Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Word, PowerPoint, Excel - I Own You!

I found this gem while looking around my completely unorganized folder of Word docs. To put this in context, my wife and I moved to D.C. from Portland, Maine in 2006, when her marketing company offered her a promotion. We'd never even visited the capital before, but decided to make the move. I temped for a couple months before finding my current gig. The following thoughts were written down after an interview with a staffing company. I'd never heard the word blog back then; I was just angry and wanted to remember how I felt that day.

What I didn't write down at the time was that I ended up at the Tidal Basin during the peak of the Cherry Blossom Festival. So the office temp tests nearly broke my will, but I experienced one of the signature D.C. events by accident - and in my suit, I looked damn good doing it.

I am 30 years old and I suck at Excel. I suck at PowerPoint too. And for the record, I suck at Access. Am I going to let my abysmal test scores define me? Is my entire post-college existence going to be measured by my knowledge of Microsoft Office software? Am I doomed to fail because I haven't become a paper-pushing automaton?

These were the questions I contemplated as I stared at the crumbling grout between the bathroom wall tiles. The faint smell of warm chlorine permeated the air. Damp with perspiration, my heart raced, a vein throbbed in my neck, and I silently muttered a profanity-laden tirade and seethed with frustration.

My registration session with the staffing agency - my first attempt at finding a new job in our new city - had not gone well. I had been humbled by the software tests. My recruiter didn't listen to a word I had said; she'd already read my resume and pigeonholed me in her mind. The glaring fluorescent overhead lights and the tiny, windowless meeting space felt like an interrogation room. A woman erased and replaced figures on a dry-erase board with foul, pungent markers. Occasionally a bell would ring, celebrating a successfully completed task; clapping and muted cheers emanated from the cubicles. I felt claustrophobic, nauseated and out of place. I wanted to run.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hola, Amigos!

Thanks for checking in on my blog. I've got stories in the upcoming I Am Modern holiday special and their winter edition. I'll let you know when they're available online. You may have heard that I'll be guest blogging on during the final week of each month. Set your Outlook calendar! I'm also working on an artist profile at the moment. I'll introduce you to the talented guy playing the piano in the YouTube feed to your right. And, finally, MLB is coming to an end which will leave me bored and restless. Expect more frequent posts soon.
Thanks for your time and comments.