Sunday, May 15, 2011

Uncle Stephen Wants You!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Life has been pretty busy – I love this time of year. Spring fever is in full bloom, the promise of summer and 4 long months of warmth and dinners in the sun are ahead and it’s becoming acceptable to bugger off early from work since it’s finally sunny.

A few weeks ago I decided that my penchance for high-end dry cleaning and $125 gala tickets might warrant some additional income and since my Nigerian prince hasn’t been returning my emails, I considered going gov. This sounds Palin-esque (going rogue). For those of you who, like me, still get HST cheques as a pity pittance you might remember an insert for census enumerators. I answered the call. It would be a short term stint that allows me to work alone, trawl the neighbourhood and interrupt people during their dinners. It paid pretty well and I thought it would be something new for a couple weeks.

The process involved in applying for a government job is an Olympic level exercise in hoop jumping. I’ve worked for government before, in Ottawa no less, but it was as a co-op and no one really screens budding librarians too closely. However, once a job offer is opened to the general public…in Hamilton…they increase the scrutiny a bit. Rightfully so, I really don’t want most of Hamilton’s public showing up at my door and asking if I live alone.

So the applications, interviews, testing, phone calls and background checks began and this process took several weeks. Now, go ahead and call me an egomaniac, my friend Tracy spares no opportunity to do so, but I tend to think that people with Master’s degrees, mortgages in good standing and all their teeth should be exempt from some of the tests to make sure we’re not raving lunatics. I mean, really. I’m taking these tests alongside jailbirds, former crack addicts, people who voted for Michael Baldasaro, Michael Baldasaro and that crazy guy you see in Gore Park. Which one, you ask? All of them. Especially that one you’re thinking of.

Okay, so I pass the preliminary tests (duh) and they’d like me to come in for a written examination. I always love a good Scantron sheet. As I sit in the sweltering room next to a woman who brought a full-on calculator with paper roll and a guy who has left his name blank on the form, I think, “Yep, this is the place for me.”

They require that we stay in the room for 30 minutes. After I completed my twelve questions in the regular amount of time you would expect (i.e. 4 minutes) I was left with a great deal of time to people watch. I also spent the time staring at the answer sheet of the woman next to me and whispering, “Are you sure?” with a ‘tsk-tsk’ noise. I’ll admit that I did go back and review because I was worried I was being tricked with the simplicity – why was everyone still writing?

I made the observation that no one wears more short sleeved dress shirts than government employees -and proudly too. They have a monopoly there. They also really like wearing their name badges on full display and they shush people almost as well as librarians.

After seeing the variety of people in that testing room, my best advice for you would be to fill out that census form you received last week. Otherwise, they’re coming for you…

Trust me on this one.

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