Continued from the previous chapter, here.
After Asa’s father left the house, Asa looked back over the list of job applications he had put in recently. The ones in Pronghorn are a bit too new to worry about yet, and the Tuesday Storm’s thrown everything off, anyway, he thought. Still, there’re a few I probably ought to check on. So he began pulling up websites, fingers flying over the keyboard, entering his username and password on each–always “AsaPemewan” and a variation of “8Chars!,” respectively, with the character after the exclamation point cycling from one through nine to zero and back again.
The results were disappointing. An inventory position that would have had him driving around to small towns and highway gas stations, counting candy bars and quarts of 10W-30 motor oil showed “Does not meet minimum hiring requirements.” It had advertised only needing a high school diploma or GED, no experience required. And with a doctorate, I don’t meet minimum requirements. Great.
A marketing position, the kind that has people standing in big-box stores and hocking cell phone plans or satellite television service, had asked for much the same: high school diploma and a willingness to learn. “Position filled,” it read, and Asa knew he had not been made the offer.
A test-development position, one that had asked applicants to have terminal degrees in “English, history, philosophy, mathematics, political science, and other fields,” as well as teaching experience–And I’ve only worked in the classroom for years, Asa thought–showed an in-browser message. “Thank you for applying. After careful consideration, we have determined that you do not meet our needs at this time. Please keep looking at our job postings for positions that might be a better fit for you. Good luck in your continued search.”
An administrative assistant job in Kerr County was also on the list. It had asked for someone who could type 25 words per minute, run standard office equipment, handle word processing and spreadsheets, and offer a pleasant demeanor in customer service.. It also showed “Position cancelled” on the company website. At least they didn’t hire somebody else, thought Asa as he navigated to the next hiring site.
Another administrative assistantship that Asa had applied for, one looking for someone with the same general qualifications–with the addition of “go-getter” the only difference–showed “Application under review” and a last update of a month gone. Asa checked the location and the time, noting that it was in business hours. The call went to voice mail, and Asa left his name and number. He also said “I’m calling to follow up on an application for an administrative assistant position I put in a while back. The website still lists it as under review, but any update would be welcome.”
The next position on his list was one that had taken a resume through email. It was for another administrative assistant position, and Asa dialed the number. A human voice greeted him, and Asa said “Yes, hi, this is Asa Pemewan. I applied for an administrative assistant job with you a couple of weeks ago, and I was calling to follow up.”
“Oh, yeah, we hired somebody else.”
“I see. Is there something I should have done differently when I put in for the job?”
“Nah. We had a lot of really good candidates. You just didn’t read as being a good fit.”
“I see. Well, thanks for your time.”
“No problem.” The line went dead, and Asa shook his head. He also dialed the next number on his list. It was for a position as a library clerk, and when the call was answered, Asa gave his introduction again: “Hi, I’m Asa Pemewan. I applied for a library clerk position with you a couple of weeks back, and I was calling to follow up on it.”
“Well, sir, the person who handles hiring is out today. But if you’ll give me your number, I’ll leave a message for her, and I’m sure she’ll call you back tomorrow or the next day.”
“Thank you, ma’am; that’d be fine,” said Asa, and he gave her the number. The voice on the other end of the line confirmed it, and after a brief politeness, the line went dead again.
As Asa went along, he continued to make notes on his list. I don’t know why I keep doing this, he thought. I suppose it’s so I remember what I said to whom and when, but looking back over dozens of failed attempts is less a record of progress and more a litany of failures. And I don’t need to have another one of those; I’ve enough for a catechism and a half already.
Asa sighed heavily and muttered to himself “Why do I have to keep doing this? It’s not doing any good, so far as I can see.” But he bent back to the work, checking up on applications he had filled out and sent off in the hopes of finding some job, any job, that would offer him full-time work.
One phone number had been disconnected.
Another was answered brusquely. “We hired somebody else. You’ve got how many degrees? We need an entry-level worker.”
Yet another was more polite. “You’re entirely too qualified for the job. We’d never be able to offer you what you’re worth.” Asa replied to it “I’m happy to work my way up from an entry-level spot and learn how the company works.” “But we’ve already filled the position, sir, so there’s nothing we can do.”
Still another was somewhat incredulous. “I can’t imagine why someone with your credentials would want to work here instead of teaching.” “As to that, I’d been thinking that a switch might be good” replied Asa. “Okay, but then how long would it be before you decided another switch would be good?” “That’d depend on how I was treated, of course.” Wouldn’t it be for anyone? “Well, we were looking for someone who was looking for a long-term position, and we found one.” “Ah. Thanks, then.”
Another position was struck from the list of those still outstanding. And there aren’t as many of those as I’d like, anymore.
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