Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Get a Life. Better Yet, Bartender, Make It a Double!

My head is spinning.

No, I haven't imbibed in anything alcoholic this evening - although I sure feel like I'm in a bar. The cause? This article from the October 9 edition of The New York Times about twin sisters Katie and Kristy Barry who, despite their journalism degrees from Rutgers, have yet to find a job in New York City other than bartending.

The bar and restaurant scene appears to be the twins' home away from their $2,900 per month apartment home. Judging from their comments and vapidity, the twins seem to spend considerable amount of time in places where everybody seems to know their perky names.

According to the Times, they've sent out 150 resumes and no nibbles. Oh, wait, I may be mistaken. Maybe there has been a nibble or two ... of the chocolate candy confections that the girls have been concocting and sending along with their credentials.

I don't live in post-9/11 New York, but I'll tell you what I would be thinking: if some job applicant is sending me candy, I'm thinking potential terrorism, not potential timesheet. Your chocolate isn't making it past my circular file.

Now, having personally graduated from college during a recession (that would be back in the ancient days of the early '90s), I do have a smidgen of sympathy for Katie and Kristy. Really, I do. I'm not really as much of a know-it-all smart a ... as I appear to be. (I only play one on my blog.) So, Katie and Kristy, from one recession-era college journalism grad to two others, I would like to Zapruder this pathetic-sounding NYT article and allow my words of advice to be my little post-commencement gift to you. Think of it as a PSA, if you will. (You were journalism majors. I presume you know what that stands for.)

Pssssstttt! Public ... service ... announcement.

Instead of this: “I wake up hopeful and check my e-mail and then all there is is ...a stupid Facebook thing. So-and-so sent you a puppy. Or a drink. Great!”

Consider this: Drop-kick some of those well-meaning beer and puppy dog sending Facebook Friends to the Land of the DeFriended. Now, I know that's harsh advice because I've got a few wacky hangers-on myself and I admit, they are entertaining after a long day. But, you've got a career to consider and as someone who has checked out potential interns' profiles on Facebook, I'm here to tell you that employers are looking at your online trail. And your Friends.

More from our twins in the Times:

Kristy: “I’m so tired of coming up with cover letters that I think are interesting, and then nothing.”
Katie: “You think, O.K., do I kick somebody’s door in?”

Absolutely, Katie, by all means! Kicking a door down is indeed a time-proven way to get your foot in the door. (A little homage to Mad Men, there.)

Their dream is to work together in sports reporting or have a TV show, but they are flexible. They talk of teaching piano, or inventing, say, a lipstick-case microphone. “If you’re in a bar you would hold it up and say, ‘This guy is creepy, get out of here,’ ” Kristy explained.
Very smart strategy there, giving potential employers a glimpse of your marketing genius upfront. Just so they know what to expect. (Me, I'd be dazzling them with my smarts after I get the job, but what do I, someone who has worked as a communications professional for two decades, know?)

She works as a bartender, three nights a week, at Dive 75 on West 75th Street, making about $800 a week. Katie had been working at another bar, but was fired in June after landing in Cancun to begin a vacation. Her boss said she played the music too loud.
$800 a week?! A vacation in Cancun? And yes, playing music too loud in bars is indeed a problem.

Now, jobless, days going by one at a time, Katie found herself saying things like: “It’s driving me bonkers. Like what has my existence come to?” And: “I’m going to stab myself.”
Yeah, about the stabbing oneself thing ... also not a real good strategy to get noticed in the eyes of a potential employer. I myself do not look favorably on job candidates who are prone to violence. Makes me kind of skeptical about that whole "works well under pressure" or "good interpersonal skills" lines on your resume.

They had gotten some good buys at a thrift shop: a coin belt for $3, an “Animal House” DVD for $2, an X-Men tennis racket for $3.27.
Granted, there's not much one can buy in New York City for $8.27. But I'm betting I could not find three more totally unnecessary and frivolous items if I tried.

They claimed a couch upstairs at the Aroma Espresso Bar on West 72nd Street, where they like to ingest caffeine and comb the Web: Think, think, think.

The other day, a brainstorm hit. They would devise a blog called Twin Town, write about their lives and invite guest material, somehow woo advertisers.

Ah, yes. The ol' "I think I'll start a blog and voila, early retirement here I come!" brainstorm. Been there, done that. (Obviously.)


Kristy said she could do a photo display with the gnome bank that she had lugged around Newark, snapping pictures of it at the park, at a beauty store, in a police car.
Lugging a gnome bank around Newark. A photo display. It's late, I've gotta get up for work in a few hours. Can't match the creativity in that one, sorry.

“I keep wondering how do I propel myself out of the bar world, where I look cute and pour beer, into a world where I have thoughtful conversation about the world rather than stuff like why do people clap at the end of good movies. Or, why do you think Heidi Klum married Seal? I don’t care why!”

Katie was moping a bit, saying, “I’ve eaten so many canned beans lately.”

And: “I need a life coach to come in and tell me what I’m doing wrong. I keep singing that song, ‘Something’s Got to Give.’ ”

A life coach to come in and tell me what I'm doing wrong. Well, why didn't you say something sooner? I will be glad to volunteer my services, in ernest, to both of you.

But first, pull up a chair. Order a drink, whatever you like. Bartender, this round for the twins is on me.

Better yet, make it a double. We might be here a little while.


Lis Garrett said...

Hee hee! Oh, thank you for making me smile so early in the morning. :-)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

You wonder how they find these people!

Jessica said...

Oh lord, I interviewed so many of these people when I had to do hiring at my last job. I'm having flashbacks ... think I'll join you for that drink!

Great post.

Cavalier92 said...

It never fails to amaze me just how obtuse and full of themselves recent grads can be sometimes. Sometime you have to wonder why they wasted all that money on college.

Then you realize that they thought Animal House was a documentary.