I am officially too old to apply for a job.
They wanted a resume. Hah! Last time I put one together was 1999. As for work history, I got finger spasms from typing and only went back 22 years (which was the day Steve Elkins hired me to write for this publication).
And which of my jobs should I highlight? I’ve been an Executive Director, the Easter Bunny, and chief chocolate taster. I’ve hawked tourism, books, bars, and bagels. I’ve been a newspaper editor, theatrical director, author, and publisher. I broke into show biz at an age when I would more likely break a hip. You get to be old, you’ve done stuff.
Then the application called for my college transcripts, and I howled. Will FedEx ship the stone tablets they were chiseled on? Hasn’t the parchment already disintegrated? I’ll let you know how I fare talking to the registrar’s office. I haven’t used the word registrar in almost half a century.
Oy. I was having psychedelic undergrad flashbacks. At least my long-term memory is still working.
Next came all the application pages I had to sign and initial, including the drug-free schools, and workplace policy. I had to read all the punishments for being found with controlled substances or drug paraphernalia. Wow, I hope that doesn’t include the bong I now use as a planter.
And boy, it’s a good thing I didn’t have to initial this thing in 1967. Currently, I’m unstoked by controlled substances, but I’m still marching in the streets for pretty much the same issues. How is this fair?
And I am so out of the loop. The appendix of controlled substances included drugs I’d never even heard of. But thanks to the workplace policy, I now know how long I’d be in the cast of Orange is the New Black if caught with any of them.
Moving right along in my application process, I loved having to initial the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. It told me they would make reasonable accommodations if I got pregnant or was lactating. Okay, try to get the picture of me holding a suckling baby out of your mind. But if I were pregnant or nursing they wouldn’t have to make accommodations for me anyway, as I would make a fortune by selling my story to the tabloids. “Sixty-Eight-Year-Old Gives Birth!” The real story would be that it wasn’t a Schnauzer.
Okay, so I initialed all the spots required and then considered putting a big N/A on the page and circling it. I actually wrote N/A/U, for No Actual Uterus.
But seriously, I love that Delaware law protects pregnant and nursing women. That sure didn’t happen in the ‘60s. We’ve come a long way baby (or with babies), but, as we all know, we’ve still got a long way to go. Misogyny thrives.
More and more places are trying to fight it. And they are doing a great job battling sexual harassment in schools and the workplace (except for Fox News). In fact, part of my application for work also included completing online courses in Sexual Harassment and Eliminating Violence in the Workplace. Luckily, these were not based on the syllabus by Dr. Bill Cosby.
The online courses were thoughtful and well designed discussions of the dos and don’ts of personal interaction. After reading the material and answering the questions, nobody should be clueless about what constitutes bad behavior.
We certainly did not have discussions like this when I was in college or in my first job. It might have prevented my having to slap my blind date silly in that Karmann Ghia sportster parked along the roadway in Rock Creek Park one dark night in the bad old days. Or later, having to leave a job at a DC television station because the atmosphere was toxic with sexual innuendo, and supervisors wanting a lot more from employees than work product.
So we really have come a long way on a lot of topics since I got my very first job at that TV station, where I typed 55 words a minute on an IBM Selectric, writing press releases and promos for the princely sum of $110.00 a week. The telephone operator still had one of those plug-in systems like Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine used (“Is this the party to whom I’m speaking???”) and my job application consisted of a two-page document and a five minute interview. I was asked my age. If I had a car. If I planned on getting pregnant. And if I’d mind making the coffee each morning.
Oh how times, and I, have changed. And the good thing about this upcoming very part-time temporary job is that it involves no alarm clocks, no dress-for-success clothing, a five-minute commute, and doing what I love.
Now when will those fossil transcripts arrive? Will they be suitable for carbon-dating? Will the Smithsonian want them?
I graduated two score and seven years ago. I cannot wait to see my grade-point average and the list of classes I little noted nor long remembered. But I will always remember what I did there. And it was groovy.
As they sang in A Chorus Line, “I hope I get it. I hope I get this job.”
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach; For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries; Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach, and her newest book Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked.