Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"I'm unavailable right now..."

Today I'm going to spout off about something I'm seeing happen more and more frequently.

And that is...
the fact that people are putting their work email addresses on their resumes.

Ummmmm, duh.
This is just really not a good idea.
I mean really.

Although I'm usually pretty alert and can "pay attention to details" like the best of 'em, I've only been noticing this trend lately because people have been setting up their OOO (Out of Office) email alerts and they've been bouncing back at me. For example, yesterday I got one pinged back to me from "Joe".

Joe put himself on Monster.com and I called and then emailed him. His voice mail didn't say anything out of the ordinary like he'd be on vacation for a week etc, but 3 seconds after I hit send on the email I had composed to him, I got back this diddy:

"Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from January 23rd to February 6th and will have limited access to email. Please contact my co-worker Philippe ______________- at 818-555-1212 if you need assistance. I will contact you as soon as I can or upon my return to the office."

So do you see what happened here?
Joe the Schmuck-Wad put his work email address on his resume.
And then I got the OOO auto reply treatment.
What a freaking moron.
Why would anybody do this?

It makes me want to call Philippe up and say "Uh yeah, hi Philippe- I know you're overwhelmed and all, what with having to do Joe the Schmuck-Wad's work on top of your normal work load, but I just wanted you to be aware that he's busy looking for a job as his resume is currently up on Monster. I was thinking about calling him in for an interview, but after I saw that he listed his work email address and got his out of office reply which directed me straight to you, I'm thinking that he must be pretty stupid, so I think I'll pass on speaking with him. If you could just pass that message along, that would be great. Thanks so much!!"

And I think I'd say the whole thing like this dude from one of the single greatest movies ever:

How's that for an idea??

Peace out my peeps.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"I love managing children..." It's Meanie Monday peeps!

Ah, today's Meanie Monday installation is a great one.
I've actually seen this exact scenario play out about 4 separate times over the course of the past year. The 4th instance happened last week, so I'm choosing to write about it today.

Back story:
People that currently work with small children, who used to work in insurance. Was that clear enough? USED TO work in insurance. It was on their resume. I didn't make that up. (It's important, that's why I'm emphasizing it... just stick with me here.)
They have themselves posted on a job board, I approach them about various possible job positions they might be a good fit for, and then they lash out at me.
In that exact order.

So that's what happened with "Elizabeth" last Thursday... when I was (just for the record) having a tough week already myself and more than likely looking kind of like this:

Here's what Elizabeth emailed back to me after I called and left her a voice mail and then emailed her requesting a conversation and a possible interview:

"WHY in the WORLD would you think I would be interested in working in insurance again? What gave you that impression? I work with children now, I have no interest in working in the useless insurance world. How DARE you email me and take up my precious time with your useless position in your useless company. Take me off your fucking contact list and don't you EVER contact me again bitch!"

So here I go again...
Ummm, really?

You work with children?
Let me just pull your resume copy again as I'd like to see exactly what you wrote about your personality and mad child care skills- I'm sure it was something stellar.... oh lookie! I was correct!
This is how Elizabeth described herself on her resume:

"I perform a variety of teacher duties with small children, including but not limited to assisting them and general supervision. I love managing children, I am sensitive to their feelings and I have a warm and very friendly personality... I am sensitive to the feelings and needs of others, am able to relate well to children and fellow adult employees, am willing to fulfill responsibilities in accordance with the school's educational philosophy. I feel I represent the school well wherever I go, not just around the children."

"I feel I represent the school well wherever I go, not just around the children."
That sounds like a double dog dare to me, what about you?
Should I contact the school she currently works for and forward her interaction with me? 
I chewed on that concept for awhile but decided that keeping my job was more important than ratting the sensitive to feelings, warm and friendly personality bitch out. 

So this is what I have to say to you, darling child manager:

Oh, and also...

Friday, January 27, 2012

What a week

So...it's Friday.
Are you as happy to see Friday as I am?
Or as I normally say, DUDE.

