I’m sitting here, trying not to cry too violently during a much needed resumé update session.
Most of us understand the pain of hashing out our entire education and work history for some potential employer who probably only gives half a rat’s ass about all of the past glory we wax so poetically about. But what about phantom internet contributors like myself, who have spent the last four years churning out sub-standard content for sites while in my pajamas? I’ve not had to endure the harsh lights and intense glares of my employers because I worked from home and my editors and friends were scattered throughout the entire world. And let’s face it, some of them were probably in various states of undress as well.
Too often, when I was younger, I had to sit across a desk from a well-dressed guy or gal and act like a responsible, well-adjusted and upstanding member of society who would do their bidding as soon as they say “jump.” Wearing my hair in a stylish and slick cut, I’d smile with my mouthful of white teeth and say things like “absolutely” and “no problem.” And yet, I already knew that in less than two weeks I’d be wilting under the florescent lights and devising half-hearted attempts to end my obnoxious coworker’s life in the company parking garage after hours with a Louisville slugger tucked under my trench coat.
My experiences and reactions to the 9-5 grind were definitely more theatrical and overblown than most of my friends, but looking back it got me thinking about some of the factors that played a part in me landing those jobs.
When I did a brief stint years ago at Jenny Craig, it was made perfectly clear that my perky nature and my figure were two of the deciding factors in my hiring. My interviewer even went so far as to let me know with a wink and a nudge that the applicant I was up against had a tattoo and a few too many extra pounds to shed (gasp!), so the position was mine.
This time when I wade out into the dangerous waters of the job hunt pool, things will be slightly different. Forty-three, heavier, wiser, angrier — this is how I enter a crowded labor market. The odds will not favor me. I’ll be competing with youth, beauty and rail-thin asses sashaying down the corridor. I will have become that bitter, eye-rolling matriarch who I never understood when I was the doe-eyed ingenue batting my lashes at the accounting department to get what I needed.
When I started getting my references and job history in shape to reboot my earning potential, I froze when I thought of coming before the well-put-together ranks of corporate America. Weight, looks, and confidence play a part in your destiny — and I wondered if all these years spent on a keyboard spewing out my inane drivel in mismatched socks and a ratty old cardigan sweater had changed me. Do I actually have any shits left to give if some Biff in a thousand-dollar suit and washboard abs tells me I’m not what they’re looking for? Or do I still care so much that I’ll run home and start on that hallucination-inducing juice cleanse that Gwyneth Paltrow has been yammering on about this week in US magazine?
What I wish is that all employers could see only what you produce and not what kind of house slippers you have on underneath your desk. Those days haven’t fully arrived yet, so I dust off my best outfit, squeeze into my Spanx and hope the improvement in my cleavage wins me a few points with upper management.