The Forest, The Trees, and Whatnot

What’s the point of a resume, anyway? I mean, if you want the job, why don’t you just send a letter and ask nicely if you can have it, pretty please with sugar on top?

That’d be nice – sure would eliminate a lot of time spent polishing (and padding) a resume. But of course, employers would like to hire someone who can actually do the job, so they ask for a resume. Now, this doesn’t always equal hiring success; even with resumes to guide them, most employers routinely screw up and hire the wrong person now and then – someone who not only isn’t ideal for the job, but someone who absolutely cannot perform the job duties whatsoever. If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not. This happens, and it happens often. Here’s an example of it happening to me. Funny story – funny now, anyway.

I mentioned earlier how, during my time at Cox Interactive, I got an early promotion that led to the exodus of several of my colleagues. I wasn’t given the budget to replace them all, but I did get to replace my calendar editor.

This is the person who ensures that all of the sports, music, and other entertainment events going on around town were dutifully entered into our website’s calendar so that our audience would find something fun to do if they came looking. And every time they found something fun to do, they’d remember they found it at our site, and – we hoped – become loyal, repeat visitors to our site. Those are important in the website-building world.

A calendar editor doesn’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar; in fact, it’s better if she’s not. A Rhodes Scholar would get really bored really fast with the tedium that is calendar maintenance. In fact, because it’s just repetitive maintenance, perhaps the job should’ve been called “calendar janitor”; using the word “editor” conjured up visions of midnight dealines, last-minute rewrites and gleefully cranking out the scoop of the day, none of which would ever, ever happen to the calendar editor. The job basically consists of entering hundreds of lines into a form, day after day after day. Lather, rinse, repeat. If ever there were a cog in the machinery of Internet media, it is the calendar editor.

And not only did the job require no special knowledge, it also happened to pay extremely well — $35,000. That’s not CEO money, but for data entry in a cushy office where you can bring your headphones and drink free Starbucks all day, it’s an incredible gig. Knowing that, it should be very easy to find a good calendar editor, right? Right.

Except when it’s not.

I had several applicants, all of whom seemed to have a strong pulse and at least 8 working fingers, which is just about all you need in the way of physical prowess to be a calendar editors. But one applicant stood out. Not only could she breathe and chew gum and the same time, but she was actually a former calendar editor for our chief rival website! And at that time, the rival was eating our lunch, so getting their old calendar editor was a giant coup. Not only could she do the job in her sleep, but she’d bring us tips and tricks from the competition that we’d never seen before! We’d have a pipeline to every event in every corner of the Phoenix metro area, from the U2 concerts in the arenas to the back-alley cockfights on the south side. Life was good. Problem solved.

To this day, I don’t know what the hell happened with that lady. All I do know is that she showed up….

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