Finances

  • I will draw up a budget and stick to it.  I will put aside 500 dollars a month for savings.  I will stop buying immature things like video games and buy adult stuff like furniture and groceries and cooking utensils and washing machines that don’t stop mid-cycle.
  • I will draw up a budget.  I will continue to put 300 dollars a month in savings, but this time won’t immediately transfer it back into my flailing checking account.  I won’t buy quite so many video games, except the fitness ones.  (see “fitness” list)
  • I won’t keep a budget, but I will occasionally hold my breath and peek at my online account, then celebrate being in the black by buying several new video games, some of which are somewhat related to fitness.  (example: Mario sure runs a lot.)
  • I will not declare bankruptcy. (check)
And so on.  I’ve found that the best way to accomplish your resolutions is to set the bar really, really low, like preferably bury it in the ground.  Then you can’t help but come out on top.  If everyone were to make their resolutions this way, many more of us would celebrate success in 2012.  Here’s some suggestions:
  • In 2012 I will sleep.
  • In 2012 I will eat.
  • In 2012 I will drink
  • In 2012 I will go potty.
  • In 2012 I will inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
  • In 2012 I will post all of these accomplishments on facebook.
Also remember to eat lots of fiber

You see?  You’re probably doing some of these things RIGHT NOW.  (I’m hoping it is not the potty one.) That’s not so hard.  In fact, all you really have to do is stay alive.  That could be tricky, so you’d better never leave your house.  Then you’re safe.  Unless your house burns down, or a tornado hits it, or you fall and can’t get up and there is no one to come rescue you.  Oh, hey, I almost forgot.

Happy New Year!