This week was a doozy.
A doo-ZAY.

Some highlights included:
A family decision to put a property on the market that we've had a tenant in for years.
That triggered another family decision to buy a different home closer to work shortly (hopefully) after the first property sells.

Along with contracts and small clean up tasks involved with putting a home on the market, I also got the pleasure of dealing with a moderately confusing and ridiculously time consuming attempt at transferring our daughter's records between school districts. This wouldn't be so bad except we are having to transfer her out of a school district she was never formally (nor physically) a part of. This makes no fucking sense to me (but dealing with school districts hardly ever does)--- can you say red tape? 

There have also been a rash of burglaries in our neighborhood as of late- actually going on since October but they are only talking about it and putting it on the news this week. Although we live in a nice neighborhood, it's getting rather serious as the criminals are breaking into homes in the middle of the day and tying up the occupants inside while they ransack the homes. Can you say time to move?

My work load has been a bit unruly- only because we've upped the anty with how many positions we are currently hiring for. And there is still only one Stephanie. So basically my desk this past week has looked like this woman's:

And last but not least, my truck broke down. Not a major break down situation, just a little *we need to run to the auto parts store and buy a new battery and then keep an eye on the alternator* type situation. The truck break down (fortunately) happened on the driveway of our property in Van Nuys. So while my smart and oh so mechanical hubby was fixing the truck, I was sitting on the back of the tailgate, in the partial dark (with the exception of the porch light) combing through a pile of resumes I had the foresight to bring with me.

As I was sitting there, swinging my legs like a 5 year old and scribbling notes about each job candidate, I came across one in particular that really made me mad. 

At first I had to take a step back and ask myself--- am I "overly" angry at this person because of my crappy circumstances and I'm just taking it out on him? Uhhhh, no.

Here's what happened:
I got a simple email from a fairly well qualified job candidate. He was answering one of my postings where I am looking for a licensed individual in our area, to work under an existing agent in their office. In the job posting I was very specific (of course as I'm anal that way) that they need to submit their resume along with their State of California Dept of Insurance license number. This guy thought it would be okay to simply shoot me an email from his phone and tell me this:
"I'm interested in the position I saw but I don't deem it necessary to send you a copy of my resume as you can just pull me up on the state DOI and that will be enough."

Oh no he di'int!

Oh yes, he did. 

I felt my anger at this job candidate was, oh how shall we say?... justified. 
I cannot believe that people have the NERVE, especially in this economy, to tell an HR/Recruiter type to stop what they are doing and go do all the work themselves. Plus expect us to call them and still consider hiring them after that?

Can you say lazy?

Am I wrong here?

What say you, my blog reading peeps?

And so yeah, getting back to my original point- I'm glad it's Friday. 

I could really use a big fat icing laden cupcake 

or 6.

And a vat of wine right about now.

Because after all

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What were YOU doing in 1976??

Ahhhh 1976.
A fine year eh?

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak launched Apple Computer Company.

Captain and Tennille celebrated their Album of the Year Win with “Love Will Keep Us Together”

Gerald Ford was President  


Charlies Angels and the Bionic Woman were the most popular TV shows hands down.

And possibly most importantly… VHS was launched!

Yep, it was a fine time to be a 4 year old.

(Yes, this is actually me at age 4 with my sweet puppy Panda- we called her that because she had a big brown spot on her cute little rump- not seen in pic. Why we were hanging out in a wood pile I don't really know, but I'm sure if I asked my parents there would be a very memorable story behind it. Perhaps involving snakes and the resolution to never do a photo shoot on top of a wood pile again.)

1976 was also kind of a big deal for our country because we celebrated the Bicentennial (which was the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence for you Generation Y'ers that have no idea what the HELL I'm talking about). I distinctly remember getting some lame penny holding thing from our neighborhood bank that I held onto for much longer than I care to admit. 

So between obsessing over my fancy penny collection and ripping up and down the sidewalk on my Big Wheel, life was good.

