|Posted by A.M. Wright on January 6, 2016 at 8:40 PM||comments (6)|
It’s 7:29 PM on a Wednesday as I’m typing this. My mom is in the kitchen texting, my older brother and his fiancee are away at their very successful jobs, and everyone else is...well, everywhere else.
I’m at my dad’s computer because Word and Macs don’t play well together. The margins get hairy after converting the document and the devil really is in the detail. My job coach told me that. As a mentee, she told me the ins and outs of Human Resources. Computers usually run applications, keywords are absolutely necessary, studying is actually used out here in the real world (unlike College, I never studied in College), and other wonderful things about Adulthood that I never claimed to know before. She opened my eyes to things like ‘professional references’ and ‘follow ups’ and ‘character defining cover letters’.
It was like that business class I took that I don’t remember during my Sophomore or Junior year but owe a lot money to for not paying attention or sleeping or whichever one because I’m a poor student and an even worse adult (I’m also fully aware that that was a run on sentence, so you should read it again and chuckle at the irony (if there is any)).
Anyways, one thing I can assure my dear old job coach is that a cover letter is an obstacle of its own. It’s a path that you must take on this journey to punctuate to a potential employer of your capability to stand out like a sore thumb. But not too sore, because, ya know, no one wants an actual sore thumb in the office. You can’t get drinks with people like that. They’re sore and thumb-y.
I’m trying to be the special heroine in my own special story. Kind of like Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory, which I have never watched before but admire in the $5 movie bin at Walmart. Perky, cute, dimpled, and full of spunk! Not to mention a go-to attitude when the going gets tough and the tough need to be tougher (but still cute). I guess what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that a cover letter should be as telling as a conversation between two strangers discussing business.
At Panera Bread.
The only thing is that your cover letter really doesn’t say much. It doesn’t include your favorite color or preferred ethnic cuisine to binge on. It’s a personalized letter designed to cut out your flaws and pump up your strengths. Read the job responsibilities closely because that is your ‘compare and contrast’ assignment for the next thirty minutes.
The guys in the gray suits are asking: How does your previous work experience line up with we’re looking for, unnamed candidate?
I think that’s the part of the application I struggle with the most. I can personalize a response to a question frequently asked by different people with a different mode of hearing. I can even switch from a form of Academic writing to a relaxed form, which I prefer anyways. But for reasons easily explained, I have a hard time lining up my work experience with the job responsibilities. It’s like looking in a mirror and trying to convince my reflection that I am all of these things:
- 1-2 years experienced in a professional work environment.
- Creative, unique, and organized when approached with multiple tasks.
- Capable of asserting oneself and ideas without being too assertive lest the upper management see you as a threat.
- Manageable and friendly.
Ideally, I would like to write a cover letter that introduces me as a human being. Rather than showcase my efforts to “fit in”, even though I already know I’m a riot and I’ll fit in because it’s 2016. Duh.
If I was a CEO and I was planning out the sacred tree of my company, I think I would switch it up. So in an imaginary world of my own making, which is like madness in a cute tea cup with positive life sayings, I would want potential employees to be expressive. To actually BE CREATIVE. It takes a pretty smart cookie to write something that is both engaging and speaks to their character. Creative minds breed creative ideas and other creative things that are cool and worth talking about.
Like Pixar. Pixar is cool. They have a rec room and toys for their employees. Imaginary CEO Amanda would be the first to initiate May the Fourth as an official celebration of Star Wars. You can’t work for me if you don’t like the Big Three:
- Star Wars
- Harry Potter
But I’m too cool for school and super accepting, so if you don’t like one or two of those three then that’s okay. As long as you know that life without a childhood in your 30s is presumptuously boring. In fact, that would be part of the Mission Statement on my imaginary company page. It would also touch on my previous example of special heroines, like Rachel McAdams.
Be your own Rachel McAdams in a fictional movie about overcoming real life obstacles!
Positive vibes, positive life.
