Why Won't Anyone Hire Me?!

Job Hunting
Greetings all, Steve here. That's right, Steve's back! Happy days are here again! Not to overstate the case, but I really did miss writing this column. I had an interesting vacation though. At least, I think I did. A friend took me out for a drink and I woke up a week later to learn that I'd been elected mayor of Puerto Vallerta. Good times.

First of all, I'd like to mention some details about the upcoming big giveaway contest: It was Doug's idea and we're giving stuff away. I have no other information. Sorry, I guess that was kind of anti-climactic.

Come on, admit it: you missed me!

So I'm job-hunting. Like a crazy person, all the time, every day, job-hunting. The fear drives me. Can't seem to get an interview, but the fear continues driving me nonetheless. I don't understand it. I mean, just look at my picture. Don’t I look like the sort of person you'd want to work with?

I've been thinking for a way to describe the process of job-hunting for those who haven't done it before and I think I have it. I don't want to sound negative here, but job hunting licks cattle.

Employers demand ridiculous things: 5 years experience in database management. 3 years experience working in a communist pet store. 8 years experience screwing up your life.

I saw one ad looking for a Midnight Shunt Driver. I don't know how to drive a shunt! I don't even know what the hell that is. Doug tells me that a shunt is something that is inserted into your spinal column. Odd thing to do at night, but then again, people are very busy here.

Actually, it sounds like a bad 60's serial Western. "And now, my friends, we once again join the adventures of the Midnight Shunt Driver. [Queue bad theme music.] We see the Midnight Shunt Driver roll up to a dusty saloon in a hard luck town. The Midnight Shunt Driver slips out of the front seat and we see he's wearing a 10-gallon hat, cowboy boots and spurs and has a scar across his face. [Queue tumbleweed.] He has an electric package tracker in a holster on his belt. He strolls, slowly but purposefully, through the double swinging saloon doors and says, 'Somebody here ordered a package. [Looks slowly around the room…] Well, partner, you don’t get it… unless you sign for it. Do you think you can sign for it…punk? Do ya?'"

Actually, that sounds like a pretty cool job.. It's probably less exciting in real life though.

Job ads say the most ridiculous things, things that no sane person would ever say. "Do you have a passion for legendary service?" Oh yeah, totally. That's what my girlfriend likes about me. "Come on over here and give me some of that legendary service." Sigh.

Here's one I actually saw, no kidding: Growth company, big opportunities. Shoes Included.

You can be a sofa expert. Honestly, I think I've got that one covered.

Must be willing to operate a shovel. Nope, sorry, that's outside the scope of my belief system.

Vampire hunter wanted. Must have own stake and vehicle. French an asset.

This one is strange: An open-minded woman can earn good money to let a busy, successful businessman smell her feet. Further proof that men are dumber than unmixed concrete. Sometimes I sort of loose faith in humanity, but usually only for brief periods. I haven't yet seen one advertising for a woman to clean a man's condo in a bunny suit and swim fins while humming the M*A*S*H theme song, but I assume that it is out there. That's a little bit more niche.

Actually, this one is kinda clever. It's from a landscaping company: "We like REAL GRASS."

Oh terrific. I can be a pet counselor. What, do I try to make the dog feel better about his co-dependant relationship with the cat? Upon further investigation, is turns out that 'pet counselor' is a euphemism for 'PET STORE CLERK!" Of course not many people would sign up for a job as a PET STORE CLERK!, but they might just sign up as a pet counselor.

Employers have really put a lot of thought into how to make low-level jobs sound better. This is instead, of course, of actually making the job better, by providing better salaries, better schedules and reducing the number of whippings. As a result, you know longer have to be ashamed to tell people you're a Sales Clerk. You're now a Sales Associate, though with hard work, you could move up to being a Sales Team Leader, where they give you a new shirt. But those are not your only options. You can be a Data Entry Technician, a Lawn Maintenance Engineer or a Waste Disposal Technician. The Waste Disposal Technicians in Vancouver are currently on strike, which is making the city smell really bad in the hot Summer sun. It's so bad that it sometimes makes me want to deposit some waste on the lawn, ruining all the hard work of the Lawn Maintenance Engineer.

I have a theory that you can tell how bad a job is by how confusing and uninformative the job description is. It's true. You know a job is terrible if the company has gone out of their way to construct an ad that uses a lot of big words, but doesn't tell you anything, so that after reading a 2-page job description, you still don't know what the stinking job is. "We are a growth company committed to continually striving for and exceeding an unmatched level of excellence in every area of our business. As such, we only hire people with the same qualities and are seeking self-starting, problem-solving individuals who constantly seek to expand and enrich their on-the-job experience with new challenges and wish to enhance our expansion goal. If this sounds like you, then we want you to challenge yourself by moving into an exciting career as a Midnight Shunt Driver."