Possibly not as good as the job candidate I got yesterday though, who made THIS the highlight of her resume:

Graduated __________ High School 1976
Got “Best Dressed”

This sent me into a shit fit of giggles...I've never seen this before and hope to never see it again.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh man (or is it woman?)

Oh man, I can't believe I have to even talk about this today.

Sometimes people put a little bit too much information on their resumes.
And by too much, I mean things like:

Birth date 
(None of our business)

(Not necessary in general as like I mentioned above, it's none of our business. And it's especially redundant if you are putting birth date and then age in succession, one right after the other- duh.)

Civil Status 
(I wasn't even completely sure what this meant so I had to look it up. Apparently it's similar to marital status... news to me. Also: none of our business.)

(Unless you're applying for a modeling type job, don't care.)

(This is reasonably okay to list but not terribly necessary at the resume stage of the game because guess what? We'll ask it later if we have an interest in hiring you.)

(Again: none of our business.)

Place of birth
(Why would we care?)

and last but not least


Now it would seem logical that one would be able to figure out from the name on the resume what the sex of the person is...Mary is female, John is male. Some names are obscure enough that it is impossible to figure out but overall a Recruiter or HR person will know once we pick up the phone and talk to you.

I'm talking about this because today's blog example is from a guy that put THIS as his response after listing sex on his resume:

As for me?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interests- I Haz Dem

Ahhhh interests.
Today, I talk about them.

People often ask me if they should put "Interests" or "Hobbies" on their resumes.
Unfortunately the people that really should be asking me this question (aka the people I'm about to make fun of) don't.

But if I didn't get this kind of garbage in my inbox, I wouldn't have anything fun to write about now would I?
So let's continue, shall we?

Today I'm going to cover the category of "Interests". Sometimes confused with "Hobbies". They are kind of interchangeable, no? Yet people list them both, separately, on their resumes all the time.

First of all, unless you have a VERY specific job and specialty that you are going after, please don't put either on your resume. They do nothing more than make us HR/Recruiter types LAUGH AT YOU. A rare example of a time when it might actually be appropriate to list an interest or a hobby would be when you really want to work for a company that makes remote control toys and you put that you are very into RC stuff like this guy:

That's completely acceptable.

But most people in our current economy are applying for so many different random jobs, it's just not a good idea to list any of that stuff.

Here are some examples from actual resumes I've saved over the last few weeks- complete with my commentary (of course) in the parentheses after:

"I like to read bestsellers and browse the web."
(And for originality, a ZERO! Because NOBODY else on this planet likes to read bestsellers or browse the web...)

"I like to workout."

(A lot of people have been putting this lately, and quite frankly? It's getting annoying. 
Anyone else out there notice that the people in our society that are actually in shape don't really talk about it? It's usually the out of shape, fluffy ones that are constantly discussing working out... how they went and did it or how they're planning on doing it. It gets old people, stop talking about it already and either just go do it or don't. End of story.)

"Ize not fat, Ize Fluffy!"

"I enjoy amusement parks."

(Really? I mean how low of an IQ level do you have to be to put this as your interest??)

"Growing my kids."

(WTF does this even mean??)

"I enjoy fixing things"

(This from a guy that had about 17 things wrong with his resume.
Dude. How about starting by FIXING YOUR RESUME??)

"I enjoy drink paring and record ablum collecting."

(Were you doing the paring before or after you typed "ablum" collecting?)

"Interests: Anything that fascinates me"

"Interests: Relaxing"

(Oh SO original and necessary to list on your resume as again, NOBODY else likes to do this...)

And last but not least, by far one of my favorites...

"Interests: Giving people advice"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Squidward Meanie Pants

It's Monday, it's Monday!
Time for a Meanie!

This meanie was simple.
His name was...something I couldn't pronounce.
So ironically this dude fit right in with the blog posting I wrote last week about names, which you can read here if you haven't done so already.

I'll just say his name started with the word "Quid" so we'll call him Squidward for the purposes of this post.

