Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Takes One to Know One?

Many employers now restrict job seekers to online applications. Like most things, this has both pros and cons. One disadvantage is the web sites often have long complicated forms one must complete, frustrating because of their redundancy to the resume, which must also be submitted. Some larger employers design their sites so the applicant only fills out the form once, and then the data is stored under a user profile. But this is by no means universal. An obvious advantage to online applications of all varieties is they save postage. And trips to the post office.

I wrote a cover letter today for yet another job application, this one requiring snail mail supplication. After printing out the letter and resume, I addressed the oversize envelope and headed to the Post Office, innocently enough. I am always paranoid about getting the proper postage on oversize envelopes that don’t follow standard postal rules. Especially for job applications. Nothing says “hire me” like an application package marked “postage due.”

I should have been aware enough to look at the calendar and plan for a lengthy visit. It is December, after all. Apparently some people are feeling the holiday spirit, and they don’t procrastinate either. The line stretched practically out the door. I myself am not feeling very festive this year: that’s what unemployment will do to a person. I even toyed with the idea of not getting a tree, but SodaBoy talked me out of that particular brand of heresy. It wasn’t too hard, either. I love me some sweet balsam aroma.

While in line, I watched the postal clerks patiently explaining the most straightforward things to the customers: if you use a priority mail package, you must ship priority mail; where this slip says, “name and address,” you must write in a name and address; things of that nature. Those postal workers really get an unfair rap.

I was also reminded of my power for attracting loonies. It’s far too prevalent a phenomena for me to blame the individual crazies, so I can only conclude that it’s me. I must emit some sort of come-hither-and-tell-me-your-woes vibe that only the unhinged can detect. Because tell me their stories they do. Sometimes it’s pretty funny.

Today, the woman in front of me in line felt compelled to inform me that she’d only eaten a donut so far today, and she’s really not supposed to eat donuts. Huh. And that her stomach has been bothering her all week. I foolishly offered a platitude about there being something going around, maybe she got the bug. Well, that just set her off: she had half her stomach surgically removed twenty years ago, she used to party a lot in those days, she’d gone on a real bender for her birthday, woke up in the hospital, she doesn’t party much anymore, except maybe dinner at the Olive Garden with friends, and…

ChattyPostalCustomers are generally quite harmless, so I just smile and nod along. But I am never quite sure why these people chose me to talk to over the rest of the masses. It must be the old cliché.


Erin said...

Well, part of it must be that you do smile and nod along. These days that can be a rarity.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I think you inherited the abiltiy to attract and keep weirdos from me. I've had that lifelong abilitry and they pick me out in a crowd BEFORE I start simling and nodding.