When I was eleven years old, I dreamed that The Beatles bus would break down in front of my house. The Beatles would knock at the door, ask to use the phone, and when Paul McCartney saw me, he would demand that I join him on their tour. Today, I dream about finding a full-time job with benefits.
I think the Beatles dream, even with two of them dead, has a better chance of happening.
Looking back, I've had some freaking wonderful jobs in my life. I was the candy buyer for a major department store where I traveled to Europe to sample and buy the finest chocolates and cookies in the world. I also worked for two of the largest European candy companies. Wingman got to see me in action with one of them on our honeymoon in Italy,when he was permitted to sit in on my presentation to the president and CEO for a new holiday collection. A year later, as I was awarded the #1 salesperson for America at our international sales meeting, he was sunning himself poolside in Sorrento with the bikini-clad wives and girlfriends of the rest of the European sales team. He enjoyed the fruits of my labor, that's for sure.
I've done everything from making baloney subs and icing donuts in a grocery store, to wiring lighting in a million-chicken egg factory for an energy management company, to running a sales and marketing office in a retirement community. The year OJ Simpson was on trial, I was setting up exhibits for a shoe company right next to the heavily guarded Bruno Magli booth in Las Vegas. When I had my own business, I catered a christening for a member of the Mets, and a barbeque for an Academy Award nominated actor. For the most part, I have never had trouble finding a full-time job that I really liked. Until now. Now I can't find a job.
Since Sandy, I've been unemployed. Or rather, under-employed. I do have a part-time job. It's the perfect gig for a woman whose husband wants her to get out of the house, and use her discount to get the kids some new clothes without paying full retail. It's just not enough though to pay the bills for the household that I am now tasked with supporting, and they're not hiring full-time.
While I was rebuilding my flooded house, I didn't put my energy into job-hunting, but for the past two months, I've been as serious as a heart attack. I've asked friends to put in good words with colleagues. I've applied at banks where there are psychological questions like "On a scale of 1-5 where 1 is definitely false and 5 is absolutely true, how would you answer this question: When I get angry, people are afraid of me."? I had a friend refer me to her company, where I stressed over a math test. Really-over 100 questions like "Bill has worked at his job for 17 years. Mike makes three times more than Sally. Fred has 11 children. Where does George live?" Who makes up these questions???
I recently interviewed at a staffing agency with a girl almost young enough to be my granddaughter. She came into the room WITH A BACKPACK. I fully expected a guy to follow her in, carrying her books. She looked at my resume and asked me textbook human resources questions-and one not-so-HR-approved. When she saw the year I graduated from fashion school, she hesitated and said "1974...ummmm...is this RIGHT???" I wanted to say to her, "Listen Bitch, I was traveling the world while your parents were still making out in the back seat of a car." Instead, I used my newly practiced patience to hold my tongue, smile, and say "Is that a problem? Should I leave the year out?"
There is a guidance department computer program called Naviance, where high school juniors and seniors enter their SAT scores with some other personal information to find colleges that are a good fit, the ones that are a stretch, and the ones that they won't get into. If I could enter my age instead of an SAT score for a job, it appears that my fit is Walmart greeter, and the stretch is the lady who gives out programs in the Broadway theater. I already know the ones I can't get in to. 60 may be the new 40, but anyone over 55 knows that fact doesn't apply to finding a new job.
I figure I have a dozen years left to be the best something I can be. I think I'm a great candidate-I can't get pregnant so I won't ever take maternity leave. I don't have to worry about kids and juggling school and doctor appointments. There's no one home but me, so I can work whatever the schedule requires. I never learned how to play beer pong, so I would never come to work hung-over. I've dealt with enough disasters-both natural and man-made that NOTHING shakes me. But my resume doesn't tell the employer that.
Shakespeare wrote that "The world is one's oyster." Well, I've collected the pearls from the past jobs and I have a great necklace. Is there anything wrong with finding the last best job-one that is full-time with benefits, so I can get the matching earrings?
In the meantime, I have no problem asking anyone and everyone if they know ANYONE looking for a pretty cool woman who can schedule appointments, do bank reconciliations, order supplies, run events, set up exhibits and displays, explain the difference between vanilla and vanillin in European chocolates, cater their parties and make them baloney subs. I'll even re-wire their non-working outlets if it will seal the deal.