The nightmares of adults

I have many nightmares.

They make me jump, kick, and moan in bed. I drip with sweat, terrified. I don't still run into my parents' bedroom, but only because of logistics. If it were still down the hall, all bets would be off.

I do not dream about ghosts, witches or Dick Cheney. Most of my dreams are reliving my worst fears: losing my clothes in public, arriving late to class and being unemployed. Unemployment gives me the chills. Unemployment is the embodiment of pure terror.

Unemployment is a nightmare because it implies something even more terrifying: Finding a job. Job searching is the most uncomfortable and unethical process I have ever endured.

I need to boast and brag about everything I have ever done. I even have to lie to ensure I land the position.

Everyone stretches the truth in ridiculous ways. You do not tell full-blown lies. You cannot claim a career you do not have. However, you must tell little white lies. You walk a tightrope balance between actuality and fabrication.

Every place of work wants someone who has years of experience identical to the job opening. If you do not have experience, you rack your mind for relatable experience. You squeeze every ounce of applicable anecdote you can think of. You even tell your interviewers about the time you found a $10 bill and insisted on finding the owner. You do not tell them your mother made you do this. You tell them you were top Brownie in your troop for Girl Scout Cookies sales. You do not tell them your grandmother bought everything you had. You become the most agreeable and confident person in the whole wide world.

Searching for a job requires the individual to shed their unique self, their individuality. Mickey Mouse ties, Converse shoes and other articles that convey your persona are forbidden. Mickey is liable to cost you the job. Proper attire is the plain button-up shirt, plain tie, plain pants, plain undershirt and plain underwear. Plain Mark.

This shedding of the self is the natural defense mechanism for the job searcher. If everyone looks the same, employers will have an easier time searching for that mixture of ability and personality that will fit. Interestingly enough, when you wear these clothes; you feel pressured into giving answers that want to be heard instead of the truth. The unemployed never hold the cards in an interview, why give the opposition the upper hand?

Even the place of the interview is at the comfort of the employer. Why must interviews be held in offices with someone behind a desk and the interviewed in a smaller chair? One hardly feels equal in this situation. Employers would have an easier time discovering the true persona of their applicants if they took them miniature golfing, fishing or on a hike up a mountain. Employers should do anything they can to allow the applicant act independent and honest.

The extra effort this takes is worth the trouble because personality goes a long way. The only jobs I have enjoyed have been enjoyable because I got along with my coworkers. Employees with no character cannot expect to work well with anyone.

As Sartre says, "Hell is other people." People with miserable attitudes make our lives hell. Employers know this. They look for the safest bet in who they hire. But, the safest bet is not always clear. Thus, employers have enlisted multiple screens that antagonize and aggravate the impatient. Thus, I will thank God every day I am employed because I do not have to look for another job. I can sleep well tonight

is a graduate of Southern Oregon University with a degree in English. He lives in Ashland with his fianc&


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