We Kant keep doing this

This blog post is a continuation from this previous post, and then this one after that. It would make sense to read them if you haven’t, but for the lazy here are the important points:

I consider a lie to be the intent to deceive someone. This is to contrast the opinion of some people (yes, more than one) I have known, who argue that a lie is merely not telling what conforms to reality. EG, if you want to cut work, it isn’t a lie if you tell them that you can’t make it because your aunt Sally died. This is still not a lie even if Aunt Sally kicked is 25 years ago and this has nothing to do with why you aren’t going to work. I feel bizarre even having to explain this.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative states that we should only do actions that we wish were done by everyone else in society. I think this is stupid, and outlined a few reasons why.

The intersection of these ideas seems to be at the job hunt. Everyone and their pet dog seems to be lying. Job hunters lie about their skills, work places lie about the duties and skills of the job being advertised.

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The philosophy is that one should ‘fake it till you make it’ in a new job, and I think that is what drives a lot of this forward. In other words, promise people the world when it comes to you as a potential employee, and then scamper to figure out how the fuck to do what it is you promised them. This is a shitty fucking idea, but from talking to people it seems to be the increasing norm of what goes on in the work force.

That, or I know a lot of shitty people.

Some time ago a friend suggested that I capitalize on some writing experiences that I had (I had written for a blog, for a period of about a year, and considered it more like a weird hobby than anything else), and he kind of helped me Dead Aunt Sally each line item till it seemed like an actual respectable job I once held, and not something I did while riding the bus to my other, real job. I have no way of knowing what effects having that on my resume actually has, but I keep some records and I don’t I get a lot of bites from resumes with that experience on them.

Well except for one.

A guy I followed on twitter posted that he was looking for writers / researchers for his podcast. It would have been something I would have loved to do even as a hobby. I wanted it bad enough, so as with all jobs I really want I made the mistake of running it by my friends first. The very same friend who helped me ‘finesse’ my blogging into writing experience (well, all the friends who have been helping me with this, really) has the bad habit of sometimes saying things with no evidence whatsoever, just going on information they are pulling out of the fucking æther, and he thus told me not to apply for this job because “that guy is going to get a million resumes.” He said this despite not knowing what podcast it was , how popular it was, or really anything about it at all.

So I ignored my friend and applied for the job, using the finessing that friend had suggested. It turns out the twitter guy didn’t get inundated with resumes, because not only did I get a reply, I got one very quickly. Pretty much a day later, I was working for the guy. He gave me one assignment and I gave it my all. I looked into the thing he suggested I look into and I came up empty handed. I got back to him with the bad news, and whatever relationship we had fizzled out.

I’m still kind of heartbroken over it.

I can lie on my “finesse” my resume all I want, but that doesn’t change the fact that I may just be fucking incompetent. I still listen to that podcast, and I dread the day that he actually does something with that lead I dropped. Thankfully for my self-esteem, it as of yet hasn’t happened.

All the finessing and help from people isn’t doing much, and it is why I have been seeking it less and less. I still get plenty of ‘apply for this job’ emails, and I apply to all of them. There is a particularly annoying life cycle to this that goes something like this.

  1. A friend sends me a job
  2. I say I am not qualified for it.
  3. They tell me not to worry about that, I can fake it till I make it.
  4. We rip items from the job announcement and put them on my CV.
  5. I write a full of shit cover letter for the job.
  6. I submit
  7. My friend gasses me up by insisting that I am a sure fit for the job, and that I will hear from them soon
  8. I never fucking hear from them

And there are all kinds of varieties of these cases, and some of them get comically bad. A friend had my reach out to me to apply for a job where a friend of hers worked, telling me that she would put a good word in with her friend, and her friend would put in a good word with HR. Here’s the rub: said friend was a person I had one awkward date with in China. I am not entirely convinced a good word was ever put in. But there have been plenty of friends, wives and husbands’ of friends, and friends’ of friends whom I am confident have put in good words, and still not a fucking thing came of it.

I am now at the point where I look at my resume (real and imagined) and I have no idea what it is that I can actually do except for maybe ESL. I think back to my education and I cant see how any of that would help anyone in a job market. I look at job posts and barely understand or feel qualified for the jobs that are listed there. But I also look at job posts for positions I have done (and done well) and feel unqualified for the those positions as well.

Is someone fucking with me?

Maybe. I have been trying to research job hunt strategies and I keep encountering a little bit of wisdom that terrifies me. It would seem that the consensus says that going to job postings abd applying is now considered a waste of time. Networking and socializing seem to be the way to go. I read this and realized that this process is even more terrifying: it’s like someone telling you about a sport that, from its description you think you would be terrible at, and then finding out that if you don’t play it successfully you’ll not have proper work again.

I am not mad at the people who have been trying to help me. I am actually very grateful to them for wanting to help them. One of these acquaintances moved down to Richmond right around the time that I did, and was introduced to me as some kind of HR expert who was great at helping people find work. After telling her I wanted to leave ESL she suggested I go teach in Korea. I followed every bit of advice she gave me for months, always suspecting it was lousy, but doing it anyway. Nothing ever came of all her leads. With her, as like with everyone else, I am still grateful for their advice. But I wish they would have taken a step back from being so cavalier with their advice. Retrospectively, none of them knew what the fuck they were talking about.

I guess this is just what happens when you promote the ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset too much.

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