I Was Experimented Upon!

I am still in shock over being so summarily rejected yesterday for this job.

But what shocks me is not that I didn’t get the job, but the process that I went through so that the Major University could decide not to hire me, or anyone, to do the job. Because the design of the job was inherently flawed.

So rather than being a candidate for a job, I was actually a lab rat. (Gross and/or #fail)

Instead of designing a job and then hiring someone to do it, it seems that their process was something more like this:

Step 1. Have a bunch of drama over how to offer career services to art students, including problems with personnel and problems with the university as a whole.

Step 2. Identify an area of fundamental disagreement over the way that career services will be offered to student.

Step 3. Push ahead to design a job that assumes that one of these positions is correct, despite having no buy-in from the other side.

Step 4. Post the job and recruit candidates.

Step 5. Interview candidates. Pass one (me) or more candidates along to the second round, asking for references (this is getting serious).

Step 6. Tell interview candidate (me) that she will encounter hostility during the interview process because of aforementioned resistance to the job design 20 minutes before candidate (me) will meet with said resistors.

Step 7. Candidate meets with resistors (some of whom are very polite and cool, and some of whom are rude to the point of absurdity).

Step 8. Candidate (me) almost cries during break between 3rd and 4th meeting on the first day of interviews, because candidate (me) has trouble not taking this stuff personally.

Step 9. Candidate (me) meets with administration, who have no long-term vision for the position other than it existing.

Step 10. Candidate (me) is rejected via form email. Position will be redesigned and remains unfilled.

I bought a super cute pair of shoes at DSW yesterday, to remind myself that this is NOT MY FAULT.

I was experimented upon by these folks. This is probably a milder and less dramatic version of what it feels like to be left at the altar. It’s not me they are rejecting  it’s the premise that one staff person could provide career development services to students in four very different professional art disciplines.

I also need to remember that I cannot change the minds of people who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t listen.

But as the person who was the guinea pig for this little experiment, I am furious. Not only at the way I was treated (inappropriate behavior in my interview meetings included not being able to make sustained eye contact, getting up and leaving the room during the meeting with no explanation, leaving the meeting early because of other commitments, not asking any questions about me as a candidate, but rather expecting me to defend the idea of the position I was interviewing for, and snorting and laughing in disagreement with a point I made about professional development for artists being more than just professional networking), which was abominable. I am furious on behalf of these students, who are paying upwards of $150,000 for these degrees, and who are being taught that success comes to those who patiently wait on the sidelines to be discovered.

Boo to that.

Moral of this story: some people are terrible. This is not my fault. Academia is a mess, the arts are a mess, combining the two increases the mess exponentially. I don’t want that mess every day.

What I want is a job that challenges me, where I can work hard and hopefully, eventually, succeed, without being yelled at, abused, manipulated for the purposes of other people’s power games, self-esteem and drama, or threatened.

It seemed that this is too much to ask for today.

Oh my God, but I am angry. I honestly never thought it could be this bad. And yet, here we are. Eight and a half months of unemployment, partial employment, freelancing and temping. Will this nightmare ever end? Not until the people doing the hiring get their act together for 5 minutes to decide what they really want.


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