Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mail And Interviews And...Some Other Stuff

I love mail. I love going to the mailbox and seeing what's inside and having that brief moment of hope and frisson of thrill thinking about what might be inside. Usually it's bills and flyers and such. But sometimes it's a letter from a loved one or a small, unexpected package. And like Pavlov's dogs, it always gets me excited thinking that the next time I open the mailbox there just might be a little nugget in there with my name on it.

I would even go so far as saying I love email. Yes, it's different than the post, but sometimes just as good. Sure, I get tired of sifting through the chain mail that some people send and sometimes it's just a joke that someone thought was funny enough to forward. But that's okay. On a really bad day, I even like my spam box where I find myself dreaming of a Nigerian prince with money for me or just what exactly those Canadian pharmacies could do for me.

What I don't like, is getting an email reminding me "Hey, remember that thing you signed up to do? That thing you volunteered to help with? That thing that you thought in all of the pre-holiday hubbub 'hey that's in January and I'll deal with it then'? Well guess what? Tomorrow is that thing! We'll see you at 8 a.m.!" Yeah. I don't like those so much. Would you like to guess what was in my email Monday night? Did you guess "a letter very much like that disturbing grammatically icky thing you just wrote?" You did? WINNER! WINNER! CHICKEN DINNER!

So the thing that I had volunteered for was giving mock job interviews to the 5th grade students at my son's school. I had done it when my daughter was in 5th grade and quite enjoyed myself. Fifth graders, you see, are quite flaky and I kinda dig that, so I figured that it would be time well spent.

Here in my neck of the ol' Hoosier woods, part of the curriculum for social studies is learning about how business and communities work. One of the ways that schools around here teach those lessons are in cooperation with Junior Achievement. In my experience, this has been a great program for helping kids understand how business and community work and the kids really like it. So before the kids head to Biztown, they must apply and interview for the jobs they want. And I--I, my friends--was one of the interviewers. How would you like to see me in a chair opposite you glaring at you with my laser eyes and frowning and harrumphing? Scary, huh? Yeah, I don't think the kids were too intimidated either.

And so it was that at 8 a.m. on yesterday morning--a morning I might add, that I had crammed full of other things and appointments, it being one of my days off--I headed off to James' school to strike fear into the squeezy little hearts of 10 year olds interview students.

I must tell you, it was worth every minute of the time I had to carve out of my schedule. The kids were all fluttery and nervous as they approached. Most of them offered very nice handshakes and made good eye contact as their teachers had coached them to do. I found that the job of Disc Jockey was one of the most popular, (Can't you just hear the Biztown radio station deejay? "And that was Miley Cyrus with her latest hit! Next up we'll be hittin ya with some Jo Bros, Demi Lovato and we may even throw in a little Taylor Swift just to change things up a little. Stay tuned!") but CEO and CFO gave it a run for its money.

My own son was hoping to get the job of attorney. When asked by his interviewer (not me, thank goodness!) why he would be good at that job he responded, 'I'm really good at arguing. I'm logical and I'm persistent and I always win. Except if I'm arguing with my mom.' Don't you think he deserves the job?

One of the students I interviewed for the CEO position will probably be one someday. He was quite confident and bright and had a pretty good grasp of what he'd need to do. When I asked him a question that required some elaboration on his part, he responded with 'Well, if my company was in trouble financially, I'd look for ways to cut costs or increase prices before I'd fire people.' I might have tried to put him in my pocket and take him home.

Another boy interviewing for the same position listed golf as his favorite pass time. When I asked him about it, he told me he plays just about every day in the summer. I inquired about what course he plays. He responded with the name of a local hoity-toity country club. I'd say he's got that part of being a CEO down. I also asked him about his best score. He beamed as he told me 39. (For nine holes.) Um, I'll be looking for his name on the Tour in a few years.

I was impressed with how well-spoken, polite, and poised these kids were for their ages. I don't think I interviewed that well on one of my first interviews at 22. (I totally cried in my first interview y'all. They asked me what was my favorite movie and why and I got all teary when describing how Dead Poets Society touched me. Dork. Whatevs. They offered me the job despite my hyperactive tear ducts.) Not one fifth grader cried today. I'd say that if they get nothing else out of those lessons, the interview sessions will give them some skillz, yo.

After two hours of interviews I had to high tail it to get a flu shot. Then I chased around town looking for Styrofoam heart wreath forms and found NOTHING for my efforts. Then I picked up a few groceries and came home and unloaded them. Then I took a child to the thief of my retirement account orthodontist. Then I did laundry. Then I fixed supper. Then I wrote this. Then I killed you all with the boring minutiae of my life. The end.

Hey. You try and make errands glamorous. I challenge you. Also, I just don't have the mental wherewithal to come up with a better ending because Idol is coming on and I have children to get ready for bed. There. Now it's the end.

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