An Open Letter to Hiring Companies Everywhere

Hi there, employee-seeking world:

You don’t know me very well. I’ve only been perusing your fluorescent aisles for 6-ish weeks, so I realize that my forthcoming advice may be along the lines of those well-intentioned child-free friends who offer sleep advice to the parents of newborns. I hope you’ll listen, anyway. I really do have your best interests at heart.

See, those of us who wander through your vast digital expanse in search of gainful employment aren’t doing it because it’s particularly fun. We’re doing it because we have families to support and mortgages to pay, and we’ve chosen to abandon all hope of ever winning the lottery.

So we sit here, day after day, hour after hour, sifting through every job post that LinkedIn et al. informs us we’re qualified for to find the jobs we are actually qualified for.  Then we try to determine whether the job offers what we need to function on a basic human level. We appreciate the information you offer to us. “Benefits! 401k! Vacation!” It’s a great start. I do wonder, however, whether you really believe that a listed salary range of $30k to $100k is helpful to those of us desperate to join the ranks of the gainfully employed.

See, the thing is that for every job us lotto-failures decide to throw our hats into the ring for, we are sent through a maze hoops similar to the following:

  1. Find interesting position and decide it’s worth pursuing.
  2. Click on link for “Easy Apply!”
  3. Enter basic contact information into an online system
  4. Upload resume with the promise that all of the data within your detailed little bundle will be neatly imported into the system
  5. Sigh audibly as you examine the results of step 4, which includes articulate extractions such as: “2005-2007    CA      ; strategic    — variety.”
  6. Manually re-enter every single aspect of resume.
  7. Spend 30 minutes crafting a meaningful cover letter that really highlights your desire to surrender to indentured servitude.
  8. Answer–for approximately the 987659869876th time–the exact same questions about race, gender, military service, and disability status.
  9. Wonder how it’s even remotely possible that such information is being used for anti-discrimination purposes.
  10. Contemplate whether I should start identifying as a white male for employment purposes.
  11. Remember that I really don’t look good in ties.
  12. Although their dress shoes do seem dramatically more comfortable than any of mine.
  13. But then there’s the whole “stand to pee” bit that might prove to be problematic.
  14. Didn’t I used to have a a friend who had some kind of contraption she used to pee standing up at Burning Man?
  15. Eh. Screw it. Honesty is the best policy. If they don’t like me because I have a vagina, I don’t want to work for them anyway.
  16. Click submit.
  17. Lather, rinse & repeat.

When I finally emerge from the acid fog of human resources-related disclaimers, I hear a distant voice shout, “May the odds be ever in your favor!” I clutch my fistful of poison berries tightly to my chest because in this Hunger Games-style rendition of my imaginary reality TV show, Job Seekers, I will look that human resources drone in the eye, flash my berries and demand that she hire all of us or none of us.

You know what would make this easier for all of us? More information about the aspects of the job that seem trivial but are actually critical to human beings: What is the actual salary you are prepared to offer? Will I need to find a new primary care doctor? How much of the benefits do you actually cover? Will you be up in arms if I need to work from home because my daughter wakes up with a fever? How many ACTUAL hours a week do you expect the position to require? 40? 50? 80? If I can’t make the holiday party because the babysitter cancelled, are you going to mention it every time I see you for the next decade?

Seriously. Inquiring minds need to know.

Very Sincerely,

One Exhausted Unemployed Warrior

Tl;dr: Although you are in a position of power right now, it is exceedingly likely that someday, you will join the ranks of the unemployed. Treat us the way you’d like to be treated when that time comes.

Politics: It’s Relevant

45494906_10216950943113398_2678467452622340096_nOur current political climate in the United States is unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’d imagine that many Gen X-ers and Millennials share in that sentiment. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve found myself questioning why I ever thought bringing a child into this cesspool of hatred and bigotry was a good idea. That’s the conundrum those of us who conceived our children in President Obama’s era of hope and change have been faced with as we sit slack-jawed watching our current President engage in name-calling worthy of a jealous kindergartner.

For a while, I participated in a parenting group on Facebook that seemed idyllic. Parents supported on another through their most challenging moments. We shared in each other’s joys and offered safe harbor on the bad days. It was a lovely space; a welcome reprieve from the harsh glares of strangers in the supermarket who think your overtired and overstimulated toddler’s chaos is a direct reflection on your lack of parenting skills.

The bubble burst for me when it was decided that politics had no place in a diverse group of parents. We could discuss practically anything except politics. Supposedly, political discourse doesn’t belong in parenting-related discussions. I could not disagree more.

Think about it for a moment. Is there actually anything more relevant to our children than the branches of government at work deciding their future? Our children are too young to vote. They’re too young to fully comprehend how these elected representatives are laying the foundation that will define many of the opportunities they’ll have in adulthood.

This goes far beyond the debate on abortion, vaccines, or LGBTQ equality. Laws made today will impact our children’s inheritance. They will affect the air they breathe and the water they drink. Legislators will decide whether many of our children can afford to go to college and whether the jobs they’ll work later in life will provide a living wage. They’ll even dictate whether our children can afford to seek medical care when they’re ill.

Do not tell me to pretend politics and parenting don’t go hand-in-hand. Don’t tell me that my political posts don’t belong on my Facebook page. Don’t tell me that political discussion doesn’t belong at the family dinner table. Don’t even tell me that I shouldn’t ask employers about the political leanings of the organization before I decide to spend the majority of my waking hours helping to line their pockets.

Parenting is political. Life is political. To separate ourselves from politics is to turn a blind eye on our futures as well as our children’s.