Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lost a good friend last weekend....

I am still quite shocked by the loss of one of the nicest men I have ever met, Timo Taskinen. Timo passed away on Saturday due to a sudden heart attack and I'm not sure It's totally sunk in with me yet. I first met Timo and his lovely wife Verna at my Brother Jims wedding to his wife Tanja. Timo was part of Tanja's Finnish 'family' having moved to Canada in 1970 with Tanja's parents. Even in that brief meeting, you knew Timo was a really good guy. I got to know Timo even better when he helped my girlfriend at the time find an apartment to buy. I had always thought realtors were fast talking guys trying to sell you something no matter what. That opinion changed with Timo as he was so cool and nice while we looked at different places. There was no pressure and he gave honest opinions on the places we saw. If anyone I knew was in need of buying a house I would tell them "TEAM UP WITH TIMO"! You couldn't go wrong...

I have never been good with what to do when someone you care for passes away and I never know how to approach the immediate family. I just want everyone to know that Timo was a great man and was taken far, far, too soon from us. And I know that Timo's wife Verna, like Timo, is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, I only wish there was something I could do for her. It was only a few short weeks ago I spent the night at the Taskinen's beautiful White Rock home and have never felt more welcome in someone else's place. Timo will be missed so very much...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Day at 1-800-Got-Crap...

Had another Job interview this week! It was for the company 1-800-got junk. If you have junk, and you need it hauled away you call these people and they take care of it. The Job I applied for was to be one of the people on the phone who would book your appointment and make the sale.

I had the interview at noon on Wednesday and I took Transit... I knew I was in trouble as soon as I walked out of the apartment because I was already sweating. Anderson boys sweat, we sweat so bad that white T-shirts must be worn at all times under ANYTHING! Well, I was already getting wet spots on my arm pits by the time I reached the Sky Train. One bus transfer later and the wet marks were even bigger... "OH Crap that was my stop" I think to myself, as the bus drove past my destination of west 3rd avenue, missed by me, due to the frantic fanning of my underarms in a desperate move to stop the growing dark wet spots. The wetness was advancing much like those old movie newsreel animations showing how the Third Reich swept across Europe in 1939.

"No Problem" I think "I'll just get off at the next stop..". Well, that didn't happen until 12 blocks later as this was an 'Express bus' with limited stops! I had only 20 minutes until my interview started, but I lucked out as the next bus comes along right away and I'm making my way back to west 3rd. The correct Bus stop is reached, and I have 5 minutes to make it to 1-800-got-junk. So I have to run... If you thought the sweating was bad before, you have no idea how a slight jog in the heat will aggravate the situation.

I make it to the Interview with a minute to spare, but now the pit stains are so big that simply keeping my arms down won't hide them. The pools of perspiration are now the size of pie plates underneath each arm and I don't even want to know if I have dreaded back sweat!

First thing I notice about the 1-800-got-junk office is that it's all filled with early to mid 20-somethings all wearing T-shirts with Iron-on transfers from the 80's that were cool when I was 12, but now have a certain cheese factor so they are 'cool' again. Then, after after finding out there is no receptionist to report to (I'm told that's "Too Corporate"), I mange to make myself known and lean up against a wall painted with inspirational messages. I look down and see the sweat marks have almost reached my shirt breast pockets... I think that' a personal best for sweating.

Then out of nowhere a giant Dog comes up, puts his paws on my thighs and starts sniffing at my crotch! It's like a scene out of a bad Chick Flick starring Hugh Grant. "Oh he's just the CEO's Dog" a young 20 something woman with 4 piercing in her face says...."Hi! Come with me and we'll get the Interview going". The Interview had me and 2 others being interviewed at once by two people who were younger than me. I've been in situations lately where I've been reminded I'm getting older, like hearing kids talk about 'Old Music" like The Beastie Boys or Huey Lewis like it was a Lawrence Welk repeat on PBS. But I've never been interviewed for employment by two people younger than me.

A quick glance around this office saw about 60 High School type cubicles with these 'Cheesy/cool' T-Shirt wearing people sitting at their phones surrounded by inspirational messages about aiming higher (higher sales I would assume) and sales quota numbers. I looked around for Alec Baldwin screaming at people to close their sales a la "Glen Garry Glen Ross" but he was nowhere to be seen...

The Interview started with the girls apologising that they didn't bring the Blue Wigs for us to wear. Excuse me....Blue Wigs? Apparently, they actually make the candidates wear blue wigs during the interview to show they are willing to be part of the 1-800-junk family! This is not a joke or an exaggeration for the sake of a good story... They really do this. So no wigs to go along with my dinner plate sized pit stains, what a pity...

The next 90 minutes of this group interview are a hazy memory of buzzwords like "Think outside the Box", "Sales Coach" instead of the proper term Sales manager (I know I lost points when I had to ask what the hell a 'Sales Coach' was), the word Synergy was used far too often, along with the phrase 'team member' instead of employee.

Since it was a 'Group Interview' to hire new 'Team Members'.... I kind of zoned out during the other applicants answers (We all said the same thing anyhow) and noticed they had a pool table and a foosball table for employees. I also noticed they weren't being used. I've always heard about these companies that offer all these extras for employees but frown upon their use as it means you have too much free time and need to be working more

Anyhow despite my Lawrence of Arabia type sweating, and being slightly ill at ease with the 'Hipness' of the company I really felt I did well with my answers and did okay with the interview overall. It turns out however that I didn't do okay. My uneasiness at the hard sales approach and hipster dofus image this company tried hard to present must have come through as I got the call today telling me that they just weren't interested.

I didn't ask why they didn't want me, as images of how I must have looked with Lake's Superior and Huron under my arms, and my lack of disappointment when the blue wigs weren't brought out basically told me it probably was for the best. But the fact is, not getting a second interview REALLY bothers me personally. I could have done what they wanted, at least for a while. I know it's not a personal attack on me that I didn't get the job, but part of me feels that way. And also part of me is actually thinking I was just too old. I'm only 34 and I was too old. That thought is kind of scary... I've never been too old for anything!

Again, It's all probably for the best I'm not there, but it still sucks being turned down for something you think you could have done. It also puts doubts in your mind if anyone will want me to work for them doing anything. But that's bullshit thinking, we all know it. I'll get something soon, and I won't have to wear a Blue Wig or fight off the CEO's dog to do it

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

David Letterman's Mr. Curious , circa 1985

When Letterman was King!!!