I called Squidward and left him a message because he was in management and I actually had 3 positions I thought he might be worth interviewing for. Not just one like most people I deem worthy enough to call, but THREE. I got his voice mail and because there was no personalized message on it giving me a "pre-indication" of how to pronounce his name correctly, I'm sure I botched his name up when I left him the message. I didn't mean to, but hey, at least I didn't call him Squidward on his voice mail.

As per my normal routine, I emailed him shortly thereafter to let him know I'd left a message and would appreciate a call and yada yada yada.

Later that afternoon, I was greeted by this lovely diddy in my inbox:

And then underneath that his automated email signature 
(that I'm sure he forgot about as he probably made it years ago), 
his name 
Squidward Meanie Pants
and then: 

So this?
Sent me into a fit of giggles. 

First of all let me just say that while I appreciate the red and blue patriotic colors that have (purposefully?) been chosen to express his opinions, let me just point out the obvious:

Perhaps a better way to go about it would have been to email Squidward back and tell him he should pick himself up a copy of this:

But surely that might get me a visit to the Principal's office, so instead, I'll just not respond and vent my frustrations here on my little slice of the Universe I've carved out for myself, otherwise known as my blog.

Secondly, I'm a die hard Seinfeld fan, and let me just tell you...whenever I see an "inordinate amount of exclamation points being used", I can't help but think of these two scenes with Elaine in Seinfeld :

and then came this

In closing, I'd just like to say, 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Here comes your Weekly Resume Roundup of Stunning Stupidity!

I've been busy gathering some rather ridiculous one liners from the week... so without further ado, I present to you:
A Resume Roundup of Stunning Stupidity!! (along with my commentary in the parentheses following...cuz I can't resist making comments...)

1. "I have a long narrow length of experience" 
(WTF does that even mean??)

2. "I cleaned a lot at this job. In fact more than I care to ever again." 
(Bahahahaha!!! Just for that I'm calling you to inquire as to whether or not you'd like to apply for the janitorial position we don't really have but I just made up to get you all riled up on the phone...)

3. "Firstly, I have a good driving record only in that I currently do not have a license." 
(This one gets most creative marks under the "I feel I have to explain my car situation even though nobody really cares" category.)

4. "BA in Accounting, 200010-2012"
 (OMGawd I can't believe somebody would even do this...)

5. And this is my all time favorite for the week:
 "Experience: Not much due to personal issues that are being taken care of" 
(AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA can you say Drama?? Yeah, I'm TOTALLY hiring you!)

And that's it! 
(Okay, I fib, there were more, but I'm saving them for future posts because they were THAT GOOD.)

Stay tuned for more resume entertainment next week!

And thanks for tuning in in the first place!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An oldie but goodie...

Thanks for stopping by.

My ass is up to alligators right now... what with the working full time, recruiting for my afternoon replacement person, moving and painting at night, the kid having walking pneumonia and graduating next week, the helping people with their resumes stuff ... I'm truthfully doing my best not to hyperventilate. 
Or pass out.

Quite frankly I am just happy I get out of the house with clean clothes on every morning. THAT should tell you how well I'm functioning right now.

So seeing as how I don't have any time as of recent days to put together a new blog posting and no one wants to hear me wax eloquent about my new found love of Valspar's "Stormy Weather" shade of paint... I thought I would just re-post one of my oldies but goodies!

Sit back, relax and enjoy!
(And my apologies to my long time followers who've already read this. More funny next week!)

Okay, here we go...

Times are tough right now, aren't they? I know I bitch about being on the raw end of the Resume Reading Stick but I get it, I know people are going through some serious shit right now, being unemployed and all. Despite the specific slant on my blog, I am tapped into this and do feel for people. A good percentage of the job seekers I do speak with get my sympathy vote, but certainly not all.

Yesterday afternoon I got a surprise of all surprises though- a female job candidate called me and sheeee waaaasssss a little l-ooooo-ppeeeeeee.

Okay, she was drunk.

Or hopped up on pills.

I'm not quite sure which.

But seeing as how my fearless co-worker Tammy (who I mentioned before stays calm 99% of the time) answered the phone first and then put "Janice" on hold- she had a chance to warn me. And if Tammy's actually taking the time to warn me? Somethin's freakin' UP Chuck. 

I think Tammy said something like "This lady sounds a little weird. Like she was surprised she got (insert our company name here)_____________ Insurance and was shocked as all heck that you were even here, even though she called asking for you by name. Her name is "Janice" _____, does that sound familiar?"

Yes, why yes indeed it does.

"Shit." I replied back to Tammy. "Yes, I know exactly who it is."

Usually I have to keep the person calling in on hold for a little bit so I can dive through my folders (appropriately categorized according to my last interaction with them in my different color coded system as I'm totally anal like that) and pull out their resume so I can have it for reference. In this case there was no need for that, only for me to brace myself and take a deep breath.

Back story time my chickadees!

For the last 3 damn days I have been in a massive email entanglement with Janice and this guy named "George". Without boring you with all the incredibly complicated employer snapshot of a candidate's resume details on CareerBuilder discussion (that was a mouthful), I'll try to explain it rather simply this way:

Janice was emailing me her resume, telling me she wanted to be considered for a new career. (She is currently a nurse.) This is fine, except Janice emailed me some dude's resume copy instead of hers. I'll just call the other dude whose resume I was suddenly viewing "George". George is apparently a private investigator (and yeah, I'm sure he's reading this right now considering the entanglement we've all had as of late, what with him being a P.I. and all...so HI GEORGE!!)

Anyhoo- it went down like this:
Janice emails me with a reasonable cover note about herself and her new found desire to ditch the nursing scene, attaching George the P.I.'s resume.

I scratch my head, search through my different job board data bases I have access to and discover that the problem ALSO exists on CareerBuilder. Huh. Her info is listed as the contact and person searching for a job, but George's resume is the one uploaded as if it's her.

This was confusing to me.
So I politely emailed them (her?) and said this:

"Hi Janice,
I received your interest email and there is some confusion on our part... when we pull you up on CareerBuilder.com, your resume comes up as George __________? I've attached our employer view below so that you can see how we see it. Thought maybe you could address this issue...do you know George? I don't know why the two of you would be entangled in such a fashion, haven't seen this happen in all the years I've been doing this.
Best regards,
Stephanie __________
Recruiting Director
for ____________ etc"

The following day, this email showed up in my inbox:

"Hi, this is George __________, Janice __________'s husband. How my resume got mixed with Janices is beyond me. this was definitely an error on CareerBuilder's part. I don't know how to fix this. In the MEANTIME, I'm attaching her resume for your consideration she is a registered nurse, looking to start a new  career. Sorry for the mix up, but just to make it clear again, THIS IS NOT OUR FAULT.
George ____ , PI"

Ummm, okay.
They are married. They have 2 different last names. This isn't that unusual...but the way he was EMPHASIZING certain words and INSISTING it wasn't their fault?? Umm, a little off, no?

I open up Janice's resume--- she's an RN that works in a bungalow with psychotic patients who were "more stabilized on their meds" (her words). Uh, yeah, you don't say? Psychotic patients do better on their meds? Huh.
That's news to me.

I read through all SEVEN pages of random mentions of incidents with patients (totally none of my business and major HIPAA violations to boot) but certain things caught my eye. When a Resume Submitter STARTS USING THE CAPS LOCK FOR SEVERAL SENTENCES and then abruptly stops mid-sentence for no apparent reason... it gets my attention. This went on like waves crashing on the beach, then retreating, then crashing back. It was - eery.

Then I read about the hostage negotiation team she was on and other pertinent information on convicted psychotic arsonists and the "hodge podge of alcoholics" (her words I swear) she took care of.

This is down right freaky.

And just for the record, my last job before I became a recruiter was in a mental health outpatient facility in downtown, drug infested Reno, NV. So if you're scaring me on paper? There ain't no WAY I'm gonna deal with you in person. (Even though I'm trained to do so doesn't mean I'm going to volunteer for it.)

