The Book Of Job Search

I recently managed to pull off a bank job. Wait, that didn’t come out right — I meant to say I recently got a job working for a bank. Kind of makes you wonder how I got through the screening process, doesn’t it? And it probably comes as no surprise that I’m not in a position to handle any actual *funds*. No, I’m working at one of the financial institution’s call centers, the place where the kinds of questions we all have from time to time about our accounts are directed — “What’s my balance?”, “What do you mean when you say ‘overdrawn’?” and “Why is it wrong to share my PIN with my boyfriend?”

I’m doing my best to start out strong, so as part of our ongoing analysis of customer feedback I’ve been judiciously offering opinions and insights culled from my prior experiences in an effort to justify the company’s faith in offering me the gig. During a recent session where a group of us deconstructed an interaction that didn’t quite meet the bank’s high service standards, I identified a few key moments of impact and felt good about my contributions. At home that evening, when Carol feigned more than her usual level of interest — while the job is still new — in how my day had gone, I modestly effused how I was earning a reputation as a savant  for my astute observations.

“You mean like an idiot savant ?” she responded, deflating my pomposity with all the subtlety of a flying mallet. I mumbled a chagrined “No, not like that…” and turned my attention away from further conversation and toward my melting bowl of ice cream. It was all I could do to finish it and I felt so chastened I struggled to work my way through the fudge-covered Oreos nestled among the scoops, stabbing with my spoon to break them into bite-sized pieces but lacking my usual level of enthusiasm for the task. I ended up feeling so drained I left uneaten a few scattered M&Ms, listlessly gazing as the colors leached from their candy-coated shells, adding a kaleidoscopic palette to the collage of abandoned dessert elements languishing at the bottom of the bowl.

Anyway… I’m managing the transition from not-working to now-working as fluidly as I can. During my period of unemployment I was diligent about eating grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast  bingeing on Netflix  conducting a vigorous job search, but of course the days of pounding the pavement with résumé in hand are long gone — now every step of the process is online, including using Skype for “in-person” interviews. I had one scheduled and realized I’d only be visible from the shoulders up via webcam, so I decided on an outfit that was business up top and party down below — shirt and tie paired with my most comfortable pair of Fruit of the Looms. Everything was going well until one of the cats pushed his way into to the study where I’d isolated myself for the interview and leaped into my lap. I shooed him away and, offering an apology for the interruption, stood up to go close the door. This now brought my entire wardrobe into the prospective employer’s field of view. If I hadn’t had to sit in a chair with a wicker bottom during the chat, I might have chosen to go commando, which would have resulted in an even more disastrous exposé. It’s probably not a coincidence that the discussion ended shortly afterwards. No offer forthcame.

Dedicated as I am to the concept of continuous improvement, I vowed to arrive fully-dressed for any subsequent interviews I managed to wrangle and so was turned out nicely for the several visits I made to the bank and yada yada now I work there. They say “Clothes make the man.” Well, idiot savant  that I am — I now recognize the importance of a complete set of clothes.

John Branning

About John Branning

Besides what I contribute here, you can also ignore some of my earlier posts by not visiting my website, www.JohnBranning.com, as well as by not purchasing a copy of my books: “Selfie-Facing: Analog Musings in a Digital World,” which made the list of "The Best Self-Published Books of 2016" as seen on the Huffington Post, and my latest, "Keys To The Truculent Me."