Job Options: A Comprehensive Technical Manual

As the person running a business that employs about 90 people (more in summer, less in winter), I’m constantly amazed at the type of people who work here.

I wish I could run psychological tests on job applicants, but there’s no way we could afford it. Besides, doing so would probably eliminate most of those in the job pool.

This weekend, I ran a Craigslist ad for office help. In the title was prominently displayed “Part-Time” and “Perfect for High School Student.” This is because I am looking for a warm body to fill the dreaded 3-7:30 p.m. slot. Plus, I rather like the malleable, impressionable minds of high school students with very little office experience. They don’t have any bad habits I need to break.

Thus far, I have had over 400 responses. I interviewed ten. Out of those, some were NOT students, but had graduated from college with degrees in psychology. Some were college students studying nursing and business. One was pregnant. (You can’t see that on a resume.) Some were workers who had been downsized.

I chose a 15-year old girl within walking distance of the office. She was the only true “high school” student. She replaced “ElastiGirl,” who took off running and never came back. I don’t know. I think ElastiGirl thought the job would be more glamorous. There’s nothing glamorous about this office.

Take the other side of the business, our teachers.

You would think that a job that involves dealing with teenagers aged 14 and eight months through 17, in a car, the applicant would have some forethought as to whether or not they would be good at the job. In our state, you have to take a graduate level college class in order to get your instructor license. This involves a considerable outlay of time and money. You would think that a person would weigh all the factors before trying a job where they are ill suited to perform well.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who is a good teacher. (I know plenty of bad teachers, and I have no respect for them at all.) It takes a special person to teach anyone how to do anything. That is why I do not teach anyone anything. I am not that special. I know deep in my heart that I would be a very bad teacher.

We have hired some very bad teachers. One neglected to wear underwear in the summer, and his family jewels were visible through his shorts. Some people keep their foot on their brake the entire time. That explains my daughter’s inability to drive. Some are yellers and screamers. There’s the occasional wack-a-doo who has spoken inappropriately to a kid. We have some who may have touched one either by accident or on purpose. Those guys are long gone. Of course, there was the unfortunate incident with the nutjob who held a class hostage by telling them she had a gun. (She didn’t. She had a bottle of bourbon in her purse though.) We fired her on the spot, but not before she made national news.

Every time we get a call on the questionable behavior of one of our employees, I have to wonder: why the heck did you pick this job to begin with? I mean, really. Teenagers of any age are likely to be noxious, but those between the ages of 14 and eight months and 17 are particularly foul. If you can’t drive worth a crap but have a company car with logos all over it, would you not drive a little more responsibly? Would you stop if you were involved with a hit-and-run?

My level of expertise involves organization. I’m a whiz when it comes to spreadsheets, organizing files, and maintaining the scoop on our 85+ people. I need to be organized. If you saw Mr. Demonic’s section of our empire, you would need a hatchet to cut a path through his room. It’s littered with papers, and littered with litter. I don’t go in there, except maybe to have office sex, in which case, I have designated an area of the conference room to be a litter-free zone. (Thank God he isn’t like this at home, or he’d be living alone.)

I will readily admit that I am sadly lacking in customer service. I can be pleasant, but not for eleven hours a day. I can be pleasant, but not if someone is yelling in my ear.

I am rethinking my job options. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make a living from my book-writing venture. For me, writing is a fun hobby. In a rust belt state with few options, the best thing that could happen would be to hit the Megamillion jackpot. Unfortunately for me, some yay-hoo in New Jersey won that last night.