Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reality bitch-smack: a coda

Today I was just sitting there at work, you know, working, when the aforementioned Talent Acquisition dude came up and asked if I would e-mail him the most up-to-date version of my résumé. Said he wanted to set up "some interviews" for Thursday, regarding the Communications Specialist job opening they have. I said OK, promised to send him my résumé tonight (I don't exactly have it sitting around on my work computer, and we're not allowed to log into Gmail from there). An hour or so later I got an e-mail from him confirming my official interview. For a job. At my job. For a job that's not my job. 

What's weird is that I'll probably have to leave the two-hours-and-fifteen-minutes-long interview a few minutes early -- because I'm conducting an hour-long training session that very day. At my job. That's not really my job, but rather my "job." For now. (I'm training people in various departments to post and manage content on their sections of the corporate Intranet.) So yeah, at some point I'll have to say, "Peace out -- I gotta go down the hall and teach your employees how to do stuff. Using a 25-page training guide that I wrote pretty much from scratch. I'll be conducting two more days of training, too -- here, at my job where the job I'm interviewing for is. Uh, not to sway your vote or anything." 

It's an interesting (and flattering) development, coming on the heels of my posting that creepy anonymous picture from the employee directory that, you know, I probably should not have put on a publicly viewable blog. In fact, after I got the e-mail with its various pre-job-interview attachments -- a formal application, but also some spooky forms authorizing the organization to thoroughly check your background and ask friends and neighbors about your "character" -- I considered taking that post down. Not deleting it, just doing the thing where you "revert" it to a "draft" for a while. And doing the same for any other posts in which I've griped or exulted regarding the current gig. Just to be safe. I mean, I've made sure to never name the organization on here... but could some crafty psycho piece it together and figure it out? (And also, hi to any folks from the current gig who might be reading this, and congratulations, because if you're reading this, it was damn clever of you to find me here.) 

All Metro ride home I mulled it over, went back and forth over whether to do this, whether to stuff posts under the virtual bed like some shameful porno mag, nigh-nauseated with worry. But in the end, the thought of taking those posts down just made me feel like some kind of coward. I don't want to live in a world in which people have to worry about harmlessly venting about their jobs on a personal blog that, let's face it, is probably only read on a semi-regular basis by maybe three of my close friends. Three friends to whom I could just as well have been venting at a happy hour or something and that would be totally allowed. I'm not giving you some kind of Martha Stewart insider info that would make you run out and buy or sell stock in something, or some security code to the building. I should be allowed to say stuff. "Be the change you want to see in the world" and all that bumper-sticker stuff. 

I have friends who would disagree, who caution people to be careful when it comes to what they share. I probably already said most of what I have to say about that in my blog post about posing nude (hi again, current gig, if you're still reading this, presumably out of nothing more than sheer morbid curiosity at this point). I'll repeat the salient part of that post here, in which I'm responding to an imagined, potential objection a person might have to my allowing there to be nekkid (non-porn!) photos of me on the Internet: 

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-A potential boss will see the pictures of me and not hire me, or fire me if he or she has already given me a job.

Yeah, it could happen. But for one thing, all of my truly private things -- nude photos, fiction and non-fiction prose -- are posted pseudonymously. Neither site is all that famous or popular -- the odds of some hirer in the DC-metro area "just so happening" to stumble across either site is incredibly low, unless they somehow figure out the pseudonym I use for everything. Which is a possibility, but so remote that I just don't care. I mean, I'm a writer -- a certain degree of creative zaniness and idiosyncrasy is allowed. I am never going to run for president. Besides, I dislike the notion of shaping my entire life in such a way that I never have to worry if a boss is looking over my shoulder. I don't want to be lying on my deathbed someday saying, "I sure did live a life that was OPSEC-compliant!" 
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And maybe more important, because I'm having a rare selfless moment here -- I don't want other people to have to do that either. If we all cow to what these places want us to do, it makes it harder for anyone to ever say, "Eff that noise. So I live a colorful life -- so what? I rock at my job, and that is all you should care about." 

OK, I would surely be more discreet if I had a family depending on me, or were in financial dire straits. But I don't, and I'm not. So I can afford the luxury of my principles and idealism. 

...And now to abruptly switch gears here, and break from my usual "one-post = one-topic" dictum: I also just found out from the volunteer coordinator for the Fairfax County Office for Women/Domestic & Sexual Violence Services that I'm now officially an ADAPT Program volunteer, which means that I'll be helping out with group-therapy counseling sessions for offenders of domestic and sexual violence. There's a little more training, then I'll be trucking out to Reston every Tuesday evening to observe and then help facilitate the sessions. Of course it feels strange to be in any way "happy" or "excited" about this, so those words don't apply -- I don't want for this endeavor to even have to exist. 

But attending the three "Tier 1," 9-to-5 Saturday training sessions during the past month -- being so thoroughly absorbed in it, in the discussions and videos and lectures, jotting down notes like crazy when there wasn't even going to be any sort of test (other than in real-life volunteer experience) -- filled up some sort of need in me to do something outside of myself, something that has almost nothing to do with myself. And for that, I guess I feel a sense of nascent fulfillment. Maybe that's my idealism again -- I want to believe that deep down everyone is good, that bad people can be fixed.

I just hope I'm in it for the right reasons -- to help, and not to be a voyeur. Not to be some perverse and boring writer, rubbing my hands together and licking my chops at the thought of such compelling material, such authentic characteristics with which to imbue semi-fictional characters, all the while wearing the "volunteer" halo and believing its glow somehow makes me a good person just because I'm putting in time and not getting paid. I hope I'm not the real monster. I don't think I am. 

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