About ready to shred it and just completely ignore and DRE code her (which in my land stands for "It was heinous and necessary to shred as quickly as possible) I catch the address. She's 2 hours away from us.
She's also 2 hours away from her husband.

This is my out.

I'm feeling kind... (that'll come back to bite me in the ass for sure)...I email her and her husband TOGETHER and say that I noticed she's in __________ city, that's too far a commute, so she can contact this office closer to her instead, giving them the info of some poor unfortunate dude whose office workers were going to be hating me within 18 hours. I also made a friendly recruiter suggestion that they completely delete the CareerBuilder.com account and start over from scratch, since they indicated they didn't know how to fix it and that (of course) it WASN'T THEIR FAULT.

I went home, tried to forget about it.

The following morning I get yet ANOTHER email in my inbox from her husband. "No, you don't understand, she lives here in Sherman Oaks with ME. I don't know why you thought she was in ___________. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?"
and that was all he wrote.

You don't FREAKING KNOW why I thought she lived in another city?

Okay, sorry, calming down now.

I ignored. 
Ignore, ignore, ignore.
"These people are whacked," I told myself.
"I shouldn't have to deal with them. I was just trying to be nice. This is what I get for being nice. I'm so gullible. I need to not do anything further with them so I don't go postal on them."
(Yes, this is my glorious self-talk, now you've been clued in as to what goes on in my head...)

And then the phone call from Janice came in.

They let it rest for a good 6 hours between contact times... however perhaps "rest" isn't the best word here- "fester" seems more appropriate.

I already told you how the call came in to Tammy- so let's take it from where I take a deep breath and pick up the phone, shall we?

Me: "Hi Janice, this is Stephanie. How can I help you?"
Janice: "Oh hi. You're there." 
Very long silence.
Me: "Yes, I'm here. I'm assuming this is Janice _____ who I've been emailing back and forth with?"
Me: Gulp.
Me in my head: I think (?) she was yelling at George...I don't think she's yelling at me, but I'm not quite sure.
And who says "Shush" the fuck up?
I've never heard that in all my life. "Shut" the fuck up, yes. But not "shush". This is new.
Me still in my head: I think this will be blog material.

Me actually speaking now: "Uh, how can I help you Janice?"
Janice: "Well, I'm a liddel comfused...I see your job desscripson as being a unit nurse, I don't want to be a unit nurse."
Me in my head: Oh dear. She really is wasted. How am I going to get her off the phone?
Me outloud: "You don't want to be a unit nurse? Well what did you want?" (May as well get some mileage out of this...)
Janice: "Uhhhhh. Well. You KNOW, I don't want to be a damn unit nurse. I've had enough of that for a lifetime."
Silence again.
Me: "Well I'm not sure you're calling the right place. This is ___________ Insurance. I don't have a need for unit nurses."

Insert loud crash in the background in Janice's home/hovel/vat of vodka she's swimming in...

Me- knowing I need to calm her down: "Okay Janice, well if I remember correctly from your email, you were looking for a new career correct? Because my company doesn't have anything to do with nursing, we help people get licensed with the State of California Department of Insurance and train them to become insurance agents or employees under existing insurance agents. Does that sound like something you are looking for?"
Janice: "Uh-huh."
Silence again.
Me in my brain: I'm just gonna wait here and see what she says. I'm not gonna say anything.
More yelling commences, this time it sounds like George, whose also possibly been swimming in the vat of vodka with her. "Where'd you put the remote?? Whys you gotta be hidin' the GODDAMNED REMOTE FROM ME ALL THE TIME. I SWEAR WOMAN..."
Me: "Janice?" (trying to get her attention focused back on our lame attempt at a career counseling conversation...) "Janice, are you there?"
Janice: "Yes! I'm here. He'z alwayz askin' me about the remote. So I don't want to be a unit nurse."
Me: "Yes, I understand that. I don't have any unit nurse positions."
Janice: "Good, then what do you have available? I need to interview. I've got 25? No, 30? Years essperience and I need a job. So I can get OUTTA THIS HOUSE BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT REMOTES ANYMORE."
Me in my head: "I should really milk this conversation for some more blog material but I've actually got real work to do..."
Me outloud: "Janice, I think that we probably aren't a good fit for you and you should continue your job search elsewhere."
Janice: Silence. 
More silence.
Janice: "Ellswhere?" (totally confused by the word)
Me: "Yes, best of luck to you with your job search."
Janice: "Uh-huh."