Anyways, to accentuate my nonsense speak I would now like to take this time to write the cover letter that is deserving of praise. A cover letter that cries, ‘Hark! This child here is the Adult that you have been seeking since that Job was posted on Indeed/Monster/Other a fortnight ago. Read! Experience! Delight and take her phone number, your future is upon you!’ (Read that the way it was meant to be read: With drama! With flare! Like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady!)
So here goes….
To Whom It May Concern:
My name, without giving too much away, is Amanda. I’m 22 and out of college, which was a fun ride. I have a Bachelor’s Degree and I also have a part time job at a bookstore. They like to tell me I’m full time. I like to tell them that I love books. You might then ask why I am applying? Good question.
My favorite color is purple. It’s my favorite color because I was convinced at a young age that your favorite color has to be the same as your birthstone. Mine is Amethyst. I was born because my parents wanted me and now I claim that I was born to be the next Great American Author. The only thing stopping me is every other Great American Author, like Khloe Kardashian and Chris Colfer (apparently fame, too?). I went to college to play softball and learn stuff. I quit softball to focus on learning stuff. End result? I learned a lot of stuff. My interests are like my heart, I wear them on my Instagram. Running, reading, writing, and sometimes doodling. I’m really good at the writing thing when I want to be. Self application and a little pat in the right direction is a good starting point. Why hire me? Well, I think I’m funny. I’ll try to make people laugh, but I mostly make myself laugh and someone once told me: If you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at? Probably not verbatim, but close enough. I like working and being occupied with work, especially when I really like what I do. Currently I shelve books and alphabetize things for 8 hours. It’s therapeutic, you should try it some time.
Why am I qualified? That’s on my resume. This letter is me saying ‘Hi!’ and waving at you from across the hall with a big goofy smile. I want this opportunity because I want to work, because an opportunity is like knowing that someone else believes in you. Take that into consideration. If you need anything else, like a reference letter or portfolio pieces then you know who to call. Or email.
(And there you have it. The cover letter of my soul. Did you tear up a little? I pictured a little british boy in a bad part of town reading it out loud as a monologue with string accompaniment. Like a Victorian England backdrop and Lindsey Stirling grinding out sweet, sweet beats. That would be a good movie if one was ever made. Anyways, share your thoughts or impart some wisdom or write your own letter. It’s fun, trust me.)
|Posted by A.M. Wright on June 26, 2015 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
No one should be around me when I’m reading.
Or when I’m watching TV shows that specifically interest me.
Or when I’m listening to music.
I’m a mess. A literal pile of feelings, all around limb-flailing, and choked laughter intermixed with ugly gurgling noises. It’s like my amusement is trying to escape at the same moment that my overall excitement rises, forcing the two together like ketchup and onions. If that sounds awfully unattractive or magnetically appealing, then I would have to try and understand why.
I thought about this the other night. Recently I’ve been rereading some of the old books I had previously purchased on my Kindle. This leads into the later parts of the night and the earliest parts of the morning. Perfect Chemistry, Forget You, Lily, and Cross My Heart…plus Twilight a few fair weeks back, have all been part of this exceptionally long episode of “fangirling”. If you don't know what that is, then this defintion is courtesy of Urban Dictionary:
v. 1. the reaction a fangirl has to any mention or sighting of the object of her "affection". These reactions include shortness of breath, fainting, highpitched noises, shaking, fierce head shaking as if in the midst of a seizure, wet panties, endless blog posts, etc.
They also provide examples, just in case the application of the "verb" is lost on anyone. Case in point, I was totally fangirling over this scene in which both of my favorite characters totally touched fingertips.
It only sounds terrible, I promise! It’s also so much fun. Especially when you need to work yourself out of a reading slump.
Anyways, I get to parts that are beyond cheesy and so blunt that I don’t miss the heavy weight of words in some of my favorite reads. Perfect Chemistry is my guiltiest pleasure. I think the moment that the two main characters finally kissed I snorted, giggled, and choked on my own happiness (Fangirling). Terrible, right? At exactly 12:01 AM I texted my best friend, who had suggested the book a couple years back, and informed her that I was rereading it.
