Finding a new job can be a daunting challenge. But if you follow my simple 21-step plan, you'll soon be battling cranky alarm clocks, rush-hour traffic, and the "living for the weekend" daily grind.
1. Lose job.
2. Panic, freak out, and turn into a pulsating blob of hysteria. CAUTION: It's best to do this at home -- you'll be wanting that reference.
3. Torture everyone you've ever met with your tale of woe. Bitch about your former boss, your boss' boss, your lousy luck, the manipulative coworker who stole your job, the economy, and, of course, the world as we know it. Seriously consider buying a voodoo doll.
4. Perfect the art of sleeping late, parading about in slatternly garb, and doing absolutely nothing. Tell your spouse you spent the entire week working on your resume. When spouse says "Let me have a look," say you're still fine-tuning it.
5. Start working on resume.
6. Show spouse resume. Become defensive when asked "Where's the rest of it?"
7. Report to Unemployment. Wait in line for hours. Fill out confusing paperwork. Go home to look for missing data.
8. Return to Unemployment. Wait in line, fill out forms, be interrogated by someone half your age and one-eighth as educated. Someone who actually has a job.
9. Discover the pitiful sum you'll be getting for the next 26 weeks. That is, if you report in regularly, fill out weekly forms, and prove to the satisfaction of some bored civil servant that you've been a diligent, albeit unsuccessful, little job hunter.
10. Revise your resume. Study the help-wanted ads. Conclude you need to be more creative.
11. Compose catchy letters filled with all the latest lingo. Stuff them into envelopes with your new, "improved" resume. Receive nothing in the mail but bills.
12. Buy a new answering machine, lest you miss a call from an employer. Play back messages with great anticipation:
Three hang-ups and two salesman.
Your mother wondering if you found a job yet.
A former coworker saying your boss just got the ax.
Smile for the first time in weeks.
13. Put on your finest suit and show up at employment agencies. Try to charm them into dispensing with their "no interview without appointment" rule. Find out receptionists now double as bouncers.
14. Become depressed. Over-sleep--eat--drink--spend. Avert your eyes at the help wanted ads. Become overwhelmed with guilt and wonder what adult companionship would feel like. In a spurt of activity, answer several ads.
15. Receive call for interview. Panic. Shop for new suit. Ask spouse to pose as interviewer. Ask parents to pose as interviewer. Practice plausible, sympathetic, yet not strictly truthful explanation of why you're out of work.
16. Suffer through interview. Consider objecting to improper questions. Reconsider. Speak enthusiastically about your old job. Speak earnestly about your prospective job. Barely manage not to gag. Acquit self reasonably well, except for one accidental use of curse word. Decide to clean up your vocabulary...at least until you're hired.
17. Tell spouse, parents, and friends about interview. Disregard encouraging words. Second-guess yourself. Wonder if interviewer will check references. Wonder if references will make things worse. Wonder if you should threaten to sue for slander. Send effusive thank you note to interviewer. Become nauseated by your hypocrisy. Mail letter anyway.
18. Wait to hear from prospective employer. Leave several phone messages. Finally reach interviewer one evening after phone screener has gone home. Find out the job's been filled. You're under-qualified. Or over-qualified. Or inappropriately qualified.
19. Repeat Steps 14 through 18 except for vocabulary lapse. Repeat them again. Keep repeating them until...
20. Receive job offer. Become so excited you almost forget to ask what it pays.
21. Set alarm clock for the crack of dawn and fall asleep an hour before it sounds. Moan, struggle into consciousness, crawl into your best suit, and report to work an hour early.
Quit griping and get used to it. You should have enjoyed unemployment while it lasted.