And then I hung up on her. 
Even though she was still talking. 
To me or to George or to herself...I'm not sure and, quite frankly, don't care.

As soon as I slam the phone down I immediately start yelling back at Tammy "OH MY GAWD SHE WAS DRUNK! SHE WAS TOTALLY DRUNK!" and the giggling and conversation recounting commences.

How stupid people search for jobs.

Now just for added humor sake, I'm linking up a very funny YouTube video that's one in a series called "My Drunk Kitchen". 

I'd totally take a phone call from this girl anytime. (And possibly want to be her new best friend.)

Now THIS is the way to be drunk in the afternoon. (Safely at home, not calling potential employers, doing something useful with yourself like hysterical cooking demonstrations...)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So you got stuck with a rotten name...

Today I talk about names.
You know, that thing your parents saddled you with at birth and half of you are like "Really? THAT'S what you came up with?"
Most people don't like their names.
Or perhaps how their names are spelled.
And there's usually a story behind how their name was picked that gets told repeatedly, whether the name bearer wants to hear it or not.

For example:
I've been told if I was to turn out to be a boy, I would have been named Darren. Or Darryl. (?) I can't quite remember, but either way I'm good with Stephanie. It's still unique enough, and even though I was relentlessly teased by crappy little boys who liked to make up songs emphasizing the "Fanny" portion of my name's ending...I still lived through it and enjoy having a *fairly rare* yet *not borderline your parents were on crack when they named you* name. When asked how my name was chosen, apparently it was an afterthought. I think my parents were pretty convinced I'd be a boy, considering the fact that they didn't actually have a girl name picked out by the time they were in their blue Mach I headed for the hospital. So when the nurse was standing there tapping her foot, clipboard in hand, pen poised for the all important birth certificate moment...nothing came to mind. Then they managed to land on the idea of naming me after my dad's middle name (Steven) and Stephanie flew out of their mouths. Go figure.

My middle name (Sue) was easier as I'm named after my mom, Diane Sue, and my great Aunt Jimmie Sue. Yes we are a very southern family, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas... you get the idea.

My sister is almost 11 years younger than I, so I very clearly remember the naming games we went through to land on Tracy.
Tracy Anne to be exact.

Back in the early 80s, they'd finally come out with reasonable baby name books, and not wanting to be caught off guard like their previous hospital stint, my parents shelled out some money for that all important book. We hauled that sucker around everywhere we went. I was 10 years old and the main researcher; I'd read out hundreds of baby names to my mom on the way to the grocery store, coming home from school or dance practice... I was always reciting names. And usually the most ridiculous ones too, because (of course) I thought it would be funny to have a sibling with a hoaky embarrassing name. We knew mom was gonna have another girl, so once again my parents were slightly disappointed that they didn't get a chance to unleash Darren (or was it Darryl?) upon their second child. Oddly enough my mom got stuck on the name Emily for quite some time; for months my sister was going to be Emily. Then something switched up (perhaps the increasing frequency and intensity of the kicks in the tummy?) and suddenly my mom had a very solid conviction that Emily was too "dainty" for whomever was jostling around in her belly, Tracy sounded more appropriate. And of course, everyone knows that Tracy Anne just rolls off the tongue now doesn't it?
Now that my sister is here and a stunning grown woman, I can say with positive conviction that she is definitely a Tracy, not even close to an Emily. She bosses people around in the most professional manner as a restaurant manager and wrestles horses in her spare time. Definitely a Tracy, not an Emily.