The struggle continues.

Until next time, keep your pen on the page. And for crying out loud, if anyone has a job in the Vancouver, B.C. area, contact me!

Steve Sharam

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Did a double take...

My first thought was, "Poor Sara !!"
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


I am in good company here... allbeit unemployed company ;P

my artwork | my blog

awww hun

Many {huggles} for you...

I saw an add looking for someone with 20 years experience! whatthecrap is that about?!? I would have had to skip school and begun work at 8 to even get an interview...

Just remember you aren't alone. Come on over... I have a freezer full of ice cream and a sink full of spoons :D

my artwork | my blog

yay! party at sara's

w000t. Unenjoyment party at sara's place. all you gotta do is show up.

now, is there chocolate ice cream? :)

That's the important part

If there's chocolate, all is good. Meg sent me out for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream a while ago and I came back with chocolate chip cookie dough. Being a trooper and a lover of chocolate, she ate it anyway.

Huggles right back:)

Pyramidiology: What you get when you mix pyramids and idiots.

Steve Sharam


okay we'll detour to my parents and eat all meh mum's chocolate ice cream... then come here for cookie dough and strawberry... or mint choco chip. muwahahhaha yummmm.

Steve... so you got choco choco chip coookie dough? sounds delish!

my artwork | my blog

the converse of that is just as bad

I have well over 20 years of experience in my field, and at times have difficulty persuading potential employers that it more than outweighs the fact that I never finished my degree. They're all hot for that piece of paper...

"I want to live in Theory. Everything works there."

Very true

That's true. Everyone needs a degree to get a job, but a degree won't get you a job. It's a Catch-22. Mix in a huge student loan debt and you've got yourself a paradox!

Pyramidiology: What you get when you mix pyramids and idiots.

Steve Sharam

There are degrees of degrees

I have two degrees. My first degree is a second degree and my second degree is a first degree. ;-) I got on a Master's degree course without having a BSc --- though I did have a professional qualification equivalent. Twenty years later I have just completed a BA in an unrelated field. At the moment neither degree is getting me a well-paying job; the first or is that second because I'm very experience and potential employers won't pay for that and the second or is that first because I have no experience at all and potential employers won't pay for that.

I have well over 20 years of

I have well over 20 years of experience in my field, and at times have difficulty persuading potential employers that it more than outweighs

... the amount of money they will have to pay me to add my experience to theirs.

One of the reasons I changed careers was because with 20+ years experience as a computing scientist employers would give that "look" when they realised that I don't come cheap. For the salary they'd be paying me they were thinking they could employ 20 kids with one year's experience for the same money.

reminds me of

this dilbert comic : Linkage

my artwork | my blog

Job Skills for Humanities Graduates

If you have a philosophy degree "Why do you want fries with that?"

A english literature degree "With fries or not with fries? That is the question!"

A history degree "Your fries caused the Irish potato famine."

A religion degree "God wans you to have fries with that."

An art degree "Fries are an expression of society's oppression on the individual freedom, which is the burger."

Or when I was interviewing and they asked "What skills do you posses?" I always answered "I can travel through time. You gave me the job three days from now."

Thanks, I feel so much better:P

You knew just what to say to make me feel better:P Does that time-travelling thing actually work? I might just use that...

Steve Sharam

You forgot one

The computing science degre "We're cooking the fries in the wrong way. I have a better method, we'll just have to close the concession for a few years while we re-engineer the place." ... Many more that few years later the place is still not open because in the interim a new method for cooking fries has been introduced and so the whole thing has to be dismantled and re-done ... more than once.

A serious point

Here in the UK there have been a number of recent employment legal cases in which employees have been dismissed for posting blogs (and comments on blogs). Doesn't matter that the blogs might have nothing to do with the work. And there have been some in the US where blogs and comments that criticise employers have resulted in termination of employment.

All too easy these days to say something or post photographs that a potential employer doesn't find funny and thereby lose a job opportunity. One of the reasons that I prefer to remain self-employed and not comment (too) critically upon clients, customers, past-employers. Doesn't take too much effort to find pretty everything that someone might have published on the Internet or Web. Removing the web site doesn't make the search more difficult; we just go use other search engines.

good point

I have thought about that lately... now having two blogs and loads of online stuff out in cyberworld. I tend to think that I am pretty much the same in person as I am online and if someone REALLY wants a reason to terminate my employment - they will do so... Sometimes I think its just a convenient (or semi-convenient) excuse to get rid of someone that was near to being kicked anyways.

