Hire this woman
Hire this woman: Willing to swallow pride for minimum
January 15, 2005
The low point in my quest for gainful employment came when I was
turned down for a job delivering meals to hospital patients.
"What gives?" I asked the unyielding rejection notice. "Am I not
qualified to carry? Did my $120,000 BA degree somehow not give me the
skills necessary to deliver a tray to the appropriate hospital room? Do
the human resources people think I'll get lost in the ICU or sneak some
How hard can it be to get a freaking job in this city, oh great
Deity? I realize being able to analyze metaphysical poetry isn't the
most marketable skill. But really, you'd think with an advanced degree
I'd be able to find something in the past six months.
Is this all some kind of cosmic joke? Is this your way of
telling me I should've gone to UCLA and majored in accounting like my
mother wanted me to? Did she put you up to this?
Initially, I was snobby and looked only for jobs that paid more
than the minimum wage so I could, oh say, pay back my egregious student
But as the rejections kept coming in and the HR people kept
telling me, "It's not just you; there were 150 applicants for that
spot," I got off my high horse of wanting to actually use my degree and
began looking for jobs that at least sounded partly feasible. Usher at
a strip club? Sure. Landscaper at Seattle Center? Not a problem.
Unfortunately, many of the job descriptions involved rather
ominous warnings: "Must be willing to be exposed to noxious fumes and
stand completely still for eight hours at a time" or "Must be able to
lift 85 pounds repeatedly while alone in a deserted underground parking
garage in the middle of the night."
And those were the jobs I actually qualified for. I won't even
mention the oodles of "Executive Director of '2 Pizza' Astrophysics SQL
XML Managerial Specialist" jobs I found online. Dude, if I spoke fluent
Tagalog and had 15-plus years experience debugging complex networks, I
could have a job like that.
What I find most amusing, though, are the job descriptions where
you know they've already hired someone but are just posting them to
comply with government regulations: "The ideal candidate must be a
blond Pisces named Tiffany who has a dual degree in Marketing and
Medieval History from Northwestern and lives in Lower Queen Anne.
Knowledge of Microsoft Office desirable."
And I'm sorry, people, I just graduated a few years ago. There's
no possible way I'm going to have five to seven years of experience in
anything, unless it's eating Thai food and sending extremely long
e-mails. I'm very good at that.
Until my alma mater decides to cancel my loans due to the sheer
irony of it all, I'm left wondering if there's a way I can apply to all
399 jobs on the University of Washington Web site with one simple mouse
click. It might piss off the HR people, but at least I'd increase my
odds of getting hired to deliver some lemon-lime Jell-O.
Elana Azose is a frustrated graduate of Washington University in St.
Louis and a former NEXT team writer. She lives in Seattle. E-mail: