By: Shannon Ralph
I got my first “piss-off” letter yesterday. Actually, it wasn’t even a letter. It was an email. I had applied online for a job writing legal blogs. It sounded interesting and I am sure I could have done the job. And I think I would have really enjoyed it. However, I believe they were looking for someone with a degree in journalism or, at minimum, a journalism background, which I do not have. They were quick to thank me for applying and to merrily send me on my way.
It’s a somewhat unpleasant feeling, this piss-off. It may sound weird, but this is the first time in my life I have ever applied for a job that was not offered to me. Perhaps it is just stupid, blind luck. Or maybe I interview well. Or perhaps I simply have applied to companies with decidedly low standards in the past. I am not sure. But I have always been offered every job I’ve applied for, so it was a bit of a kick in the gut to get that rejection email yesterday. No, I was not really qualified for it. But come on, don’t they know who they rejected?! I am a blogging, Facebook-perusing, time-wasting, over-thinking, under-performing, head-in-the-clouds phenom! Who wouldn’t want to hire me?
Wait a second…wait a second. I am totally lying. I did apply for a job once that I was not offered. My subconscious had obviously buried the memory. Perhaps to protect my fragile ego, Sybil-style. But in the wake of yesterday’s rejection, it is all coming back to me. Previously suppressed memories are flooding my consciousness as I type this.
It was the summer of 1987 and I was sixteen years old. In search of my very first summer job ever, I applied at the local TCBY in my hometown. Frozen yogurt was new and all the rage at the time. Hinting at the chic style maven I would one day become, I decided to apply for a job at the trendiest spot in town —the new yogurt shop. Keep in mind, this was well before Starbucks inhabited every corner of every city. TCBY was as “cool” as it got in my hometown.
I remember sitting at a tiny table interviewing at the TCBY on Frederica Street while a teenage girl scooped yogurt behind the counter. The man-child who interviewed me maybe had a year or two on me, but was definitely not much older than I was. I did fine in the interview. I aced the math portion of the application “test.” I was a change-making savant. I thought I was a shoe-in for the job. The only remaining portion of the interview was the morality test —an odd multiple choice test consisting of questions that made no sense to me. Questions about how I would handle a coworker who repeatedly showed up late for work. How I would manage a coworker who was caught stealing from the cash register. I remember thinking, aren’t these issues the responsibility of the manager? Not the lowly yogurt-scooper? I answered the questions to the best of my ability, picking the answers that I thought were true and moral and right. I went on my way, excited about the prospect of donning that pink apron. I drove home fantasizing about eating my weight (which was considerably less than it is now) in delectable frozen yogurt. I was going to be one of the cool kids!
Later that same afternoon, I received a call from the pimply manager at TCBY. He informed me that TCBY would not be hiring me as their next yogurt scooper extraordinaire. I believe that I went into a state of shock at that point. My mouth hung open. A chill went through my body. Why? WHY? Was I not a change-making virtuoso? But I look good in pink, dammit! The TCBY manager went on to explain, rather awkwardly, that I had failed the morality test. He then, obviously concerned that he was talking to a pariah —or perhaps a future sociopathic serial killer— quickly said his goodbyes and hung up. What the hell?
How in the world could I have possibly failed the TCBY morality test? I was a good girl. I went to Catholic school. I played the organ at church, for God’s sake! When I was sixteen, I did not drink or smoke or do drugs or even drink coffee. I wasn’t a liar. I rarely made fun of other people. I didn’t have a snarky bone in my body. I had friends. I wasn’t antisocial. At that young age, I had yet to experience any of the vices that make life downright pleasant today. Yes, it was the eighties, but I wasn’t completely morally corrupt. I cried when E.T.’s heart light went out. I cheered for the Jedi. Though I thought he was pretty damn cool with his sinister asthmatic wheezing, I did not applaud Darth Vader’s quest for universal domination. All in all, I was a good kid. I was on the side of the good guys. What the hell went wrong? How had my tutti-frutti-infused dreams wither in just a few short hours?
I never got answers to my questions. The why of my moral shortcomings was never explained to me. Life went on. I eventually became the hostess with the mostest at The Sizzler. I went on to get into a good college. Despite a few speeding tickets and traffic violations, I have had no run-ins with the law. Perhaps TCBY knows something I do not, and the day will come when I do snap. In the meantime, I will continue my job search. Disheartened, but not defeated.
On a somewhat related note, I recently learned that Ruanita failed the morality test to work at Sam’s Club in her early twenties. We are obviously an unscrupulous match made in heaven.
Or hell maybe?
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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