Unemployment #6: Knowing when to move on, or realizing you aren’t “sexy” enough for the Portland service industry

January 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have been called that frightful word, “hipster.”

I listen to music, a lot of it, and I will tell you that I hate  the Dave Matthews Band ever since the radio abused  “Crash” when I was in high school. I will also exclaim that some of your music choices are “disgusting,” but probably behind your back.

I watch shows you’ve probably never seen, or more likely, have never heard of. Such as “Cowboy Bebop,” “Firefly,” “Battlestar Galactica” (is that hipster or just nerd?), and “The Wire” (I can’t help it, I’m obsessed with the show).

I wear dark clothes and vintage coats (just the coats though, I’m too fat to fit into vintage outfits).

I have a tattoo that depicts my upbringing and my favorite song of 2004.

The most hipster thing about me, however, is my attitude, and this offends me. I like to think of myself becoming jaded the moment I found myself behind the slats of a baby crib, not because an abominate subculture says I am.

It was pretty jaded of me to take this picture, right? RIGHT?

Like every other hipster, I resent being called one. I agree, however, that I have hipster qualities that disgust others (or just my general qualities that frighten people). Little did I know, however, that I was to be one-upped in hipsterdom by EVERY OTHER PERSON in Portland, OR, thus making me the least sexy newcomer to apply for work in the service industry.

Fact: I am not sexy enough to be a server or bartender in Portland.

Why? Rejection from low-end employers based upon my looks (no piercing, no visible tattoos, no eye make-up), dress (interview appropriate, sensible shoes, neutral colors), speak (articulating my words, not saying “like” or “rad”), resume (a wrongly outfitted resume with too much job experience in different fields, interviewers get confused), and status (Portland newcomer with no friends or connections).

The problem with not being cool enough for Portland stems from my main problem of desperation. If I had a job already, I would be more confident in interviews for other jobs, but as it is, I am absolutely desperate for work, and I’m sure that shows.

At any rate, I’d like my friends and acquaintances to reconsider my “hipster” status, because here, I don’t exist as one.

Interview # 3: The Big-Bad Interview, Part 2, October 2010

January 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am on my way to the Green Dragon, a bar bought out by Rogue but with limited Rogue product available so that the place retains its original, exclusive atmosphere. Because they only contacted me via email, I was under the impression that I would be interviewing for a bar tending or serving position, my interview being at a bar and all.

Not the case.

The guy who interviewed me, a 6 foot 4 inch giant, was a lawyer who was Rogue’s general council. I looked him up on LinkedIn prior to my interview. When he pulled out my résumé, he informed me that what he thought would be a good fit was an administrative position with a creative edge. He asked me if I had any writing samples. I said yes, I had a blog, non-fiction, and fiction samples, he asked for the blog address. I gave it to him, oops.

Before I left, he requested that I submit a couple of writing samples and write-up a fake press release for Rogue wet hop ale. This is what I submitted:

A few days later I received an email notifying me that “good work on the sample” and “i’m passing you up the chain.” Two days later in my inbox was an interview request for 10 am at Rogue Alehouse.

The morning of the interview.

I got up early, dressed in a suit and made my way down to the Rogue Alehouse (40 min walk). Just by chance I discovered on my smart phone an email sent earlier that morning requesting that I show up at DIFFERENT site. Now, if I didn’t have a smart phone I would have no way of knowing of the switch (it’s not like I check my Gmail for interview location swaps at 8 am).

I would have shown up at the wrong place, been directed to the right place, and shown up late. Great impression.

I make to the right place and I’m 10 minutes early. It’s a studio office with fake walls. From where I’m sitting, there’s a fake window/wall separating me, the CEO, and his current target practice.

When the guy ahead of me finishes, the admin assistant walks behind the fake wall, tells the CEO that ********* ******** is here. She tells me to come back.

My screw-up # 1.

I didn’t shake the guy’s hand. In my defense, he was sitting down, hunched over his laptop and didn’t make any motion to stand up.

I sat down and he said, “And who are you?” Despite the admin telling him my name and me hearing it from the other side.

My screw-up # 2.

They read the blog entry that I wrote about one of their employees. I had considered deleting it, but thought that they might have already seen the damn entry, and I would look bad, regardless. I decided not to cut it, because darn it if I’m not a writer and idealistic about my right to say what I want. Besides, I didn’t write anything bad.

He says: “You’re the one that wrote that CRAZY stuff about ****.”

Me: “I thought that might get back to me.”

Him: “Witness a murder? Ha. She said you EXAGGERATED a lot.”

Actually, that’s exactly what she told me. I didn’t even have to pry it from her, she couldn’t stop talking the minute she lighted that cigarette.

He looks at my résumé. “College? That’s worthless. Red Lobster, eh? That must have been miserable. So you graduated in 2007? You must be like 25, that’s kind of young.”

Me: “I’m older than 25.”

My screw  up# 3.

I had read up on Rogue, honest, I did. I knew about the company before moving to Portland, I researched the company in Portland. But when he asked me what I knew or why I wanted to work there, I just CHOKED. Most likely because his demeanor, unlike the first interviewer, completely threw me off.

I mentioned my mildly dark sense of humor. He said, “Tell me a joke.”

As if dark humor is measured in jokes.

I said, “What’s the difference between a Porsche and a pile of dead babies?”

Him: “What?”

Me: “I don’t have a Porsche in my garage.”

Yep. I told a dead baby joke in an interview. At least he and the admin laughed.

I shook his hand on the way out, even though he eyed me like that was too fucking late, and I left, miserably awaiting a rejection letter that would be sent to me by none other than the murder-witnessing gal two days later. She must have loved that.

Their screw-ups:

1.  Common courtesy, jerk. Instead of calling me like regular people, they emailed me to show up at a different site. Imagine how much worse this interview could have gone if I had shown up late. Not to mention that he vigorously insulted all of my past work history.

2. The girl either lied to me or lied to her bosses to fend off any embarrassment. Not my problem. They asked for a writing sample, I gave them four.

3. The CEO had no idea what I was applying for. He did not read my press release nor communicate with the other interviewer.

Yikes. At least I learned that maybe I should have taken a Xanax or two beforehand.

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