Sunday, September 30, 2012

Teacher AND Saint

A few weeks ago, I started noticing signs along the roadside for a Festival at St Barbara's Church

In the back of my mind, I made a mental note of the date thinking it might be fun for us to check it out

The week of the Festival, I said aloud to Lucy as we drove home

Lucy, what do you think of going to St Barbara's Festival this weekend?

I watched her in my rear view mirror waiting for a response

Lucy, who had her nose buried in book, lowered it down onto her lap in slow motion and looked at me with her mouth agape and after a few seconds of silence said in a mixed tone of disbelief and amazement

Mama! Miss Barbara is my teacher AND a Saint????

Yes Lucy, yes she is......

Maria the Mum

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wanted: Full Time Administrative Assistant

We posted two weeks ago a job listing for an Administrative Assistant
To date, I have received almost 400 inquiries
It’s tough out there
I’ve had resumes from all kinds of people with all kinds of professional backgrounds
When lawyers, nurses, and teachers start applying for an Admin job, you know times are tough
I empathize with the folks out there pounding the pavement looking for a job
I really do
Which is why I feel like it’s my civic duty to provide you with some unsolicited, and possibly kind of mean, and borderline offensive advice
1.      Everything is electronic nowadays, this should be no surprise to anyone

Do yourself a favor: get a grown up email address

I will not respond if your email is anything like any of the following:

joeyshotmama, hotbod69, slippylippy, puckerupswak, sweetiepie, sexygurrl, dreamweaver, injunjoe, hottiepatotea, hunnybunny, honeybun, babygirl, dippydoodoo, 2on1isfun,

If I am embarrassed to email you because of your address, I’m guessing that other perspective employers are as well
Really…you want me, a perspective employer to know that you think 2 on 1 is fun? Even if I agree with you, that is not something any employer should know about you
And Joey’s Mama? You are a Mom know, have some respect for motherhood will you?!? I don’t care if you are a cougar or a MILF, you are a Mom – and I am a perspective employer
How can I respect you if you don’t respect yourself?
Your email address is who you are – I get it – I get that you want people to know you are sexy and a dreamer and a real sweetie pie – but reserve that email address for your family and friends (although 2on1is fun, for your parents’ sake, give them your other email address)
Your name@whatever domain, your first name.last name@whatever domaion
And if your name is taken, throw a number in the end of it; but stop with the goofy, semi-erotic, slightly pornographic and terribly suggestive email addresses

2.      Look, I get that times are tough out there but are you really going to drive 50-75 miles for an Admin job?

Gas is $3.89 a gallon
Winter’s can be a bitch here
And traffic – forget it
75 miles one way for an Admin job?
Are you really going to make the drive in your SUV for $18-$21 an hour?


Every morning?
In the snow?
In the rain?
Every night?


      3.    This is pretty basic but, when you come in for your interview, NO PERFUME!
I’m not usually bothered by perfume but when you come in smelling like a whore on payday, well, all I want to do is end the interview as quickly as possible in order to hook myself up to an oxygen machine to return my lung capacity to normal
I should not have to wear a Level 1 HazMat suit for an interview
Easy on the toilet water ok?

4.      I get that America is the melting pot
And like you, I am proud of my birth name
But I also recognize and acknowledge that sometimes, people can’t pronounce my name and sometimes, may not reach out to me because they can’t say it
So, I try to make it easy for them
So if you are 2 and can’t say Maria, as, most two year olds can’t, call me Rere or Ria
So if your name is Suthewastagytywsherqkhqaaawgwt, how about you throw the people reviewing your resume a bone and give us a name we can pronounce… Sue
I’m not saying you have to let go of your ethnicity or heritage or lose your identity but think about it, if I can’t pronounce your name, what are the chances of me calling you?
Especially when you get all pissy because I mispronounce your name
And I know this may be offensive to some but think about this:
When you call your credit card for customer service, really when you call anywhere for customer service, we all know and secretly complain about the fact we reached some call center in India and we can barely hear and or understand them…
But have you ever noticed they say "Thank you for calling ABC Company, this is Bob, Mary, Jenny, Sue, Mark…..." I mean really, how many Indians do you now called Jenny? They Americanize their names for their audience – do the same here
And if that is so terribly offensive, I hate to tell you this but I’m not calling you

