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A Twist on Aging & Interviewing

28 Nov

Recent Headlines:

“CALIFORNIA PLASTIC SURGEONS SEE A HIKE IN BUSINESSMEN INQUIRING ABOUT PLASTIC SURGERY PROCEDURES.”

“AGE DISCRIMINATION ON THE RISE, STARTING IN 40’s”

I know some of you are young, young, young.  So young that the last thing you’re concerned about is being, oh, 35, 40, 56, even 60 years old.  So young that you’re not even yet concerned with sagging body parts that used to be up HERE and are now down there.

Oh, but the day will surely come when age will be “all” you think about. Especially when it comes to working and aging. Being downsized. Age discrimination, being overlooked while companies hire the younger, perkier, cheaper candidate. Even though you have years of experience. While I’m right in the middle–not fresh out of college and nowhere near retirement–I can grasp both sides of the fence. So the following story is interesting.

This is Randy Adams.

He’s 60 years old.  

He has A LOT of experience working in the tech field.  He spent months if not years trying to secure a CEO level job in Silicon Valley.  He went on gobs of interviews encountering all kinds of strange looks, “don’t call me, I’ll call you” exhaustion with great frustration.

Then he got an idea.

He noticed that all of the techies were not only young but dressed a certain way, regardless of their level of professionalism/expertise. Not to mention in the Valley there are CEO’s who are not yet 30 years old.  So Randy Adams went hard: He shaved his head, got an eye lift and started wearing Converse sneakers instead of stuffy loafers and t-shirts instead of button-downs.

This is Randy Adams now:

A funny thing happened next.   He got hired. Not only hired but hired at a booming tech company,  SocialDial, as their CEO.  He especially credits his shaved head as the hem that got him in the door.  In what he calls a “youth obsessed tech hub” (agreed) he’s now got a list of rules for any “geezer” attempting to break the age line.

  • Please don’t have an AOL e-mail. It reeks geriatrics.   G-mail is OK but even better is an address which incorporates your name in the domain is ‘cool.’
  • Nix the briefcase. What do you think this is, 1985? Instead get a backpack.
  • Avoid Blackberries and Dell laptops – Android phones and Apple products scream ‘youth!’

So I guess this means I should hold on to my backpack since I may need it in another 20 years or so.

Personality Tests: For Some = Epic Fail

31 Oct

So I was riding in my car the other day pretending that I don’t see the 200,000 mile mark creeping upward and I heard John Tesh (remember him from “Entertainment Tonight”?) on his radio show talking about jobs and those awful personality tests they sometimes require before hiring people.

He made some really good points. Such as…

Personality tests are like (an employer) reading your private diary.(Yikes! DO YOU KNOW THE STUFF I’D PUT IN A PERSONAL DIARY IF I HAD ONE?!)

The key, he admonished, is to be perfectly honest because those tests are structured to know if you’re fudging your answers. Here are a few actual personality test questions to ponder…

Are you more frequently a:

a practical sort of person OR

a fanciful sort of person?

First of all, I dunno. I don’t even like the word “fanciful.” It sounds flighty, like I wouldn’t know that the Frucker file goes under “F”. I mean, “fanciful” in the reviewer’s eyes could mean that I dance on tables with alcoholic beverages in my hands or that I believe that unicorns should be domestic animals.  If unicorns are even real.

I mean, here’s an official definition of the word itself:

  1. fan·ci·ful

    Adjective:
    1. (of a person or their thoughts and ideas) Overimaginative and unrealistic.
    2. Existing only in the imagination or fancy.

GOSH.

I AM over-imaginative (I’m a writer, for crying out loud and an artist who thinks that I’ll be wealthy beyond boundaries in the very near future even though of late I’ve been relying more and more on rolling found coins) and I believe–OH, I BELIEVE–in big things. Big. Even when they’re still the size of salt crumbs. (Um, is that “unrealistic”?)

Here’s another personality test question:

Are you more likely to trust your:

experience OR

a hunch?

Again, this reeks of a set-up. Either answer could prove skids for you, the desperate, nearly broke job seeker who just needs to pay their monthly bills and have some cheese crackers and powdered tea left over after all the checks are written.

Do you prefer:

many friends with brief contact OR

a few friends with more lengthy contact?

This one right here, this is the one I FEAR. As in tiny bits of fingernails bitten and spat across rooms, right there at the potential job site. Bits of bitten, spitty nail fragments on the floor.  They’re trying to see if I play well with others.

Only thing is, these “others” are coworkers, not necessarily friends. 

