Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Big Doings For The Head Duck - Me

Well, I really DID intend to start posting more often but, as sometimes happens, circumstances conspired against me. In the spring rumors started to fly that the YMCA facility where I was holding down what passed as my "day job" was being sold. Naturally, this caused no end of consternation as many of us began scrambling to find new employment, mostly to no avail as you might imagine.

Then it happened. On July 15 I arrived at work to find a copy of a letter that was scheduled to get mailed to the members the following day. That letter informed them (and by extension the staff) that the facility had been sold and would close on July 29. Note that no one came to inform us personally, no one made a phone call and the letter wasn't addressed directly to the staff. Nice, huh?

I'll spare you all the gory details of the platitudes the YMCA handed out about finding spots for everyone elsewhere because it didn't happen. I was offered a tentative position for 8 hours a week beginning in September. Another guy was offered the same thing, but the bottom line is a whole lot of people lost their jobs. Crummy jobs with crummy pay and no benefits, but jobs that put food on the table.

Thanks for your indentured servitude, but don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

But, as the old saying goes, when life hands you lemons you make lemonade, right? Well . . . sometimes lemonade gets made for you too. I wasn't having much luck with the lemonade (must have not put enough sugar in it), but on July 25 I happened upon an ad on Craigslist that sounded appealing, and that's quite a feat because so much of what's on that site in the jobs section is pretty specious.

So I quickly polished up the ol' resume and fired it off in response the very next day, frankly not expecting much. I've learned over the past few years not to expect much from job hunting because I haven't seemed, for the most part, to be able to generate an interview. Tough to get hired without one.

So what happened? On July 29, only three days after submitting my resume, I awoke to an email from an in-house recruiter announcing that I'd been selected for a phone interview on Monday. That's right, six days after I sent in my resume. Yeehaw!

On Monday I had the interview with a very nice lady named Courtney. It seemed to be going well, I was pleased with myself and, at the end, she told me that I'd passed her screen and that she'd selected me for a second phone interview on Tuesday. I was thinking this was all moving REALLY fast, something I wasn't accustomed to, but wasn't about to look any gift horses in the mouth . . . if I may coin a phrase.

Tuesday, two nice folks named Tusiata (great name, huh?) and Shane tag-teamed me. I've since learned that Tusiata is a tough interview but I must have charmed her into silence because she deferred to Shane for much of the interview. At least that's how I remember it and I guarantee you I'm stickin' to that story. We shared some chuckles, had a nice conversation and once again, I thought things were going well. And they were, because they picked me for a face-to-face interview, scheduled for that Friday, August 5 in Portland.

Things are really moving now, right? Well . . . for a while.

So Friday, I presented my charming self at the Hotel Vintage Plaza for a 30-minute interview. I'm pretty sure the interviewer's name was Mike but I can't be sure so I'll apologize to him now. Once again, we had a nice conversation and the interview seemed to go well, so I left with a great sense of anticipation that maybe I'd finally managed to find a real job.

I'd been told that they would be in touch with me shortly, probably the following Tuesday. Whoa! That's exactly two weeks after I'd submitted my resume. Tuesday arrived and lo! They came through as promised - a novel concept in this day and age I assure you. I got an email asking me to fill out some forms on the employer's website and consent to a background check which was to take 48-72 hours - at least according to the background check vendor's website.

Well, that was when the process ground to a complete halt. After asking me to verify my own employment at the YMCA by sending them copies of my pay stubs and W-2 (they're supposed to be good at this, why are they asking me?) on Thursday I didn't hear a peep. Not Friday and not Monday, nor Tuesday or Wednesday. I went from thinking I was in the middle of executing a slam dunk with last-minute formalities to wondering if they'd somehow found out about the time I lifted a pencil from the corner store when I was 10 and the time I offered candy to a little girl. Suddenly I went from feeling like Philip Rivers throwing a pass to Vincent Jackson against a team of midgets to Jay Cutler looking up from his back at Ndomukong Suh.

Then, the call. I was out at Pumpkin Ridge doing my annual caddie thing in the pro-am for the Safeway Classic LPGA tournament when my cell phone rang a few minutes before my round was to start. It was the lovely and charming Courtney (who I'd also met in person on the face-to-face interview day) who sounded so cheerful and happy I just knew she couldn't possibly ruin my day. Could she? No, she couldn't because she made my day and my whole year. She offered me the job!

Now that I've made a short story long, let me make the rest of it short. As of last Friday, when I went back to the same room at the Vintage Plaza where I'd interviewed to fill out paperwork, I'm an official employee of Apple, Inc. That's right, Apple. The people who brought you the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

I'll be what they call an "In Home Mac Expert". They're shipping me an iMac today and on Tuesday, bright and early, I (along with about 50 others in three cities) begin four weeks of training before they turn us loose on an unsuspecting populace. I'll be one of the folks you talk to when you go to the Apple online store and can't quite figure out what to buy and call 1-800 MY APPLE.

So there you have it. Full time, more than twice the money plus overtime almost on demand during certain parts of the year, a bonus schedule and full, big-time company benefits. I'm ecstatic and maybe now I can get back to writing about food and wine and entertaining you with my clever wit. In fact, I have some amazing wines made from zinfandel, petite sirah and primitivo that are made by Angel Vine's Ed Fus to talk about, so I'd best get to it.