5.      This is pretty basic and fundamental but it bears repeating:
        Do not, under any circumstances, trash talk your past or current employers, co-workers and/or bosses…and certainly don’t do it using full names!
One of the questions I ask in an interview is Who was your favorite boss/manager/supervisor and why? What characteristics or behaviors did they display that made him or her your favorite?
I then ask, What are some characteristics of your least favorite boss/manager/supervisor?
Notice I change the wording and do not ask WHO rather I ask for characteristics - and I even say, you don’t have to name names, I’m just looking for characteristics and traits
I am shocked at how many people told me the boss’s name, company
And then, proceeded to really rip into said boss along with co-workers, company owners and once, the boss’s wife!
This is interviewing 101 folks, do not, ever, no matter what, trash talk someone you worked for in an interview
Find a constructive way to say they were total micromanagers:
I thrive best in an autonomous environment - I perform best when left to the task so I would have to say a characteristic in a boss that is my least favorite would be someone who micromanages me. It adds stress to the day and I find I don’t perform as well as I normally would
Find a better way to say she was a total bitch and shit on everything I did:
Sometimes, my boss would lose her temper and handle things in a way that was not appropriate for the work place. I find I don’t react well to insults, yelling and sarcastic comments muttered under one’s breath. I also know that when I work hard on a project and the first thing I’m told is that it’s wrong with no explanation or justification as to why, well, it breaks down my moral and makes me not want to do better but instead, I shut down
And don’t use names! You never know who I know or who someone else might know

6.      I called someone to come in for an interview and the second question out of her mouth, after telling me she would only come in at one time because that was what worked best for her, was how much are you going to pay me? I want to  make sure this is worth my time

My instinct was to tell her never mind – her tone and her demands for a time that worked around her schedule and wanting to know the salary were off putting

But I gave her the benefit of the doubt

She showed up for her interview driving a luxury car (the same vehicle one of the owner’s here drives)

Her interview went downhill primarily because her first statement to me was
Well, you must be willing to pay me at least xx number of dollars as I drove out here to meet with you

I know that salary is important – I do – I realize the important of mine every day
But do not bring money up – let the employer bring it up

And when I tell you the hours are Monday-Friday 8-5, don’t try to negotiate
If I wanted to negotiate, I would have told you that up front….as a matter of fact, I never would have you given you days and hours

So when I say Monday through Friday, 8-5 and yes that include the summer, I’m not kidding

And for the record, you are the one looking for work, not me
You are one of 387 resumes I received
I have 386 other people I can call
Do not start making demands of me because I will call all 386 other people even if I think you have the perfect skill set for the job

7.      One time, in an interview, I had a woman stop me and ask how old I was

This was quite a few years ago……it may have even been the very first time I conducted a job search

I was so caught off guard, I answered the question

Her next statement was she could not work for someone who was younger than her own children as she did not think someone so young could even begin to know how to manage someone or run a department or “be in charge”

She could not have respect for someone so young

I quite possibly could have agreed with her….hell, I’ve met people older than me I would not dream of working for because being managed by them would be a joke

But here’s the thing: In an interview, you should never ever, never ever, ever under any circumstance shit on the company or the person you are interviewing with

If you do not like me, do not like the company I am describing to you, do one of two things:

Let the interview come to an end and if I ask you back for a second interview, politely decline


Stop me in the interview and tell me you do not feel this job right is for you – but do it without being condescending and judgmental
Say something like
I appreciate you asking me to come in and interview for the position but, the more we sit and talk, the less I feel that I am the right person for this job – and I am not so sure this job is for me…but again, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me

I’ll have a lot more respect for you if you do that than if you tell me you can’t “take orders from someone younger than my own child”

Same goes for the woman who, when I asked her if she had any questions for me about the job or the company responded by saying

I heard you’re tough to work for, is that true?

She did not make the second cut either

8.      Do not lie on your resume
And if you are going to, do not tell me in the interview you lied on your resume
And in this scenario, exaggerating is the same is lying

9.      I can’t tell you how many times in interviews people tell me things that have nothing to do with the job or the company

I had one woman tell me about her ailing mother –in-law

Another woman broke down and cried for ten minutes as she told me about her 90+ year old Dad

Another woman shared with me how having her daughter was by far the greatest gift she has received

The other day, I had in interview and by the time she left, I knew her husband’s name, his occupation, how they met, all about their wedding and reception and, names of all four cats!

I’m glad these people feel like they can open up to me and tell me things; it gives me a better idea about who they are as a person

However, know where to draw that line

Don’t share too much too fast, it can really turn off an employer

I don’t want to hear the details of your bachelorette party or you drunken escapades from last night which explains why you seem a bit out of it today

I do not need to know how and why your marriage ended or what you caught your ex husband doing with your neighbor’s husband

I like that people open and share – just be sure to edit a bit more

10.   My final piece of advice is this:

Those of us doing the interviewing do not enjoy it anymore than you enjoy being interviewed

Sit back and relax

Try not to shout at me during the interview
I know you were not yelling at me you were just excited but tone it down

Plus, you scared me

Also, even if you think you know me and my type, do not, in an interview, try to make any speculations or guesses about your perspective employer…professional or personal

I may bear a slight resemblance to Rosie O’Donnell and I may have set off your gaydar but it is not ok to ask me if I am on your team

And you may think by looking at me that I am a hard ass but do not make that observation out loud

You just end up embarrassing everyone involved

Good luck out there people
Best foot forward
Maria the Mum