On that note... being in the creative arts - I really feel that its easier to find like minded individuals (including potential clients/employers) with the internet. :)

my artwork | my blog

We try

A whole new way to get fired. Just one of the good things the internet has brought into our lives:)

Steve Sharam

Maybe it's just that most

Maybe it's just that most employers in whatever field you're looking in expect a candidate who can spell "lose" correctly (with one "o").

Ooo, zing

No doobt.

Steve Sharam


I still lubs u Steve... {hugz}

my artwork | my blog


Thanks, it's nice to be lubbed:P

Steve Sharam

wookin ba nub in aw da wong

wookin ba nub in aw da wong paces
wookin ba nub


Ha ha, HA! [snort]

Steve Sharam


That's brutal, man!


I still think this guy is a

I still think this guy is a great inspiration Steve! http://www.dailydancer.com Not sure how well he does with the advertising, but he lives near you, maybe you could ask?

You have an art degree... with your imagination how about painting?

There's a reason the arts and comedy have flourished in places almost impossible to find work. Like Newfoundland.

Don't give up.


That's very true

I love that guy. He's proof that with the aid of the internet, anyone, regardless of lack of talent or training, can look like an escaped mental patient...and we lauded for it:P

Steve Sharam

That's just wrong...

Some people have WAY too much time on thier hands. Unemployed ior not. LOL!

I never finish anyth

Yeah, but...

That's very true...but you do have to admire his desire to make the world a happier place. He might not be succeeding, but he's trying:PP

Steve Sharam

No doubt of that

He sure put a goofy smile on my face!

As do you, my friend. Thanks for the diversions!

I never finish anyth

You gave me hope

Your story gave me hope.

No more than 20 minutes ago I got an email from a stuck-up jerk saying that my whopping 5 years experience isn't enough and her employees have had 25+. Well, I'm 26 so it must make them old, decrepit, dried out fogies. That's right. I said it. Well people listen here: There's a thing called "fresh perspectives" give it a try.

At least I'm not not the only one on the sinking ship. Would you like to swim to the island with me?

-I think you will enjoy my website, check out "Barbie's Older Sister" somewhat similar.


Thank you, that's what I've been saying all along. I've always thought that I brought a fresh perspective to being broke:) Go sister!

Steve Sharam

You said it. A while ago now, but you still said it.

I found your site through some frustrated, desperate web search terms. The Google equivalent of looking straight up with your arms spread out and shouting "Why!!!"
It's 2009. I'm married, and I have a good-ish job. Actually, the job itself is pretty darned good. The pay is livable, the hours are overnight so you don't have to deal with traffic or any of that crap, and you get to do stuff in the middle of the day when all the other suckers are in their cubicles. But, as I said, I'm married, and being married and working this kind of shift sucks so much. My wife and I never get to spend time together. Each of us sleeps alone most of the week--me during the day while she's at work, and she during the night like most of the rest of the world. It's a lonely existence. So I've started looking for something else, and the search is really, really starting to get to me.
I'm not a resume machine by any means. I'm not out there pounding doors every day looking for a job. I am more casual in my hunt, using Careerbuilder and Monster as my weapons of choice. But it's still depressing and infuriating.
I can't decide what I hate more: the fact that every job requires some sort of degree, experience, skill, license, or religious affiliation that I don't have and have no hope of getting at this point, or that every stinking job description is so cryptic that it makes me want to smash my head through the computer screen and see if that helps anything. Hey, if nothing else maybe I can ask the EMT's if they're hiring.
Basically, I'm 27 years old, got a pretty much useless degree (film studies--in the midwest, no less) and now I'm working in a job where there is no hope of NOT working overnight (broadcast news), and while I'm not making a ton of money, I'm making enough that almost any job I WOULD qualify for--say, Sales Associate or Pet Counselor, for instance--would result in a severe pay cut...something I can't really afford as a married man.
I feel like I'm stuck! What do I do? There's a machine running this society, and feeds on people who go to school and get good little degrees and go on to get jobs as accountants and doctors and IT people and mechanics and physical therapists--meanwhile people like me who get worthless degrees and end up in dead-end jobs get dropped out the bottom to be trampled on. How is that fair? Nobody told me the rules. They say it's a free country (I'm in the USA here, by the way), but it's only free for those people who do what they're told. The rest of us are free to die a stain on the bottom of the treads beneath the Great Machine. Know what I'm saying?
Okay, I may be overstating things a bit. I'll go try to calm down and forget all that "stain on the treads" thing. I need a drink. Hey, how much do bartenders make?

What kind of work does your wife do ?

Maybe something that lends itself to night shift ?
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)