A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

14 September 2004

Resolution: Be careful whom I hire to handle HR

Today I went for a walk on the track up at the local high school. It's something I'm trying to do regularly--at least two miles every second day or so. I walk or walk-and-run endless loops of a 400-metre track until about the time I lose count. I am greatly aided in this by the Samsung Yepp the SO gave me as a gift.

In fact, the SO's intention in giving me this device was to enable me to record my non-sequitur thoughts. Stuff along the lines of "Why do we speak of a pair of panties, but of a bra?"; also stuff more intelligent than that example, but that's the one I had handy. The SO got tired of me posing odd questions in the car, and more to the point asking her later: "What was that thing we were talking about in the car . . .?"

So my Yepp (which I notice doesn't appear on the site anymore) has a little microphone which I last used to record myself playing guitar rather badly and singing "If I had $1000000" for the SO. {You MUST go look at that site--it's truly one of the greats in the music industry, and a testament to the power of blogging}

The reason I don't use it for the purpose for which it was acquired is that I now have a blog.

So with that in mind . . .

I arrived at the track to find it more-or-less swarming with Asians (A fairer term and more accurate, I think, than "East Indians"--it's a term I learnt in Britain). Perhaps this is part of the Sikh or Hindu religion? I looked for the "Five K's" (turban, sash, bracelet, khirpan, comb, I think--ah.) but couldn't establish a pattern. Perhaps it's a matter of geographic culture, rather than religion. Still, it has appeal: Walking while thinking about the nature of God.

Speaking of which--watched "Life of Brian" again last night. Favourite quote of this viewing was "I'm a Red Sea pedestrian and proud of it!"

As I walked the track today, a gaggle of high-schoolers, estimated ages anywhere from twelve to fourteen emerged from the school and began the usual two circuits. Most of them looked like kids usually look, the boys sharp-nosed and bony, the girls still soft-faced and rounded with baby fat. Funny how as we age we drift physically toward the other sex--I mean consider hair. Or rather don't.

I saw them all, the fashion plates (who having been instructed by the local paper last week that the Britney Spears look is out are now covering their navels), the jocks in sports-branded clothing leaping along like gazelles on PCP, the geeks wobbling and giggling along. The lazy ones who ran like blazes halfway round, then slowed to a walk until they came within viewing distance of the games master.

And she was there, as I knew she would be. She was walking slowly, lapped by her peers. Bigger than the rest of her class, with the slow, odd grace that comes of a lifetime's experience of being fat.

I felt something like shame and pity wash over me. I'm thirty-mumble. I knew twenty years ago that I was inclined to gain weight and it's taken me until now to even consider the whole business seriously. But I also know a few more things about being fat--a lifetime's experience from her perspective.

For example, I know that she'll earn less than her skinny co-workers who are equally educated. For men the disparity may be greater. She'll get passed over for promotions and have a harder time finding work in the first place. If she remains heavy all her life she'll have to deal with all the health crap that I won't bother repeating here since it's shrilled out at us on nearly every page of the internet except this one.

And since obesity tends to run in families, her kids may have to deal with the same economic disadvantages, the same slights, the lifetime of subtle insults that are really well-meant.

On the other hand, if she wins a Nobel prize it will make no difference.

I hope this doesn't sound smug or deprecating. I'd like to believe I'm a little bit better than that. My silhouette isn't carrot-shaped, and the SO isn't Twiggy, either.

But it ties into work, and how miserable it feels to stuff oneself into one's uncomfortable interview-wear (that fit LAST time we went looking for a job) and to see the odd look in the interviewer's eyes. To observe that he or she is so disappointed that you don't look like you sounded on the phone, and has marked you down before you've even shaken hands. To know that no matter what your qualifications are you're dammned unless you're twice as convincing--unless in short you can find the reason they have to hire you instead of someone with similar qualifications, less experience, but a better hip-to-stomach ratio.

When I am grown to man's estate I shall hire none but blind HR people, partly because I'd rather work with Roseanne Barr than with someone wearing "oceans of lotion" (a quote from the wonderful Jules Feiffer).

But I will also have them have a staff of a few interns who can reply to ₤µ€λing résumés! I've been throwing in anywhere from three to a dozen per week since I came home and haven't had a ₤µ€λing nibble! The sheer impolitesse of this appals me (Yes--"appals" as in disgusts, vice "appalls" as in dismays).

I find myself angry and offended over this. Are my qualifications insufficient?--Can't be; I've spent two damn years ensuring that I can write competently to a variety of audiences. Is my résumé not interesting enough? Do they hit my website and think I'm too fat? Are they intimidated by the fact that I can correctly use the words "juxtapositioned" "larcenous", and "indemnify" in the same sentence?

I'm just pissed off with the whole job-seeking process. I have a right to work and I damn well want to exercise it!

But where?

  • An interesting and useful resource


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