Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So I could fill you in on all the "secrets" we learned today on resumes, cover letters, and interviews, but there was a kind of sideshow going on that was much more entertaining. Not that it would take much to be more entertaining than these sessions.

There's an older gentleman-in his fifties, maybe- that has made a big stink since the begining of PROS last Wednesday. I'll call him R. Yesterday R was the guy who, at 9:01, said, "This is bulls**t people! This lady's late. If we were one minute late we'd be out the door and lose our check!" With that the instructor walked in and he goes, "You're late!" and she said (trying to be sweet but not doing a very good job of covering her annoyance), "Oh, I just wanted to give everyone time to get in the door and get a seat." To be fair, parking around this place isn't exactly easy and there are a lot of people who take public transportation to get to there. Didn't hear much else from that guy yesterday. Today I heard a lot from him.

Well, R followed me in the door and sat between me and this girl in her mid-twenties-I'll call her M. Right away R starts ranting (and bragging, which go together so well): "This is bulls**t. I'm an engineer. If I weren't collecting the maximum [which is $800+, by the way] I wouldn't even be here. I do sales on the side and I make $260 an hour doing that. [Then how can he be collecting unemployment??] Here's my card! Email me when this is all over and I'll try to get you started in the business. Can you believe this lady was late yesterday? You know if any of us were late we'd be out the door. Blah, blah, blah...." And on and on pretty non-stop till some other people interupted him for their own complaints. I think he's been trying to start a mutiny, but most of us-myself included- just wanted to get through it and go home.

When class started R gets out a calculator. For an engineer he had a pretty lame calculator. It was one of those solar-powered jobbers with the giant keys and calculating percents as the most complicated function. He starts plugging away loudly and I'm thinking "What could he need to calculate now?" Believe me there was nothing in any way related to math or numbers about what the lady was presenting to us. The instructor even made a comment about how he must be a "numbers person." Possibly a hint to put the calculator away. He didn't take the hint.

During our little break it got better. R tells M & I that he was calculating how much money he can make selling solar panels. Then he shows M (I guess I'm not solar-panel-worthy) on his calculator how little "Bob and Rita" actually had to pay out-of-pocket on their $50,000 solar panels. Who are Bob and Rita? He talked about them like they were Brad & Angelina and everyone on earth should know them. R then engages M in a conversation about a bar she used to work at. Then he turns it into a conversation about his sugar mama. This guy claims while he was working as a golf instructor at a nearby course he met the CFO of a huge corporation and fell in love. Now I'm talking HUGE corporation---one we ALL know and whose products we probably use in some form every day. And he gets out her picture that he has slipped into the pocket of his solar panel binder. Man, this guy really has his story together. He said the two of them own a house in New Jersey and a house in Florida. Whatever. At one point I made eye contact with M and raised my eyebrows to acknowledge his craziness and she laughed.

When the session got into interviewing tips things got really entertaining. The instructor was saying men and women should always wear a suit, have shined closed-toe shoes, and no perfume or after-shave when R interrupted, "Excuse me, how many interviews have you been on?" She said, "Quite enough to know." and he goes, "The stuff you're telling these people isn't right. It's not how things are anymore." she said "Well, this is what employers have reported turns them off to a candidate." He said "I'm sorry this is not useful information. I'm a professional and I consider myself pretty successful and employers don't care about after-shave." And she says, "Well, I think they do." And he says "I guess we disagree." and she says "I guess we do." But you could tell she was pissed and didn't like being contradicted. Then she told us she was going to put on a video with some interviewing tips. As the video began she was coming around collecting some papers and she points to R and says, "Sir, may I see you for a moment." He goes "Oh no, here we go." And everyone in the room laughs. It was just like High School! She starts the video and disapears with R. They were both talking pretty loudly but she had the video so loud I couldn't even make out one word. She came back about 10 minutes later and R never came back! Apparently, all you have to do to get out of the class is disagree with the instructor!

I do have a point in telling this story: Treat adults like children and they will revert to childish behavior. This program is an insult. The state is using tax-payer money to justify having this huge "employment" department full of people who aren't really helping anyone find a job. Instead of being at the "One-Stop Career Center" the unemployed should be out getting jobs or getting hands-on training to find a better job. And stop handing me lists of jobs for $10 an hour!

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