“You can bend the rules plenty once you get upstairs, but not when you’re trying to get there, and if you’re someone like me, you can’t get there without bending the rules.” ~Melanie Griffith in the movie Working Girl.
I love this movie. It has all the ingredients for the perfect movie. Good triumphing over evil, corporate deception, a budding romance, Harrison Ford’s subtle humor and a really skinny Alec Baldwin. Okay, the last part really has no bearing on the perfect movie, but I thought I’d mention it just the same.
I’ve always admired how Melanie Griffith’s character, Tess, perseveres against a lying, demanding, bony-assed boss in Sigourney Weaver and works her way up the corporate ladder to the job of her dreams. All this with little education.
I’m at a crossroads in my life. I’m trying to transition out of my part-time massage job to what some would call, a real job. You know, one with health benefits, 401K’s and pension plans. Does anybody offer pension plans anymore?
The trouble is, I can’t seem to get my foot in the door of a real job. I don’t know why, but they seem to think my 11 years of massage experience and 1 year as a quarter-vending machine owner isn’t the stuff real employee’s are made of. My 1979 degree from Oregon State University in Speech Communications doesn’t seem to be impressing anyone and might as well be made into a paper airplane, nor my office skills dating back to the same time sans computers.
I don’t even seem to qualify for an “Entry Level” position. How can someone not qualify for an entry-level position? Take a recent job application I came across for a “Records Officer” for the Sheriff’s department. After filling out the usual “Education” and “Work Experience” fields, I was asked to describe, in detail, my experience with multi-tasking, customer service, creative problem solving and my dedication to service. And, not to forget, I must list all my employers, dates of employment and positions held. Okay, so work with me here… if something is labeled “Entry Level”, wouldn’t that infer “no prior experience necessary?”
Try completing these questions when you’ve been self-employed in the massage field or out of the job market for over two decades riding the Homemaker Train. Hmm, how about, “On September 12, 2003, I simultaneously changed the music in my CD player, blended my essential oils and explained stretching techniques for the biceps brachii to an elderly client. Or, on October 31, 1990, I successfully went grocery shopping, changed the oil in my car and went to the dentist with my 5-year old son and 2-year old twin girls. How’s that for multi-tasking? And don’t even try to tell me that doesn’t qualify for the “dedication to service” part.
Like Tess in “Working Girl,” I feel I need to bend the rules a bit to get noticed among a sea of young, ambitious and overly qualified professionals. Perhaps I could wow them with my personal accomplishments. They say not to put this kinda thing on a resume, buy hey, I’m bending the rules here. 1975 Alaska State Highschool Volleyball Champion? On-line Poetry Contest Winner? Budding Blogger? I definitely think these shining achievements might get my foot in the door of a Fortune 500 company.
Until then, I will work hard at my massage gig, shine up those canary-yellow vending machines and ready myself for that one interview that will land me my dream job.