I was somewhere between unemployed and underemployed for much of the late 1980s, and I’m pretty sure thoughts like these crossed my mind at the time:
During my sabbatical I tried to gain some clarity into what I might “want to do.” But I realized I’m doing it: relaxing, keeping up with the news, cooking, doing odd projects, reading, and fiddling with the stock market.
So I guess I’m just a person who is unmotivated and has no vision, but who needs income, and will have to posture and compromise to get something that pays.
And eventually, it was something that paid about 40 percent as much as I’d made earlier, simply because it was an improvement over zero.
I remember this blurb from a nearby cubicle: “People work for money. You want loyalty, buy a dog.”
I think this describes most workers. But for most people, satisfaction is achieved by buying houses and TV’s and clothes and trinkets. So for these people, the work/money contract is satisfactory.
The whole employment exercise affirms this: the emphasis is on trickery how to dress, how to banter, the “right” questions to ask basically how to manipulate everything you need to, in order to get an offer.
Many employers, too, seem to perversely demand conformity in interviews they only want certain pat responses and questions. Which indicates they aren’t really interested in your answers, but rather your ability to conform and internalize routine.
I keep telling myself that I have enough house/TV’s/clothes/trinkets to last a lifetime, and maybe eventually I’ll believe it.
And I suspect I’m a disappointing interview subject, if one expects cut and dried answers: I’m more likely to tell you what I think I can do, not what I’ve already done. HR types looking for specific buzzwords and/or credentials will therefore presumably not be impressed. Further, HR types with no sense of humor will not be impressed with some of my responses to stock questions: more than once I have answered “Why did you leave your last position?” with “mutual illness.” Asked to explain this, I said: “I was sick of them, and they were sick of me.”