How I got the job – Part the first February 15, 2010Posted by Conventioneering in Job Get!.
Tags: NASM, work
I’m a bit new to this blog thing, so forgive me for a moment while I collect my thoughts.
No, actually, that’s a complete lie. I’ve been on Livejournal since something like 2006, but Livejournal hardly counts. Livejournal is where you go to chat with your friends. This isn’t meant to be that; this blog is intended to be a Serious Examination of Things in My Life, and Also What It Is to be Employed at the National Air and Space Museum.
With Capital Letters.
We’ll see how long that lasts.
Anyway, I suppose the best place to begin with such endeavors is at the beginning. I was asked by a friend of mine, when I announced the news, “Wow, how did you land THAT one?”
Well, the truth is, I asked.
The first thing you have to understand about me is that I have consistently horrific luck with jobs. In my junior year of college, my mother would not leave me alone about getting a summer job. And not just any job, either – there would be no more working for my father as a secretary, there would be no doing odd jobs for her. No, I was to get myself a real job.
So out I went, without a driver’s license, still slightly shell shocked from an ill fated stint abroad in Japan, to try to get a job.
And to keep trying.
And keep trying.
This was back before the economy tanked, mind you. And yet after applying to nearly a hundred jobs in the area, I got nothing. I was turned down by the local Safeway, by the just opened smoothie place, by everywhere.
Fast foreword to now. I just graduated from college with a degree in English, and managed to get turned down by all but two of the internships I applied for. Except one was with a small press in Oregon, which is a bit far to go; and the other, with Marvel Comics, I managed to miss the phone call for due to them only leaving a message on my cell phone’s answering machine which I almost never check. But I needed a job, and badly, because if all went as planned I’d be in graduate school in the fall.
I considered trawling CraigsList again, but first I turned to that venerable institution, the Washington Post. On the front page of the classifides, to my surprise, there was an advertisement for the Smithsonian Institution.
“NOW HIRING,” it said, “MUSEUM STORE CLERKS.”
I tilted my head a bit. On the one hand, working retail was something I’d always been told was heinous. I’m not a people person in the least; indeed, I’ve been described on more than one occasion as a villainous she-demon. On the other hand, it was a job at the Air and Space museum.
I’ve always been in love with the Smithsonian. I was one of those precocious children who spent more time reading than speaking, who shunned sunlight in favor of dusty tomes, and living so close to the museums (about an hour and a half outside Washington DC by train) meant that I spent quite a bit of time there. The first real job I had happened to be on D Street Southeast near Capitol South Metro Station, a minimum wage databasing job for a canvassing group. Every day after work instead of going home, I’d walk to the National Mall, pick a random museum, and explore. My dream as a writer is to someday work for the Smithsonian magazine; before I changed my major from East Asian Studies to English I wanted to be a curator at the Freer Gallery of Asian Art.
So okay. It was retail. But god, it was retail at the Air and Space museum. Hot damn. Most popular of the Smithsonian museums, it’s also my second favorite (the honor of favorite goes to the Freer gallery, which nobody knows about but me, or so it seems sometimes).
The next day I got on the train and went to the Air and Space museum to fill out my application. In this day and age, I suppose I could have filled out their online app, but honestly, I prefer to work in person if I can. There’s something about being present in a place that makes it impossible for someone to ignore you. You can’t just delete the message, escort the person out – they’re standing right there, you can’t just dismiss that. It also makes a good impression – the manager sees you, they get to meet you first, and you show that okay you’ve been to the place before.
Granted, in the past this hasn’t helped me at all, but hey. There’s a first time for everything.
I filled out my application and went on home. To my shock and surprise, the call came in the next day.
“Can you come in for an interview?”
“Oh, yes, absolutely!”
This post has gotten inordinately long, so I’ll leave you with that for now.