SIGH.

I mean, on the one hand I work well alone. As in put me in a corner away from the office riff-raff and I’ll get TONS of stuff done and feel rejuvenated but on the other hand, I can work in a “team” as long as the team is easy to get along with. Get it?

From this side of things–a job seeking, potential employee–I don’t agree with personality tests. I believe they are flawed and judgmental and unnecessary for most jobs.  After all, I’ve worked at the likes of the Department of Justice (headquarters, mind you) and some other big players without aforementioned test and I did just fine filing their boring files and typing their boring documents.

Wanna take a free personality test? Go ahead, do it. See how dirty you judgmental it feels.

I like the old school days when you were hired based on your resume, eye burning eye contact and a good, firm handshake.

Dear Clueless Gum Popper @ the Office…

27 Sep

Dear Clueless Gum Popper @the Office:

Must you torture our ears with the pop, pop, popping sound of chewing gum bumping against your teeth as you twist and turn the glob in such a fashion that it makes noises outside of your own personal space?

You’re killing us, your coworkers.

The very sound of that snap, crackle, popping noise nearly eight hours a day has made some of us imagine purely evil thoughts against you.  We almost can’t help ourselves.  We’ve been through this before.

Why, Bill, he even tried to remove the gum from your desk when we sent you on that wild goose chase for the McCafferty files on the 2nd floor. Remember? When you came back to the department six times and Laura sent you back again and again? 

Ahem.  There are no McCafferty files.

As long as you keep abusing us with noise pollution we will continue plotting against you and your gum stash.

There you sit day in and day out popping gum resembling a firecracker that can be heard all the way down the  hallway. I once was in the stairwell and heard it as I opened the door. Do you know how far the stairwell is from your desk?

I’ve fantasized about you having extensive dental work so that you could not chew anything, especially gum. Only quiet things would enter your mouth. Like yogurt.

Once, when you were off from work for two days straight, on sick leave, our entire department breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was two days of no-gum-popping bliss.

No one missed you.

Not even a little bit.

You are clueless in a way that befuddles us all. Do you ever imagine what it’s like to hear the grating noise of a popping sound for hours each day?And even with the repeated hints we’ve given you, you still stuff that gum into your pie hole and go to town gnawing on it as if it’s your very first piece of gum ever, as if the sugar in the gum is magic elixir that you must extract every single bit of.

Please, for the love of sanity, switch to hard candy.

We can’t take it anymore.

Aching in CubicleVille,

Your Co-workers

Do You Have a “Black Sounding” Name?

12 Jul

I love investigative reporting to the innermost bone. I do, I do. It’s investigative reporting that made me want to be a news anchor to begin with. As a kid I watched 60 Minutes just as intently as my grandmother, as Morley Safer or Mike Wallace would dig deep into the nitty gritty filthy dirty backdoor nastiness of a story. With hidden cameras sometimes.

Did I mention I love investigative reporting?

Enter 20/20 with an investigative report based on the bestselling book Freakonomics’ claim that black sounding names get–ahem–picked over for jobs by–ahem–white sounding names . This is fascinating stuff but somehow not so shocking. The news show put 22 pairs of names of what Freakonomics claims are the “blackest” and “whitest” sounding names (both male & female) to the test by posting identical resumes except for the names at the top.

Hmm, want to guess which names got rejected?

The “white sounding” names were downloaded and reviewed 17% more than the “black sounding” names by job recruiters, according to ABC News. Just what were some of those “black sounding” names?

For females:

Imani
Ebony
Shanice
Aaliyah
Precious
Nia
Deja
Diamond
Asia

For males:

DeShawn
DeAndre
Marquis
Darnell
Terrell
Malik
Trevon
Tyrone
Willie
Demetrius

For white females:

Molly

Amy

Claire

Emily

Holly

Madeline

Emma

Abigail

Hannah

And for white males?

Jake

Connor

Cody

Dustin

Lucas

Jacob

Dylan

Maxwell

Hunter

Colin

Fascinating, huh?

The National Bureau of Economic Research also did a similar study/report on the subject and stated that “a white name yields as many more callbacks as an additional eight years of experience [of those with ‘black’ names].”

Tragic.

Apparently there’s a (new) term or two for all this hoopla: “dialing back blackness”  or “whitening the resume.” On paper, at least. (Of course there’s the matter of showing up and the hiring personnel noticing that “Rebecca” on paper is actually not the white woman they may have expected.)  Ouch.

For other interesting reading on this subject, click here.

