It shouldn’t be this hard to get people to pay me money so I can buy stuff

When my daughter finally returned to preschool last week, her teacher asked her to tell the class about her family. She said, “My dada works at a knife company and my mom likes to shop.” Thank you, Pandemic Year, for blessing me with the opportunity to show my impressionable young daughter all that a woman is capable of being.

I do, in fact, buy a lot of stuff. It’s mostly food and medicine, with some frequency. I don’t collect records. I don’t care for expensive electronics. Coffee is good, bought in bulk when on sale. If I get a fungus on one of my more prominent toes, I will splurge on some generic ointment from CVS. And that’s about it except for my Goodwill habit, which sees me buying used clothes and storybooks every other week for my daughter. But I didn’t set foot in a Goodwill until I was vaccinated. Then I went nuts, spending $5 on one visit, $3 on another, always rounding up to help “fund job training” even though we all have our suspicions. Our house contains a lot of old plastic toys with the price stickers still on them, which will save Goodwill employees time when I disappear the toys back to the donation center while my daughter is at preschool.

Right now I’m shopping for a job. I’ve had a few interviews and they all go the same way. 1) I put on lipstick. 2) I babble into my computer for 30 minutes with the expectation that the hiring manager or VP or whoever will find me so charming and human and real that they’ll hire me on the spot. 3) I don’t get hired. 4) I remember that I am now 40, devoid of youthful charm, and I didn’t go to personal branding college, and being a human is not actually a qualification. It’s like, the lowest bar. Lower than a machine. Lower than a fungus. But you also risk “underselling” yourself if you begin an interview confessing that you are lower than a fungus.

And yet you only have to get hired one time, by one company, and then you’re suddenly Employable and Professional again and people like your 4-year-old daughter can respect you. I imagine it’s a transformative experience. Probably really good for one’s self-esteem.

Interview Tips

  1. Don’t say the first thing that pops into your head. You are not blogging.
  2. Don’t lead with your greatest weakness, like that you have a Goodwill shopping addiction, or that you’re a loser.
  3. You can try to be funny for precisely 28 seconds, then you need to talk about your marketing experience.
  4. Stop taking nervous sips of iced coffee from your Yeti thermos because they’ll assume there’s vodka in it and come to think of it you’re acting drunk.
  5. Don’t cling to your daughter when you pick her up from school as if your entire identity depends on her.
  6. Don’t lose career momentum during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

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