January 25, 2011

The Life and Times of Job Hunting

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It’s a dark day in America, y’all. Jack LaLane is dead. I haven’t been this sad since Billy Mays left this mortal coil. What can I say? I really like infomercials. And juicers. Man, do I love juicers. Seriously though, is second semester depressing or what? It is cold as shit! And I say that as a born and bred Minnesotan. I know what’s cold. But this is my last spring semester ever (OF ALL TIME). So I guess that’s exciting. Kind of.And what’s new in the life and times of Elana D? That is a reference to a book that I should have read, but haven’t, but will totally pretend to have read, if you ask me about it. J.M. Coetzee — yeah totally. My fave. Michael K. The jam. I am really smart and clever. Let me answer that question, now that you are adequately impressed.The answer is, of course, nothing. I am still unemployed (and unemployable)(just kidding I have many great and marketable skills) (please hire me to do something)(anyone)(even you, person who called me an “unrepentant far-left propagandist”)(especially you)(that is actually the best compliment I have ever received in my entire life).Speaking of being a giant jobless, prospect-less loser, I just thought of something I could write about. Informational interviews.Let us hearken back, for a minute, to yesteryear. Rather, yestersemester. Our hero (me, duh) had just returned from Thanksgiving break with her family, with no answer to their concerned inquiries about her whereabouts and wherewithals (and whatthefucks) for the following year. “I am applying to … things,” she said vaguely. “I am going to work for a year, and then I am going to get an MFA …” she said, “In fiction.” Whoa, where did that come from? She doesn’t know. But her parents were into it. “In fact, when I get back to campus, I will e-mail all the MFA candidates and ask them to let me ask them questions.” Her parents were really into that.And I did it, too. Which is awfully presumptuous, if you ask me. I mean, I ain’t getting in here. Look at me. But people responded. And they were nice!So here are some things that I learned about informational interviews, which sounds like a made up concept but is totally a real thing. I googled it to make sure. I am reassuring myself because I still feel kind of creepy despite my mother’s insistence otherwise. Which, if you think about it, is not really helping my cause. Sorry grad students, is what I’m saying. Anyway, lessons I gleaned from being a total not creep …Make sure that all your questions can’t be answered in one sentence. Because then your interview will only be five seconds long and you will feel like a dick for making somebody get up and come meet you somewhere for nothing. Hypothetically, of course.That’s it, actually. That’s the only thing I learned. Also, don’t let your roommate coerce you into adding your interviewee on Facebook because you will feel really creepy and weird every time he pops up on your newsfeed. Again, you know, potentially. Theoretically. Or something.The Internet says that you should buy your interviewee coffee or lunch or whatever, since they are doing you a favor. This makes a lot of sense. I didn’t, because I have less than a basic mastery of normal social interaction. I am really awkward and shy. So do that, y’all. Buy people food. And nice grad students who met with me, I totally owe you five bucks.A final piece of advice: Don’t cart around the stupid book your grandpa gave you for Channukah that he said is the best thing ever, which you are grudgingly reading because you have a compulsive need to finish every book you start, because you will be embarrassed after the fact that you were seen reading something so simultaneously awful and pretentious, even if you know that you are going to be sitting there for a while afterward, since you don’t have to go to work for like two more hours. Bring your Coetzee. You should really read that book, anyway. It’s amazing.The moral of the story is: hire me. Please, please hire me.

Elana Dahlager is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at edahlager@cornellsun.com. Nutshell Library appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Elana Dahlager