Oh, the world we live in.

Editing note: I don’t know why but the double-space on the “white” names lists will not correct itself; sorry for the inconsistency.

What about you? Do you have a “black” or “white” sounding name? Have you even had to take notice?

Office Lingo

15 Jun

 

Cringe worthy office terms and belchings:

collating

stuff envelopes

lift/move boxes

1/2 hour lunch

work late

come in early

pink slip

non-catered meeting

new boss

work closely with…(these words in this sequence bites if the coworker you’re going to be “working closely with” is someone you generally avoid).

take notes (meetings)

run errand(s)

cover the phones

detail-oriented

multitask (what am I, an octopus?).

 

Workplace Etiquette

30 May

This excerpt is from Yahoo!Finance/Click link to read full article, Why Your Co-Workers Don’t Like You.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Your co-workers are judging you. Beneath a veneer of professional collegiality, they’re taking note of the mess on your desk, how loudly you chew, even your word choices.

Obviously, serious misconduct such as discrimination and harassment can lead to a job loss. But small irritants can hurt productivity and build walls between co-workers.

“Those little annoyances, like having a really sloppy work area or being a disgusting desk eater, can loom large,” said Charles Purdy, senior editor at jobs site Monster.com.

To avoid negative judgments from your co-workers, experts advise avoiding the following behaviors.

Sucking up to the boss

Negativity

Messiness (at your desk, in the shared company refrigerator slash kitchen, bathroom, etc.)

Hmm. Based on the searches that lead people to this blog, there are  A LOT of annoying coworkers out there who probably don’t even realize they’re annoying. Think about it. You spend approximately 8 hours a day around your coworkers. In close proximity.

You’re chewing and popping gum.

You’re chewing ice.

Your radio is probably too loud.

Your phone conversations are probably too loud. Heck, your office conversations are probably too loud.

The fish ensemble you heated in the microwave singes the nose hairs of others. Especially when you eat it every single Friday.

Your perfume could be rancid.

Clicking your ink pen in & out, in & out, in & out, in & out, in & out over several hours can make those around you think homicidal thoughts regarding your existence.

Tapping your fingers on your desk every single day could make you a legendary office annoyance.

Get a clue: You’re grating your coworkers’ nerves. You’re shredding their sanity to pieces. Tiny pieces.

I’ve always said that employees often spend more time around their coworkers than they do their own family. In an office environment you could very well dwell 8 hours around your coworkers. IN THE SAME SEAT. IN THE SAME CUBICLE. Gosh, if there’s someone anywhere near to you that’s annoying that can be beyond painful.

At home during an 8-hour span you could relocate; you’re not sentenced to one area.  Nor are there others around you that you have to play office politics with and not be able to just say “STOP POPPING THAT EFFING GUM!!!!”

At work you’re tethered to a desk, you’re just stuck. Add the grating behaviors of those around you and it can be awful.

For the love of sanity please become self-aware. Or work from home.

Annoying Noises at Work

9 Jan

Are there sounds that you hear throughout your workday, particularly in CubicleVille, that drive you bonkers?

It could be anything. The sound of the copy machine moving paper through its suction/placement mysterious contraption mechanical thingies and landing them on a tray where you can then carry them to your boss.

The squealing noise of the fax machine as it transmits written information from your hell hole to another hell hole in Muncie, Indiana.

The click, clack, cluck sound of someone who types really loud.  You know, the guy with really big fingers who literally stabs at the keyboard as if he’s got a beef to settle with it. Yeah, that guy. And those fingers. Um-hmm, that clicking noise. 

I can’t stand that clicking noise. It drives me bonkers. One of the reasons it drives me insane is because I can’t very well go to The Man and say, “Um, excuse me, Sir…That guy over there is typing too loud…Yep, I know he’s doing his JOB but his typing is just too loud.”

What about mouth noises…
 
The constant throat clearer
The gum popper
The granola bar wrapper unwrapper-er
The mouth-wide-open popcorn cruncher
The chronic sniffer (BLOW YOUR NOSE ALREADY!!)
The heavy sigher who sighs heavily every four seconds as if he has to make the biggest, most complicated decision of his very life EVERY FEW SECONDS
The ink pen tapper
The fingers-on-desk-thumper…
The person (usually a guy) who walks around the office all day jingling coins in his pants pockets…
 
Is it uncouth to wear earplugs at work? Like, would it be unprofessional at all? Think it could go into my personnel file: “Annoyed by others. Wears earplugs in cubicle.”
 
I SO work well alone.