When the HR guy tells you you're confusing.

“I don’t know how else to tell you this,” he says to me, “but I find you confusing.”

I look at my resume and cover letter — the required documents — in his hand and I realize attempt #14 did not land a job for me and think I am not a human resource.

I leave the HR office wondering how I had become a list of what I was not, wondering when Photoshop had become a skill, wondering why being a teacher, a designer, an artist, an entrepreneur, a pastry chef, a get-off-my-ass-work-hard self-starter — how a jack-of-all trades was really a hack-of-all trades.

I realize there was one common denominator in my job-hunting failures: I was applying for jobs where they were looking for people to apply.

People don’t know what they want, I decide. Not really.

Someone left, or there is more work to do, and they create a list of what they think will take care of it. They think they want a Photoshop expert instead of someone who can work with a lousy computer and clunky software and still pull off a great design.

I need to apply for a job where they aren’t actually looking for anyone, I think. I need to tell someone they need me but hadn’t realized it. I need to take them by surprise.

I go home and make my anti-resume for the non-job that no one is looking to fill. I wonder where I ought to take it. I remember the small company I walked by every day on my way to and from my job at the bakery. I think that is a good start. I put on my winter coat and walk eight blocks and take a deep breath and pull open the door and my hands are sweaty in my gloves and I remember I’m horribly introverted and I think I should run and then one of the owners walks out and I say, in my most professional voice as I hand over the non-resume to the confused owner:

“This is going to be awkward.”

And then I quickly leave.

And then later, I get a job there.

It lasts about three years.

I could tell you about the bad ending.

But at least I got three years.


Originally written for my Medium.com blog on May 23, 2013. Edited.


  1. You really do have to tell us about the bad ending!

    Applying for jobs is a horrible experience. I try to avoid it as much as possible...

    1. The bad ending has always hovered in the back of my mind as a possible book. It was bad enough that I think, to do it justice, I'll have to use cartoons to illustrate it. Some day.


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