Monday, January 22, 2007
Unspoken rejection is the Drãno of the soul
A couple days ago a bunch of Flickr addicts from the Tacoma area met at a coffeehouse downtown, and though the announcement of the gathering was made less than 48 hours before the meeeting time nine people managed to show up. Our project was to take pictures in the Warehouse District downtown, which sort of evolved into wandering the Brewery District. One of my cohorts took a photo that defined the situation very well: it shows most of us on the second floor of an empty warehouse all looking and moving in different directions, exhibiting a human representation of Brownian motion (though with digitals, no Brownie cameras). We had a most serandipitous happenstance... Since we didn't have a direction, it was more or less by "let's go up just one more block" and "let's follow these train tracks" that we wound up behind a set of buildings, taking pictures of the writing on the backs and the pond life in the runoff stream which ran parallel to the tracks. We were halfway up this backstreet when a large red pickup truck pulled up behind us and a middle-aged couple stepped out. [Mushy's brain: prepare flight response] The woman asked what we were up to, and we told them we were a photographic group. She then told us that she and her husband own the building we just passed, which was the former Tacoma City Light & Water building that for the last twenty years had been used as a storage warehouse for an import/export business which just ceased operation so the space was now empty (the entire stripmall was bulldozed last year to build a new Lowe's Hardware, and the import place's owners decided they'd rather retire than find a new location)... and they asked if we'd like to see the inside. Hot damn! So we got a tour of the empty space and a history lesson about the building, such as that built in 1921 of stone and steel at a cost of $100,000 - which the owners considered too much and fired the contractor. We were invited upstairs, and we took a gaggle of photos of the city and each other standing in the shallow lake that was the roof. We received a history lesson about the area, such as how that very tall brick building katy-corner to this block was the brewery building for Pacific Brewing & Malting from 1888 until Prohibition came along, at which time it became a soap factory and was finally abandoned in 1959, and how the building next door which is now a power company (also built in 1921 but of wood so the contractor could avoid the wrath) is a private auto museum on the second floor. Then the man asked us if we'd like to see the 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 'Skyliner' convertable he's had for 46 years and keeps in the ground level. Oh hell yeah! I'm not much of a car guy but this vehicle was droolworthy... baby blue with fins and an acre of chrome, sweet inside and out, and at the push of a button the trunk of the car hinged at the tail and tilted up, the white metal top raised a foot and then descended into the back, and the trunk settled back down. ("One motor stops before the other motor starts, so it's foolproof; in all the time I've had the car I've never had the conversion system fail me" he said.) After a little more time with the couple we had to say our goodbyes, and wandered back to the place we had parked, where all spaces were marked 1 Hour but there was a vehicle with a missing front tire that'd been there since last year so we weren't too worried about being towed. It was the most exciting three hours of the year so far. My photos from the excursion are in this Flickr set, and while you're there if you click on the "tfg" (Tacoma Photo Gang) tag on the right side and expand the search to all users, you can see the rest of the group's pictures too. You now have permission to read the final paragraph of this blog entry.
Last Friday I got a call from Shelleigh Temp Services (hey, Kool-Aid!), asking if I was interested in a position a few miles away from my house that I had applied for. Testing for the job was scheduled for this afternoon, and I considered their asking me to show up without giving me the testing office's address (and I asked!) part of the examination. So I made it to the place with a couple minutes to spare, it was only the third building I tried, and after the attitude test (counter person asking what pay rate I expected, and I said "usually I expect $14/hr but since there's no commute involved I will accept the $10-$11 the listing stated", which she accepted) the tests were administered. Excel: "basic"... which is impressive since I've never used it before. Works: "proficient"... again, just plain luck or intuition since all I've ever done with it is type letters without screwing around with any of the options beside font formatting. Typing: "needs training", the computer said, while admitting I typed 72 words per minute with 2 mistakes, and the test person was impressed with my speed. Data entry: the numerical data had zero errors and the alphanumerical data (based on filling out the contents of an invoice -- item number, description, price, quantity, total -- manually) had two errors, which was impressive but again rated "needs training". So I was feeling pretty good about the results... I rock! The woman comes in and asks which job I was here for, I told her the one nearby, and she asked me if I was interested in one a rediculous distance away (out past where that stranded coworker lives) and I said no. [Greg: Kirkland I can handle due to 167 and 405. Going to Enumclaw? Not unless I lived in Buckley; the two-lane traffic in that area makes 405 at rush-hour look good.] This concluded the interview for her... seems the job I applied for which is in customer service requires twice the speed in ten-key typing that I exhibited, the desired rate being ten thousand characters per hour. She suggested that I do some ten-key practice at home and come back someday. [Mushy's brain: You can take a flying jump, lady! Mushy's mouth: "Okay, thank you for the suggestion."] I said that since she knows where my office skills are she can keep me in mind for other customer service jobs [Mushy's brain adds: ones that actually are customer service, where knowledge means more than typing skill], and she had one of the best no-thanks-I-won't responses I've ever heard: she said that she deals with a lot of potential personnel so is unable to keep anyone in mind for jobs they're suited for unless they find the listings online themselves and apply. Still smiling and giving polite acknowledgements that she was speaking to me, I left when she let me know she was done with me and wandered the mall for a little while to digest. I can't feel too bad about not being a ten-key typist or Excel wizard; I'm pretty sure the people doing the job at this moment and their supervisors are neither either. So life -- and the search -- goes on.
I have no idea, but I glad it worked this time!!!!
The Not For Sale pic befuddled me. Very strange advertising technique.
The "This Rilly Suck's" graffitti was written by a compete idiot.
I'm glad you enjoyed the day with fellow Fickr folks.
The lady who tested your skills sounds like a condescending person. Would it hurt her to say, "Okay, thanks for applying. I hope you find a job soon that is better suited for your skills and experience." Would that hurt her?
Yes, maybe it would. It PAINS people like that to show common courtesy.
I agree with you; since when did customer service require lightning-fast typing skills? People call to get someone who can help them fix a problem, not type their complaint in record time.
Hang in there!
Even we non-idiots make idiotic errors sometimes
It keeps us humble. :)
I did enjoy the Flickr outing, and our next jaunt will be Feb 17.
I can't speak on the woman's behalf, but being terse seems to be popular, especially among web applications which disqualify you before you've entered any relevant information about your qualifications... see next entry. I'm hanging in there, fear not. I have an interview on Monday and (as said in the next entry) am hoping against hope I'll get a better offer as SHOULD have happened today. Which is more rude, being direct that you're being overlooked for irrelevant reasons (see a couple earlier entries) or not being replied to at all after several attempts to get any information?
This sounds like it should be written up in humanity's universal collection of wisdom.