Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rejection's Like That

There’s but one thing in all the world that links every last one of us. Even people as different as you, me, and the unemployed guy who used to be Vice President in Charge of Morale at NBC.

All of us hate rejection! And that applies every bit as much to the inestimable Rejecter as it does to the lowly Rejectee.

Frankly I don’t know how professional Human Resources recruiters handle the rejection --- that is, the dishing out of it. A regular part of their regular grind is telling job-longing folk a longed-for job will not become a regular part of their regular grind. Think how bad you’re feeling right now for rejecting me just for that ridiculous and annoying last sentence! 

As a a former HR professional who has handled recruitment matters, I have always anguished over how to tell unsuspecting applicants the vote on their employable worth has been multiple thumbs down. As someone who is not exactly a bastion of personal security myself, I’ll put myself through sheer living hell to avoid putting anyone else through modestly living heck!

“So what did you do with the guy you interviewed last week you said was all wrong for the job,” asked my colleague Bruce. “Get back to him?”

Of course I did! I haven’t pulled the old “no call back” trick since I broke up with my barber in 1982 after he neatly trimmed off half my ear, but at least then evened the other with it.

Yes, I might have just sent the standard letter/e-mail:

While we were very impressed with your qualifications, we are seeking someone whose specific experience more closely comports with the requirements of the position.”

But every job seeker on the planet knows that this letter, as translated from the original Sanskrit, means “take a hike, loser --- if possible, on an unmarked boulder-strewn trail abutting a deep and gaping natural chasm!"

"We're keeping your resume on file for future opportunities."

the letter often reassuringly continues.  Actually "we're keeping your resume on file for laughs" is how the original Sanskrit actually translates.

So, I made the personal phone call. Nervously, tentatively, I made the call.

 “George, this is Perry Block! How are you?”

“Oh, Hi, Mr. Block!” It was unmistakable – that sound of positive anticipation in his voice. Eliciting that sound of very negative anticipation in mine.

“George, I called to say that ... umm ...we are very impressed with your qualifications ... but, uh, we are seeking someone, uhhh .....”

No, I didn’t exactly get the message across to George. I’ll have to do that tonight at dinner just after the movie.  Probably Avatar.

God, I hate rejection!


Friday, February 5, 2010

A Jew's Christmas 2009

Oy to the World

I must say I’m overwhelmed.

Since the landmark publishing of my blog several weeks ago, I’ve received an overwhelming response from my readership (sorry, I meant my “reader-skiff”). Frankly, that your response would have been anything beyond the swift and calculated formation of a lynching party was something for which I never dared hope.

But amazingly you have showered me with accolades, making it very difficult to shampoo, but thrilling to me nonetheless! Congratulations have poured in from people ‘round the globe who in many cases I’ve never met, are no longer living, or never even existed. All of them share this in common: they found Perry Block - Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute to inhabit the high cultural and literary plain of The Biggest Loser, the National Enquirer Bill Clinton has an Alien Advisor issue, and any program featuring the talented and irrepressible television host par excellence Tom Bergeron!

What can I say?

I can say: Thank you, my dear friends! My heart is overflowing!!! In the future, I’ve just got to remember to turn my heart off whenever I leave the house.

Many of you have asked if I could make my sensitive warm-hearted cross-cultural paean to the holiday season, A Jew’s Christmas 2009, available for current reading and fish wrapping. My initial thought had been to return it to the Disney Vault until subsequent years’ writings provided me with enough literary bulk to bulk up a best-selling book. Which actually might have been a bit easier to do than say!

But you know the Disney people --- they wanted to sock me with a monthly charge as uber-enormous as Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid. And getting my own vault was unthinkable since I would never be able to remember the combination.

So here it is, years ahead of its intended publication --- A Jew’s Christmas 2009! Please note that some of the tweets have been expanded in light of my official blog ruling not to limit individual tweets to only 140 characters. So to you Twitter purists who would actually count the spaces and turn me in --- Be gone, you have no power here!

Now I invite you to sit back, relax, light a fire in the fire place or if you don’t have a fireplace burn down the least favorite room in your house, and enjoy A Jew’s Christmas 2009!

A Jew’s Christmas 2009

1. Last night visions of sugar plums danced in my head. If they don’t keep it down tonight, I’m calling the police!

2. Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Orchestra Seats - $150; Mezzanine - $45. Adult language, positively no children under 18!

3. ADA* File: Name: Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. Disability: Has a very shiny nose. Reasonable Accommodation: If you ever see it, don’t even say it glows!

4. I’m dreaming of a White Christmas ... and after that, I’m going to do New Year’s in a turquoise and Hanukkah in kind of a light mauve.

5. To get good people who will work on Christmas, Santa Claus has copied the practice of the  Daily Show and only hires Jewish elves.

6. Clarence: “You’re not going to like it, George! She’s about to close up the library!
 George: “Great! I never could get her lazy butt to work when I was alive!”

7. “You'll be visited by three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be! By the way, he’s a real shnorrer, so make sure and boot him out after three days!"

8. If Jack Frost were nipping at my nose, I’d belt him one!

9. He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you're awake. And if when you're sleeping, he goes "awwww!!!" then you're In Like Flynn, toy-wise, dude!

10. Who is Pa Rumpumpumpum? The guy in the hardware store who makes the keys? The bench coach for the LA Dodgers? One half of the happiest mixed marriage in show business? 

11. “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.” Great story, huh, Santa Claus visiting a rodent infested dump!

12. "Brandon,” I said (a few years back), as he was laying out milk & cookies for Santa, “I think I should tell you...….that Santa…umm…is….is...…lactose intolerant!”

 13. “And he filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.” Gee, I never knew Joaquin Phoenix was with Santa!

14. Christmas for the Jews: In the meadow we can build a snowman and pretend that he is Rabbi Brownstein!

15. “You see, George, you really had a wonderful life. Except before you go back, make sure and have sex with Violet Bick!  And please, tell me how she was!"

16."What do you mean you're too old for details, George?"

17. And Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good riddance!

18. HR Journal: Performance Evaluation, 2009: S. Claus --- Below Expectations. Only dashed away Donder and Blitzen. Must learn to dash away all!

19. No, Virginia …… there is no fucking Santa Claus. Now knock it off!

20. Merry Christmas, and for the Jews, Happy Hunan Beef, Everyone!!!

Extra Bonus Feature

A Jew’s Hanukkah 2009
1. Due to economy related cutbacks, this year Hanukkah will last only two nights and part of one morning.

2. Frankly, the Hanukkah Eight (8) Day Oil Miracle isn’t all that impressive compared to me making it to work with the gauge on empty and me too lazy to stop for gas.

3. Another Hanukkah ends --- Pack away the menorah, renegotiate the fire insurance, and pray that maybe next year someone writes a more kickass Hanukkah song than  I have a Little Dreidel. **


*The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects against discrimination due to physical or mental disabilities. Reasonable Accommodation refers generally to those steps an employer must take to assist a qualified person with a disability in performing his or her job. You find that boring? How'd you like to spend your whole career messing with stuff like this?

** Actually someone has. In honor of the late Mary Travers, I note that Light One Candle by Peter, Paul, & Mary is about Hanukkah. I admit, however, I’ve never heard it sung in shul.