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.