Twice in the past week or so, I have backed out of Skype interviews with headhunters.
A big part of this is that I don’t do Skype. Unlike Judy Jetson, I do not have a pretty face mask that I can wear when someone tries to see me; I am still vain enough that I don’t want to worry about what the camera is capturing. If you’re speaking to me in person, I am still experienced enough and coquettish enough to tilt my head for best effect, to hold myself at just the right angle between confident and pleading (kind of like a dog who has been returned to the pound). I am in control, and I can make you think I am as cute as a button… and pretty damned capable, too.
But with Skype? Or Face Time? I am being captured by a pinhole of a camera that sees my three chins first; then my plump upper lip, my snotty nostrils, my big fat cheeks, desperate slivers of eyeball, the forehead of a microcephalic mutant, and a wild halo of spiky hair (like the mane on that idiot on TV who ascribes all of history to alien intervention).
In anticipation of such a call, I was about to head off into the bathroom early this morning to deck myself out like some corporate variant of Norma Desmond. Looking at my clock, and realizing there wasn’t much time, I yelled out, “Tell them I’m coming, Max!” and confused the hell out of my poor cat, who knows damn well his name is Othello.
Meanwhile, the mirror showed me a braless old lady in a bright orange t-shirt, who adjusts her glasses with grocery bag ties.
I decided not to take the call.
It’s bad enough that I have to turn myself into a marketable product whenever I am called to meet with a legitimate potential employer; I don’t want to be transforming myself as well for some poor, struggling middleman on a laptop. I’ve been a head hunter. I know how hard they work, trying to find a position…any position… that’s right for the person behind the resume they’re trying to pitch. Not only do those poor bastards have to convince the potential employer to hire the person they represent; they have to convince them to hire this person at a premium. Then, they have to convince the candidate to take the job, even though it pays less, has a longer commute, is less interesting and more demanding… need I go on?
I want to look for my own job, and I don’t want anyone else’s livelihood impacted by my decision to take it or not. I don’t want to be pimped out. I want the freedom to sell myself.
I also don’t want to end up fattening another unnecessary data base. In his last email, the young man with whom I was supposed to speak this morning had asked me to send the latest copy of my resume (which he’d already seen online), and to fill out a very long form, asking for contact information for my last four bosses, at least four prior coworkers, any clients who could vouch for me, and a priest who could bless my soul if I died before I was hired.
He also wanted a paragraph, written in the third person, extolling my skills and virtues.
I thought this was overkill.
I never give more than two bosses and one client… and at this point in the game, I’m sure they’re getting pretty tired of selling me. I’m more work now than before they let me go! And as for former co-workers, I know that game, cookie! If the employer doesn’t take me, maybe you can pitch one of them, right?
What I wouldn’t give for the freedom to say “I am no longer a commodity!”