Letters

More bitter satire, please. Readers respond to Joyce McGreevy's "Even Worse Than Unemployment: The Job Interview."


Salon Staff
May 30, 2003 11:30PM (UTC)

[Read Joyce McGreevy's columns on unemployment and the job interview.]

Ah, the joys of job interviews. I suspect that the author has had it easy with the interviews, because most of the interviews friends of mine and I have leave us with an urge to change civilization in lasting and fundamental ways, most of which involve a Dalek invasion blasting life on earth back to the Azoic Era. The demeaning questions are just a part of the problem: What about the interviewer who notes one word on your résumé and obsesses on it? (This usually involves the fact that your previous employer was a supplier to Company X and the interviewer keeps asking, "So what improvements did you make at Company X?") What about the tag-team interviews with at least one passive-aggressive dolt who doesn't want another potential competitor? (For instance, the programmer who says "We don't need a technical writer on this project! I've been writing 'Star Trek' fan fiction for years, so I can write our documentation and save us money!") Oh, and what about the H.R. rep or recruiter who obviously got that MBA solely so s/he could get something out of eight years of keggers besides a cocaine habit and syphilis? ("Your résumé says that you have eight years of Web design experience," said with a perfect Valley Girl patois, "but the client needs someone who knows HTML. That's why we passed you up for someone else.")

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These days, I dread job interviews, particularly in the IT industry, because they only prove one thing: The brightest and the best were the first to be laid off, and the only people remaining are those with trust funds or who could hide in back with their red Swingline staplers and pretend to be doing constructive work. Oh, and the pathological liars who schedule three weeks' worth of interviews only to change the job requirements at the last second and decide that the only way they'll find someone with 20 years of Java programming experience and 15 years of .Net time is to outsource the job to India. No wonder the tech industry collapsed.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to apply for that job at Target: It's a crappy job, but at least I have no worries that I'll be replaced by the manager's frat brother or laid off because the CEO just had a really bad weekend in Vegas.

-- Paul T. Riddell

I'm sitting here trying to figure out which bills to pay this month. I've exhausted $11,000 in savings and now it's nut-cutting time.

I feel sorry for myself. I've dummied down my skill set for hundreds of potential employers. I'm considering shoplifting food. And it's not quite noon.

Anyway, I don't feel alone. Thanks for Joyce McGreevy's recent articles on the big unemployment picture. I hope you're paying her (even though I'm clicking through for the free Salon Premium service).

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I've got another interview tomorrow. It's 120 miles away. Somehow, she helped shorten that distance for me today.

Hey, Joyce. Hang in there.

-- Tim Snodgrass

I'm the one who in the past has kept sending you letters saying "Please quit trying to be the Onion." However, Joyce McGreevy is funny! Kudos to Salon for finding this gem!

Unlike several earlier attempts at satire in Salon that I found so annoying, Joyce McGreevy's satire is mature and not sophomoric. These times call for a new Swift, and McGreevy fills his shoes admirably.

The Onion should only hope to come up with anything as good as McGreevy's "Job Interview."

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-- Teresa Neal

Yes, it's worse than unemployment.

My own personal favorite question (as in ding, ding, we have a winner!) was "Are you a three-dimensional thinker?"

I paused for a minute thinking of several answers, but none of them could match my first instinct, which was to ask the interviewer what in the hell he was talking about.

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Now I'm a stay-at-home dad. Still no work but at least I have an excuse not to check the job sites and classifieds.

-- David Parmet

That satire piece was absolutely worthless. Who is it aimed at? What is it trying to say? I simply do not get it. At a time when so many people are unemployed in this country it seems almost contemptuous.

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-- N. Medina

God love you, Joyce McGreevy, God love you. Having spent the last eight months populating the various recycling bins at organizations around town with my résumé, I have at times come to feel somehow alone in my quest for meaningful employment. It was refreshing and cathartic to read your take on the indignities of interviewing for a job you never thought you would have to take. So from all of us overeducated, underemployed grunts, and from everybody who has set aside opinions and passions for a veneer of inoffensive respectability, I raise a glass to you. Or I will when I get my next paycheck...

-- Susan Smith

I've been asked all the questions in the article, which is billed as satire. For a long time, I answered too honestly. When I saw that my bank balance was dangerously close to zero and MasterCard called asking when they would receive my $50 minimum payment, I learned to fabricate.

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Jayson Blair must have aced every interview he ever went on. Sometimes management gets what it deserves.

-- Elizabeth Morse


Salon Staff

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