Every now and then, I like to share some solid, sensible advice with young people who are thinking about getting a summer job. This is important because----and I'm sure we all agree---today's young people are tomorrow's old people and our nation's greatest natural resource. Well, along with that cool striped ketchup.
Having had a few summer jobs in my own teenhood, allow me to explain, my young friends, how to dress for a summer job interview.
For starters, you will want to avoid wearing any T-shirt that appears to be stained, torn, faded, or reads Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder.
While this is admittedly hilarious, it is doubtful that your prospective employer will get the joke. Most prospective employers pride themselves on being serious types, who will remind you that they are not paying you to be funny.
Young people, aside from dressing sensibly, you should also take great pains to check your vocabulary, avoiding the popular job applicant pitfall of lapsing into teenage slang. This slang will only confuse/scare your potential employer. Here is an example:
CORRECT: "I want to become a valued member of the Widgetville team!"
INCORRECT: "That weird machinery sound coming from over there is harshing my mellow, playa."
Now seems a good time to mention that you should always remember that, no matter what summer job you end up with, the customer is always right. No, really, I'm serious. The customer can basically treat you any way he or she wants and you must remain courteous and helpful. As in: "May I please show you the way to the exit door, you rotting corn pad of a human being?"
Once you are secure in your new job, my young friends, you must avoid the temptation to engage in what is commonly known as "white collar crime." This dastardly practice occurs when workers take home office supplies, etc, rationalizing that no one will miss packs of pens or notepads or the random laptop or three that can be sold on eBay.
I understand the tempation. Let's just say that during a brief period in the early 1970s, customers at a certain seafood restaurant never really got the forty-shrimp "barge" as ordered because five to ten of those suckers would mysteriously topple off the barge and into my mouth. Then again, what kind of a lard-ass orders anything called a barge? Talk about a cry for help.
Finally, don't ever talk back to your boss if you expect to keep your summer job.
CORRECT: "I'm sorry I was late, sir. In the future, I will check the schedule for possible last-minute changes!"
INCORRECT: "Yeah, right. Next time, I'll be sure to look in the sky for the frikkin' bat signal to tell me you buttholes have changed my shift again."
I don't want to limit my helpful advice to teenagers, of course. Let's see what we can do to help those unemployed dot-com'ers out there circling the want ads at their mommy's kitchen table and wonderin why they ever bought that silly Mercedes Benz SUV (Billy Bob meets the snooty Grey Poupon dude, what is that?)
I don't wish unemployment on anyone, except perhaps Chimp Boy and Congress, so now seems a good time for some resume-polishing advice.
A lot of downsized techno types like to post their resumes on the Internet where they can be assured that it will not be ignored by dozens of human resources managers but rather will be ignored by many thousands of human resources managers across this great land of ours.
The truth is, nobody gets a Real Job unless they know somebody. It has never happend in the history of jobgettingdom. Just ask Melissa Rivers. It's just like the experts say, location, location, location. No, wrong, experts. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Like if you know someone who has photos of the boss doing the nasty with the chick who changes the toner in the copying machine once a month, your job future is rosy indeed.
If blackmail is repulsive to you, take the high road and get a job the old-fashioned way: Stalking. Try to make friends with somebody who works high up in the company where you're looking. Hang out at the gym where they work out, manage to dine one table over at their favorite restaurant, shop in the same stores.
After a few weeks of this, you will either (1) have made small talk and a new friend who is dazzled by your knowledge and experience or (2) have Mr. Restraining Order filed against you.
One final note of caution: On the off chance that somebody acturally does slip up and call you to come in for an interview, your telephone answering machine message should always be crisp and professional.
WRONG: "I'm just a love machine, ooooh baby, I'm just a love machine, and I won't work for nobody but you, oooh, baby....."
ALSO WRONG: "Hi, you've reached Mike and Mary's answering machine. We are currently screening our calls because you people make us sick!"
WRONGEST OF ALL: "(Sound of heavily congested toddler mouthbreathing into the phone for several seconds, then) "Mommy and Daddy not home. Please moofully moofala." (sound of phone crashing to floor and loud wailing) Beeeep.