“Awful and cheesy,” are the exact words I used. I hoped I hadn’t woken her up…not that I asked.
In any case, I started it earlier that day and finished it up around 12:30 AM (Not that I'm bragging, but hey...). The next day was worse. I started Cross My Heart in the morning and finished it in the afternoon. This time I chewed down my thumb until it was finished. Definitely a step up in quality! It would illicit similar reactions. A hand touch, some silly conversation, or a tense scene between the characters shattered my composure. It’s why I kept my door shut. I wouldn’t wish my private behavior on anyone except my dog, who cannot judge me or suggest that I go outside for some sunshine.
Television or music has the same hold.
I just…I get really into it.
There is but one explanation: All of those wonderful adventures those characters have had in their respective worlds, the things they experienced in highs-and-lows, well I’ve been with them the whole time (Whether they want me there or not is ridiculous since they don't exist).
I get lost in the fiction, but I eventually come back. Especially when the time is closer to 3 AM than I would like.
My genuine hope is that there is someone out there who can relate to this late night gag-fest of giggling; cringing over your own behavior because even though no one else is around you're highly aware of how embarrassing it really is. I try not to read around my family. Or watch my shows around them...music, too. Weird as I am, I can't expect them to understand why my favorite characters are caught up in a love triangle that's been battered down with pre-teen high school drama. Teen angst, boyfriends over manicures, etc, etc. There's an entire formula (math included) that explains the make up of YA fiction.
"I love you, I loved you the day you cornered me in a public bathroom scene because you couldn't have waited until I walked out you crazy leading lady!"
It leaves me breathless. Geeky, bookish breathlessness brought on by supressed giggles at midnight.
I am an absolute mess.
|Posted by A.M. Wright on June 8, 2015 at 10:25 PM||comments (0)|
The great thing about working is communicating. If you remember your first day then I'm sure you remember all the days that occured afterwards.
Especially the not so great days and the pleasantly uncommon days. The days when you're handed a larger bill and expected to break it...just after opening the doors. Or waiting on change when the total is equal to a sum and two pennies, only to learn that you have to count out 98 cents while they sweetly apologize over and over again.
I happen to remember those days more than any. In fact, I remember every significant experience I have had since the first day I began my part-time job.
It's funny how one year uncovers small details about yourself that you never knew, like pesky pet peeves. The lack of minut pennies in a large transaction is just the beginning! It appears that when my mother and teachers taught me patience, speak when spoken to, and answer when it is your turn; others have not had the fortune of a similar education. It seems to me, and I could be miserably wrong, but it is considered rude to cut someone off mid-sentence. Rarely does it happen when I find it humorous both during and after.
Monday was a rarity.
Imagine for me an average sized girl, no older than 14, in summer clothing carrying a cup of salty pretzel bites. She must have forgotten to remove her blinders before leaving home as she merrily strode up to the counter, ploughing through an elderly woman to meet me at my register. Now the decision was mine entirely at this point to lose my nerve but I waited.
I waited because I didn't realize how hilariously unusual this girl was. Not only was she confident in her movement but she did it with a grace I have only ever seen on a football field.
We made eye contact. Her eyes were focused on me. Her mouth was focused on the salt lick her fingers had become. All I could think, while she snapped at me the title of the item she was looking for, was please don't touch the books. Please, for the love of the author and publishing company and because cleanliness is next to Godliness; PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THE BOOKS! She did so anyways. When she came back with four other books stamped with greasy, buttered covers I dove into my practiced recitation.
"Do you have this? Would you like it? I can tell you what it is, if you'd like!" Normally I get halfway through, upbeat and perky. Not this time. No, this time I was cut off a quarter of the way through with breathy indignation. Then and only then she threw her money at me, nose up and chin high. After sucking dry her pretzel fingers and washing away the fingerprints themselves, I reflected. Then I wrote it down so that I could later share it with others.
