Poems for the Unemployed


On An Interview

So, like, you worked there for HOW long?

Seventeen years.

Omigod! Didn’t you get, like, bored?

No. And I was at my next job for almost four years, and I was at my last job for almost nine years.

No way! I’ve had like a thousand jobs and I’m only twenty three.

Sometimes I feel as if I’ve had a thousand jobs.

What? Really?

Figuratively.

Oh, okay, like you’re just kidding? I was like omigod this applicant’s had like a thousand jobs!

And so I quietly ease myself out her office door.

Answering Questions

I had to take a test at a place I applied to.

Standing at the counter, with my back to the store, I answer almost

two hundred questions about what I would do in certain

situations regarding customer service crises, inventory shrinkage

(we used to call it stealing) and personnel drama.

Maybe I answer everything too severely, or maybe not severely enough.

It’s hard to answer questions when you can’t see the eyes or the mouth

of the person who made up the questions.

And so I think I might be making up the answers.

A Thank You Note

“Dear Sir or Madame or Ms.,

“I am applying to the posted job regarding the office management position in need of filling at Humongo, Inc., a corporation which makes, through the wonders of chemistry and engineering, products ranging from hand grenades to diapers to teddy bears to pancake syrup to billy clubs.

“There was no mention of salary, and– as might be expected– this is probably an integral part of every job seeker’s goals. That’s me– a job seeker.

“I require a living wage– something that will cover all my expenses, with some left aside to put into a savings account. A savings account! Quaint, right?

“If the wage you offer is not a living wage, please say so. Eight dollars per hour is not a living wage. Neither is nine. In fact, neither is ten.

“Thank you.”

Living Death

The career counselor tells me:

DON’T put down on your resume the year you graduated college… or high school… or else they’ll KNOW. They can figure it OUT!

DON’T put all your jobs going back into the past… they can add up the years, and then they’ll KNOW.

They’ll know what?

That I’m practically dead?

Lying On Applications

When they ask on applications “what languages can you speak fluently?” does that mean

that they are asking FLUENTLY fluently, or just get-around-okay fluently ?

If I said that I can speak Estonian, Hungarian, and Moldovan, will they check? REALLY check?

It might look good on a resume but it could get me into trouble

when someone at my new job is bleeding to death

and everyone hollers “can anyone here speak Estonian?”

and then they all look at me.

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4 responses

  1. Oy! Your experiences make for highly entertaining storytelling but I imagine they were not fun to endure. Glad you can see the humor in bringing “more experience” to the job market. It ain’t easy!

  2. I love you, always. Makes me remember all the applicants we had at the store, especially the one who left the entire sheet blank, and expected to be hired anyway.

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