My husband's name story is quite interesting, and being a good journalist type, I went to the source- I emailed my in-laws directly to make sure I had the story straight.
Originally Russell (hubby) was to be named either Andrew Victor or Russell Victor, but once mom-in-law was wheeled into the birthing room and dad was left out in the waiting room, things apparently changed up. (For the record, this was 1973 people- there were no dads in the delivery rooms, let alone the rest of the 27 family members and camera crews people bring into the birthing rooms today...) Having finally given birth after 14 hours of intense labor, mom-in-law had full control over filling out the birth certificate paperwork. So she chose Russell Allan, instead of Russell or Andrew Victor. As the story goes, she liked the idea of being able to nickname her son Rusty (even though he is not a red head) so Andrew was out the window, and the Victor portion was switched out to Allan as she had a severe aversion to the concept of her son having initials representing a Recreational Vehicle. Ironically his last name starts with an N, so to this day Russ does not understand how it was okay for him to be a nurse (RN) but not a recreational vehicle (RV). Too many hours of pushing without the luxury of an epidural perhaps? Who knows how this exactly came about. Needless to say, father-in-law was surprised to learn it had all switched up and already been etched into stone while he was in the waiting room handing out cigars. (Surprise!)

When I asked my brother-in-law if there was any special story behind how his parents picked his name (Noah) he said they simply saw the name listed as one of the actors on the early Battlestar Galactica TV show and they liked it...not that they necessarily had an affinity for arks and things paired in twos.

So all that being said, names certainly are an interesting topic now aren't they?

Why the heck am I talking so in-depthly about names today? Because it's a routine part of my day that I get resumes with "odd" names and have to figure out just how the HELL I'm going to pronounce them if I choose to try and get these people on the phone.

Here's a list of actual first names that have floated into my work in-box over the last month:


I just finally figured out how to pronounce the last name "Nguyen"...how the heck am I going to pull off pronouncing any of these names?

When I do call them on the phone, the majority of them are polite as I suppose they are used to hearing their name hacked into pieces and spit out of some white chick's mouth. But some of them? Not so much. They get MAD. And I mean mad. To the point where I just apologize and say "You know what? Let me call you back" and then I hang up quickly, all the while acting as if the building is burning down or some such nonsense requiring me to get off the phone in a big ol' hurry. And naturally I don't call them back. Because if they are treating me like that? How are they going to treat our insurance customers? After consulting my crystal ball, I'd dare say pretty shitty, that's how.

So people? When you are stuck with a really crappy name- don't take it out on the HR/recruiter types trying to call you about employment okay? It's totally not fair that you lash out at us. If you feel the need to bash somebody about it, call up your parents again and say "What the eff were you thinking??" Or just rename yourself already. At least give yourself a reasonable nick name to go by, no?

This YouTube video highlights my sentiments exactly on this topic- it's 4 minutes long but worth the watch.

Naming Your Child by David Mitchell

PS How did you get YOUR name?? Please share any cool (or even boring) stories with us all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An uplifting resume

Occasionally I'll get a resume from an employee of

Did you get that? Did you understand what company I meant?
Okay, then let's try this...

K, NOW do you get it??


What I'm trying to say is this: Occassionally I get a resume from an employee of 

Okay NOW we are all on the same page!
(And man, you need to get with it, that was slightly painful...)

Let me just say that every man in the office where I work has a hard time resisting comments like "Oooohhh please bring her in!!" if I fess up that I received a resume from one of their employees.

Yesterday was such an occassion.
This little chickie called herself a "Bra Specialist."

How delightful.
"I wonder what her job description will say" goes my brain as I'm scanning down the page..."I bet it will be funny..." "Oooo! I might even get some blog fodder out of this one..."

Uh, yep!

There were 3 things she put on her resume under
 "Bra Specialist".

She was:
"hands on with customer service"
had "strong sales analysis skills"
and was an 
"excellent problem solver"

So just think about this for a second...
No, don't.
It's just too ridiculous.