Ignored. Snapped at. Cut off.
The best days happen when the customers don't yell at You, but rather someone they are with. Their bad day is directly correlated to a child/relative/meaningless experience...or in my case and most, tourist related traffic.
This happened to a co-worker of mine the same day, Monday. We'll call her Kay for the sake of privacy! Her position requires a bit more face to face interaction as she both prepares the item and serves it. Her stories are far better than mine, especially this one.
It just so happened that during a fit of outrage at her daughter's lack of depth perception and the combination of bare feet, had her craving a killer cup of extra morning blend roast. Apparently, shoeless children in retail stores is both encouraged and no longer considered "dangerous" towards their health.
"Is it Happy Hour yet?" Our hour of delight (half off all beverages) doesn't start until 4PM. It was not, unfortunately, quite that time yet. Kay informed her of this right away and was bludgeoned, and I do mean bludgeoned, with what we like to call overshare. With a disgruntled glance directed at her poor daughter, this woman went on to explain that it had been "one of those days" and that she just needed a cup of coffee.
It gets better.
The child, as she continued on, had crossed the wrong path and met the painful end of a door. It slid across her foot and left a slightly deep cut (not quite a gash). Then, as if to further prove her point with hard evidence, a foot no bigger than a fist landed on the counter. SMACK! There it was: bare foot, angry red cut, and no shoe.
"I was going to take her to the emergency room," and she paused, "but I just needed some coffee first."
Apparently there are all different levels of agitation that only coffee can cure. A visit to the emergency room is one of them.
|Posted by A.M. Wright on May 28, 2015 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
The Job Search.
How goes it? I’ve sent out 15 applications. A reasonable estimate when I think back 24 days ago...I checked the Countdown app on my phone to be sure. A wonder of the technological world. Not only does it knock down the days until the event, but it keeps track of the time that has passed long after its end. Like my excitement in the coming days it now marks my anxiety.
May 3rd, 2015. Graduation Day.
To think that nearly a month ago I was 24 days naive. I thought it would be easy and to a degree, it has been. Scoping every career site I could sign up for and shipping out my application like an eager text message.
In that time, I have rewritten every cover letter to emphasize my skills and abilities that would most apply. Twice I wrote the wrong employer in the top left corner. Once I wrote the wrong date. Apparently April is not in May.
During and after each application I felt more accomplished. Ready to tackle the system. Make my mark. Be great!
Five employers have contacted me.
Three rejections: “We have reviewed your resume thoroughly and after much consideration, we feel that other applicants are better suited. We wish you luck in your future endeavors.” Each italic like a bee sting. One, two, three.
The other 10 are lost in the void. Shifted into the pile of misfit resumes. I picture a dim room. Dark and dusty, lights flickering, and one large file cabinet in the middle of disarranged folders. Papers scatter the floor stamped with big red “NO”s and footprints of those who passed through. It is the Applicants Cemetery. Where old resumes and cover letters go to rest.
(They should really have a janitor polish it up…)
I imagine that the drastic change that has come over me is due to the effects of the “Real World” setting in. I hear so much about it. It’s like a bedtime story. I liken it to tales told to children meant to keep them in line. In fear. It is Hushabye Mountain, a Castle In the Sky, the Boogeyman under your bed! The Real World. It is to be feared. To be respected. A pivotal turning point in the Heroes journey to find true happiness. Conquer it and you shall be granted everlasting wisdom, bragging rights, and a vacation home in Malibu. Though I would prefer somewhere cooler, like Alaska.
Born of frustration and anticipation. You never understand the craving of independence until it is staring you down in the mirror every morning. The pinging sound of another email a reminder that you rely on someone else’s judgment. The family home comfortable but suffocating. Four years ago my resolution was strong. Unwavering. I would graduate. Find a job. Move out, make something of myself, and bathe in the self-appraisal.
24 days naive. 24 days graduated. 15 applications, three rejections, and two possibilities. Repeat it like a mantra.
The job search.
How goes it?