Unemployment confidential

The Sunday Boston Globe’s Money & Careers section featured an interesting four-story package about the plight of college-age job-seekers. One was the dispassionate “umbrella” article by a Globe correspondent, one was the Innovation Economy column focusing on entrepreneurial collegians, and the other two were first-person accounts from the job-hunting trenches. more goofus and gallant

I’m not going to bother linking to anything, as the Globe is mostly hidden behind a paywall, but if you can get your hands on a copy, it’s worth looking over.

One piece bore the simple headline “Hired!” while the one opposite from it was titled “Not yet …” Kind of like the old “Goofus and Gallant” set-up in Highlights magazine.

Both recent grads’ pieces were good reads but, as someone who has reviewed in the high-hundreds of resumes, then interviewed and hired quite a few people, I could sum up the stories quite a bit more quickly than the authors themselves did.

Babson College alumnus Matt Muller, a 22-year-old business major with a concentration in IT management and legal studies, netted what seems like a sweet gig in San Francisco.

How’d he pull it off? The No. 1 way most people get jobs: He knew someone at the company.

That’s not to besmirch his credentials, personality or drive. He seems like he’s been a high-achiever since his preteen years and has already started a Web-design business. But the chief reason he got in the door is a friend worked there and recommended him. Then he didn’t blow it in the interview. Kudos!

Not so fortunate, however, is Greg Dube, a 23-year-old chemical engineering grad from Northeastern University. He’s finding out the hard way how competitive a field that used to be a slam-dunk, big-pay-right-out-of-school career opportunity has become. That’s not his only problem, however.

“I’m on the Ultimate Frisbee team and No Limits dance crew, two pastimes that are on my resume as interests,” he writes.

Perhaps I should remind the reader that Mr. Dube is not applying for a job as an Ultimate Frisbee coach or a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance?” So why is that shit on his resume?

I suspect he believes the inclusion of such material makes him appear interesting. To the contrary, it makes him appear like a perpetually adolescent slacker committed mainly to a sport that can be played while smoking a joint.

Also, the pictures of the job-seekers are quite different. Mr. Muller is dressed in a suit and tie, while Mr. Dube is wearing a “Keep Calm and Chive On” T-Shirt and a shit-eating grin. I had to look up what “chive on” means and, despite this Wikipedia entry, I remain benighted.

One thing I’m certain of, though: I hope to fuck that’s not the outfit he showed up to his job interview in.

Best of luck to both these gentlemen. May their career pursuits be exciting, lucrative and, I suppose, filled with lots of opportunities to chive on.

The gift of grief

I’ve experienced several reversals of late. So have you, or you will. If nothing else, I’ve learned to embrace the grief that attends the trouble that visits us all.

Irrespective of its origin, grief focuses you in a way that success and failure cannot. Success brings joy and esteem, while Good Grieffailure, though often instructive, brings mainly ordinary disappointment and frustration. Grief, however, forces you to take stock of yourself. It prods you to re-examine the person you are and the person you want to be. It impels honest evaluation and, more often than not, spurs change.

Grief feels terrible, obviously, but it has magic power. Its presence is proof that you care about things, that you still, somehow, have love in your heart even if you’ve been too harried or distracted to notice.

Grief is nothing short of the spirit of God, or the internal bubbling of the collective unconscious or whatever you call the essence of what binds us and all the beasts of the earth to one another.

Grief is a gift.

I don’t wish upon you the inevitable heartache that conjures grief but, at the same time, I would never wish away the resultant grief, either. Grief is the signal that life is worth living, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

Goodnight, sweet prince

Buddy, Prince of West Methuen, had to be put down at 12:45 this afternoon. Long may this wonderful greyhound/shepherd mix run! Here’s hoping they have deer, rabbits and wild turkeys to chase in heaven.


“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”
– Mark Twain, letter to W. D. Howells, April 2, 1899

Go for it: What’s the worst that could happen?

As someone who has made quite a few life decisions based mainly on spite do it(with, I must concede, mixed results), I really dug this punchy piece by Deepak Chopra. (And not only because he correctly punctuated ’70s.)

The alternative medicine-and-spirituality guru can be a bit of a snake-oil salesman at times, but the cat’s got plenty of wisdom to offer, too.

Anyway, click through to the link in the lead, if you’re so inclined. It won’t take long to read and, if you’re between jobs or questioning whether you should be embarking on the perilous journey toward personal and professional bliss, you won’t be sorry.

The power of effective communication


Turns out not every long mass e-mail is a bore. delta_gamma

If nothing else, one has to applaud the author’s clarity of communication, her adroit delineation of her sorority chapter’s norms of behavior and the gusto with which she heads off any possibility of misinterpretation.

UPDATED: The website Funny or Die has this dramatic reading of the aforementioned e-mail. Like most things on that site, it’s kind of funny, though hardly side-splitting.

Humor, Ann Coulter and America

Heard any good jokes lately?

I have, and from an unlikely source: the shrill, conservative provocateuse Ann Coulter.

I’m not especially a fan of Ms. Coulter’s oeuvre, her public comments or herann coulter.demonic close-to-continual appearances on the Fox News Channel I watch with little frequency. But, like the proverbial blind squirrel, she occasionally stumbles across, if not comedy gold, at least comedy bronze.

And, predictably, as with her more execrable comments, she catches hell for it.

If you’re not aware of the latest kerfuffle, Coulter wrote in a recent column:

“Obama has been draping himself in families of the children murdered in Newtown.

“MSNBC’s Martin Bashir suggested that Republican senators need to have a member of their families killed for them to support the Democrats’ gun proposals. (Let’s start with Meghan McCain!)”

Coulter is tough to root for, as she’s exhibited plenty of callousness and all-around jackassery (some of it outlined in a friend’s excellent blog), but her joke is obvious and funny: Meghan McCain, the high-profile “child” of one of the country’s most high-profile Republicans, hasn’t been particularly helpful in advancing the conservative agenda, so of course right-wingers like Coulter would “target” her. (At least she didn’t call her fat, unlike fellow shrill, conservative provocateuse Laura Ingraham.)

The joke is certainly not nice, but it’s hardly calling for Ms. McCain’s murder, as many media outlets are reporting. True, there are plenty of dangerous numskulls out there with too-easy access to guns, but Coulter is no more marshaling them to action than Jodie Foster somehow urged John Hinckley Jr. to shoot President Reagan.

That said, Coulter did lose me when she expressed (or feigned) outrage over Bashir’s ealier comment about Republicans needing to lose a family member to gun violence. His point, while piquant, perfectly plays off the “road to Damascus” moments recently experienced by Republican lawmakers regarding same-sex marriage. That is, many finally see the merits of marriage equality only after their own sons and daughters come out as gay.

Coulter’s criticism of Bashir’s comment is every bit as disingenuous as the criticisms of her recent jest. (I’m not including the Twitter responses by Meghan McCain — the target of the joke, who certainly has every right to hit back — and Cindy McCain, who was just being a good mom.)

This whole hullabaloo hasn’t changed my opinion of Ann Coulter. It has, however, reinforced my opinion that Americans need to get a grip.

Rather than getting worked up over a joke (and the rare Coulter one that actually hits the target), we should focus on the larger problem of whether our government has even a modicum of concern over the desires and welfare of the citizens.