Let me just state the obvious: unemployment stinks.
I don't enjoy being unemployed. There is no 'silver lining' to unemployment. There is no 'hey, look on the bright side' to this situation. Simply put, unemployment stinks.
Sure, I've been able to spend more time with the kids and that's great and wonderful*. But would I rather be earning a paycheck instead of collecting unemployment benefits? Yes, in fact I would much rather be at work right now. Being creative. Being productive.
To that end, I've had a few interviews recently. None of which have amounted to much of anything. But I suppose it's always good to get an interview, right?
A few weeks ago I went on an interview for a "communications specialist" position. Yeah, that's a rather vague job description. That should have been my first clue. When the employer's HR rep called to set up my interview she informed me that I would be required to take a writing test. OK, sure. No big deal. I don't see the point in writing tests (I think a portfolio of one's work is more effective)...but whatever.
I showed up for the interview a little early, which was basically a miracle after nearly getting lost in the basement of the building. (Don't ask. If you knew where I was, you'd understand...but to protect the "innocent" I won't mention any names.)
I had to fill out an application form - with all the information that is already listed on my resume and then I waited until the front desk person sent me down the hallway to meet my fate.
And then the "interview" started.
Here's the story: I was interviewed by an HR recruiter (now, I'm sure this is normal, but this person was not a communications recruiter...oh no, her job title was "XYZ Recruiter" - she had no connection to the communications department). This person had no real knowledge of communications and only a vague notion of the duties for the job in question. And, she decided to quiz me for 5 minutes about why I wasn't an attorney if I went to law school. [Because I'm not. Law degree does NOT equal lawyer. OK. I'm not an attorney. Move on.].
Then she says, "Oh, did they tell you this job is in Adrian, Michigan?"
No. No they most certainly did not tell me that. Had they mentioned that I wouldn't be sitting in this office right now (I was merely thinking this ... I didn't ACTUALLY say that out loud. Geesh.)
So, the job is in Michigan.
The salary is barely more than I made at my last (part-time) position.
And did I mention the job was in Michigan?
But the best part of the entire interview was yet to come.
The 'writing test'.
What I was expecting: To be seated in a room in front of a computer and given an 'assignment' to write a press release or something like that.
What really happened: I was handed a few PENCILS. And put in a room with no windows and given a few sheets of paper that had the following items to be completed:
a. Five questions where I had to use "proper" copy editing marks (you know, insert period...remove a space...things like that). Journalism 101. High school journalism 101.
b. Twenty 'proper grammar' questions (choose A, B, or C) with items such as the proper use of I or me, affect/effect, etc. [I believe this was some sort of cosmic payback for all the AP Style/grammar tests I used to give my students].
c. And then, the 'writing' portion: Draft A LETTER to the entire workforce from the CEO that talks about some national ranking in a magazine. A letter. This was going to prove if I could write?
And then there was this gem: This writing test was to be completed IN PENCIL.
It was HANDWRITTEN.
In pencil, folks.
No computer. No pens.
I finished my 'assignment', handed it in the recruiter and that was it.
And you know, when I was done with this "interview/writing test" I just had to laugh.
I had to laugh and think that there is something much better out there waiting for me. And it does not involve pencils.
*Let me clarify something here for anyone who may be assuming certain things. I am NOT bitching about being a SAHM. Quite the contrary. IF I had chosen to be a SAHM and IF the situation of being a SAHM was NOT detrimental to my family's economic well-being, I would be a SAHM in a heartbeat. Probably sooner. I ADORE being home with my kids and watching them grow and change on a weekly basis. However, we NEED to be a two-income family and since my unemployment RUNS OUT at the end of December, I NEED to find a job. So, right now, unemployment SUCKS. Being a SAHM does not suck. So, until you really understand a person's situation - both financially and otherwise - it would be wise to not pass judgment.