Saturday, July 12, 2008

I don't buy it.

Is it just me, or are television commercials getting stupider? Either the people who make the commercials are morons, or they assume that the rest of us are.

The ones that have been driving me crazy for at least the past few months are for a popular pain reliever (I won't mention its name in case they have spies). They talk about how people use different pain relievers for different pains (back pain, knee pain, head pain, etc), but now they're "All (particular brand of pain reliever)." Um, really? There are people out there who have a different pain reliever for hand pain than the one they use for elbow pain? Are these people idiots? Where did they even manage to FIND different pain relievers for the various parts of their bodies? Personally, I've always just used one pain reliever (generic) for all types of pain. I've never been in a situation where I thought, "Oh no! My foot hurts, and the only things I have in my cupboard are ankle pain reliever, shoulder pain reliever, and thumb pain reliever! If only there were something that could help with general pain!"

The other commercial that I've grown to hate after only having seen it twice is one for a fiber supplement where a woman talks about how she doesn't have room in her schedule to make time for eating fiber. How does she have time to eat other things, yet somehow her schedule is too jam-packed for fiber? Does it take her longer to chew foods with fiber than it does to chew those without? I can just picture her, staring anxiously at her calendar, thinking "I can't eat fiber at 2:00 because I have a meeting, and I can't eat fiber at 6:00 because that's dinner time. When can I possibly eat fiber??" In my opinion, if you're too busy to eat foods from one particular food group and not any others, you're probably really bad at time management.

I've decided that from now on, I'm not purchasing any products with stupid commercials. Who's with me?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Money money money money.. MONEY!

I had a job interview the other day (I already have a job, but this new job sounded interesting in that it paid more), and during the interview, I was asked a question that I consider to be one of the stupidest interview questions of all time: "Why do you want to leave your current job?"
Here's why it's a bad question - 9 times out of 10, the answer is "because I want more money." But you can't just SAY you want more money, because that makes you sound money-hungry and disloyal. The 10% of the time that the answer isn't "I want more money," it usually falls into one of these categories:
1. Self-explanatory - If you work as a burger-flipper at a fast food joint, and you're interviewing ANYWHERE else, the answer to the question is always going to be "Because I flip burgers for a living, and anything else would be better."
2. Inappropriate to share during an interview - If you're leaving because you dated your boss and then he cheated on you with your secretary, you probably don't want to share that. If you're leaving because you have a feeling you're going to get fired soon anyway, it's probably not in your best interest to tell the interviewer.
3. Makes you sound like a bad employee - You can't tell an interviewer that you want to leave because your boss makes you work too hard, or because the company has limited the amount of time that you can spend playing tetris, or because all of your coworkers hate your guts.

So, 97% of people lie about why they want to leave their current job, which makes the question completely pointless. My answer to the question was something along the lines of "because I'm looking for an opportunity for professional growth," and then the woman asked me specifically HOW I saw this new position as representing growth for me, and in my head, I was screaming "more money, more money, more money!" but I couldn't SAY that, so I rambled on incoherently, and long story short, I don't think I got the job.

Perhaps the absolute worst interview question (which thankfully I wasn't asked in this interview but have been asked in every other interview I've ever had) is, "What do you see as your biggest weakness?" I think the real point of that questions is to weed out people who are complete morons, because only a moron would answer that question honestly. You can't say "I procrastinate and put important projects off until the last minute and then haphazardly throw together shoddy work just so I have something to turn in," or "I am perpetually at least 20 minutes late to work," "I tend to take naps at my desk when I think no one's looking," or "I don't work well with others," so again, you have to make something up. Usually, the made-up answers fall into one of two categories:
1. Strengths masquerading as weaknesses - ie, "I'm a workaholic," "I'm a bit too dedicated to my job," "I'm a perfectionist," etc.
2. Weaknesses that are too trivial to really matter and have easy solutions - My standard answer to this question is something along the lines of "My system of organizing my work often results in my desk looking a bit cluttered by the end of the day, which I resolve by taking an extra five minutes at the end of each day to tidy up my work area." Totally lame and only half true (True: My desk looks cluttered. False: I tidy up my work area.)

However, stupid as these questions may seem, in order to actually get hired for a job where you're important enough to be in charge of hiring people, you have to know the answers to these questions so you can answer them when you're being interviewed for your important job. I feel like maybe these are secret-password-type questions that only people in some sort of management club know the answers to. So, if anyone who happens to read this knows the secret answers to the questions, could you let me in on them? I want more money... I mean professional growth.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

All rested up

So, starting a new blog the day before I left for vacation was kind of odd, but that's exactly why I did. Which is why my brand-new blog started with one post and then a week of silence. Good job, me!

I flew back into town yesterday morning, and I had occasion to thank my lucky stars that I don't look even vaguely like a terrorist. I'm not exactly what you would call a "smooth talker," and I often say things that sound light-hearted and winning when they're in my head, and then they come out making me sound crazy. Yesterday, as I was going through security at the airport (threat level orange, which means that any suspicious behavior will probably result in a strip-search), clutching my one-quart bag full of bottles of 3 ounces of liquid or less, I cheerfully said good morning to each of the threatening-looking TSA employees - you know, just to reinforce the fact that I wasn't planning to blow up any planes - and one of them said, "You're a little bit too cheerful for 5:30 in the morning," to which I brightly replied, "Oh, don't worry, I'll crash soon." I immediately panicked, picturing a SWAT team swarming on me with handcuffs because I'd said "crash" in an airport, so I started babbling things like, "you know, unless I have coffee... I mean, cause I'm tired... because I didn't get much sleep... and it's so early" Luckily, a scrawny little white girl doesn't really fit any kind of terrorist profile that I'm aware of, so they let me through, but I swear TSA employees were staring at me as I waited for my flight.

Well, I intend to actually start posting regularly, so maybe in a few years, I'll have a reader!
In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes