Last Name First

I’ve spent the last week doing that wonderful activity–filling out job applications.  After deciphering which businesses coincide with my family’s daily routes, I waded through websites searching for the job application page.  Online applications are much more complicated than the last time I job-hunted. (Since when do aptitude tests include first-letter word association quizzes?)  At moments, the monotony becomes so stifling that I’d prefer trudging through the Orinoco working camera for Jeremy Wade while he catches river monsters.

However, I am not in South America.  I am not helping to film River Monsters.  I am not up to my waist in muddy, leech-filled, monster-infested waters.  I am in a swivel chair staring at a computer screen.  Wanting energy and excitement, yet finding another computer screen full of the same questions.  So I sigh and start typing…last name first.

Why do applications always start that way?  It seems backward to me.  Then again, I believe we have lots of things backwards.  Having a job is supposed to be monotonous.  Routine.  Safe.  Predictable.  (Unless you work with children or the Secret Service–those two realms are never predictable or monotonous.)  So if having a job is monotonous, why does every company require at least 3 pages of individually-flavored monotony before you get the job?  Shouldn’t daily monotony be depressing enough–why the preview?  Especially when you apply 15 places and only work at 1.  Congratulations, you have just tasted 15 flavors of monotony.

The irony is the paperwork before your job starts is often the most monotonous.  And the supposed “monotony” of a daily job is 100x more exciting than filling out job applications.  It’s backward.

I look at the computer screen and feel like Theodore Roethke in his poem “Dolor”–“I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils/Neat in their boxes…./All the misery of manila folders.” (  But paperwork must be done.  Job applications must be completed.  So I keep typing…last name first.

P.S.  I will say that the one place I’ve heard back from so far has had the best set-up and best job application.  Nice parallel structure.  Easy format.  Good diction…That’s the technical writer in me coming out.  My poor technical writing professor…he awakened a monster.

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