Unemployment blues part 4: Applications (Filling them out)

Ok, so a few weeks back I grabbed a couple applications while wandering the University district of Ann Arbor. The weather since then has been utter crap, and since our car is still in the shop, I’d have to catch the bus. Not gonna happen when there’s three inches of snow on the ground and more falling to beat the band (plus high winds that effectively knock the temps into the low teens). I’ll be glad to do that when I get the job (I’ve done something similar back in college), but when the potential for a rejection is still looming, nah. (HEY! I don’t lecture you on your hang ups, don’t lecture me on mine.)

So last night I sat down to actually fill out the applications I had gotten. The first one was to the pita-type place. One page, front and back. Short, sweet and to the point. This wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve worked in a pita joint (there’s lots of them around here), but I’m a bit hesitant. Thanks to my complexion, people tend to mistake me for being Middle Eastern (one random non-ME person began speaking Arabic to me once…I looked at him like he had just grown two extra heads on his shoulders and informed him that I wasn’t Middle Eastern by any stretch of the imagination), and I don’t want these guys to hire me because I’m “one of them”…basically I don’t want to get the job while passing as Middle Eastern. I’ve never tried to pass as anything other than what I am – a light skin biracial woman – even when pressured to label myself as one or the other (no I will not sing the song of the tragic mulatto here because that ain’t me, I’ve known and accepted who I was since high school thank you).

The other application was for an indie theater. I love indie businesses. This one starts off by explaining what the Theater is and who runs it (a non-profit historical theater group) and then has a section where you have to sign a pledge

If hired as a ________ Theater Employee, I will:

  • Provide Great Service to our guests as outlined by my supervisor and the employee manual
  • Arrive at work on time, clean, and neatly dressed in complete uniform
  • Treat my co-workers with the same respect as I treat our guests
  • Be an Ambassador of the Theater by keeping the area clean and inviting and by supporting our business with enthusiasm inside and outside of the Theater.

I respect a business that puts their expectations of their employees right in front of you. You’re not walking into any trap doors with this one. They want you to make sure that you understand that they want to maintain a professional atmosphere. Cool. I can certainly respect that too.

After that it’s the normal “Name/Address/Age/etc” for the rest of the first page. The second page starts with yes or no questions asking about your availability. A large number of their employees are students at U of M so the questions are understandable. After that are questions about what you know about the theater, then asking you to describe a “bad service experience” and how I would have handled it differently. There are a few more questions about former co-workers that you liked, things you enjoyed about your last job and your personal interests. Then came the stunner. An application question that is truly original. And it stumped me.

If you were stranded on a desert island with only a working projector and movie screen, what film would you hope to find in the FedEx box that washed ashore? What snacks would you hope to find?


What movie would I want to watch over and over and over on a desert island? This question is harder than you think. There are a lot of movies I could stand to watch over and over. But your choice of the one says a lot about you. My first thought was “The Princess Bride”. I’ve loved that movie since I was a kid. I had a huge crush on Carey Elwes. The movie is funny, romantic, and features Andre the Giant as a relatively gentle and intelligent guy (this after I grew up watching him bash heads on WWF Wrestling every Saturday morning). But I’m not sure I should go with that or something more classic like Gaslight (which is a movie I not only grew up on but has become a part of our family’s lexicon…we often refer to people trying to “gaslight” us). Maybe one of the Beatles movies (I could see HELP being useful in more ways than one lol).

When it comes to snacks, my more pragmatic, practical side comes out. I start thinking about salt content of certain snacks, and whether they’d be useful in keeping me alive and holds off hunger and thirst fairly well until someone found me. But no one wants to hear that I’d hope to find a jumbo box of Triscuits and gallon of water because my goal is to survive as long as possible, not just enjoy myself until I ultimately succumbed to whatever the island and its climate ravaged me with. I know, that sounds so gloom and doom. But that’s me. I’m just practical like that. I like to think these sorts of things out.

So…let’s get interactive, my darling voyeurs: What movie would you want to have with you to watch over and over on a desert island? And what snacks?



  1. jimsmuse Said:

    You’re right: that’s the coolest question ever on a job application.

    I would freeze up on that question, though. If I were in that position, I’d be in knots trying to figure out how the potential employer would evaluate my answer.

    If I said “Clerks” would they assume that I have a potty mouth and customer service isn’t important to me?

    If I said “The Godfather” would they be concerned about my making Two Drink One Bucket Popcorn Combo “deals” that patrons “couldn’t refuse”?

    Do you think if I said “Theater of Blood” it would hurt my overall chances of being hired?

    Thanks for such a great question. I will now continue to entertain myself for the rest of the day by thinking up more of these…

    P.S. Snacks? We don’t need no stinking snacks! That being said, I am rather partial to Raisinets.

  2. *giggles* I dunno jimsmuse…given the large number of hipster scum-wannabes in the area, I think they’d be used to answers like Clerks thinking that the applicant was trying to be “ironic”. Though given the plot of Theater of Blood (and the fact that it’s a Vincent Price movie), you could be making a very interesting statement about theater critics and theater in general…so maybe they’d give you bonus point for being a tad bit anti-establishment (I mean this is a place that plays indie films and hosts the annual Film Festival).

    And I just thought of something…they never mentioned a sound system. Anyone who’s been subjected to the film-strips of elementary schools of olde will remember that the film and sound are separate (unlike on VHS and DVDs), so you have a projector, and a movie screen, but no sound. AH HA! The answer is obvious: SILENT FILMS!

    Now what was the name of that damn Louise Brooks movie I liked…?

  3. jimsmuse Said:

    Anyone who’s ever heard of Theater of Blood is cool in my book.

    I think you’ve actually come up with a “right” answer to the question! Best of luck in your job hunting!

    (P.S. Just be sure not to mention “Slackers” or “Dazed and Confused” on that application!)

  4. *looks around* Ok…just between me and you….I had a crush on Vincent Price when I was a kid. Those Saturday afternoon Double Features on TV are the cause of it. So it’s not completely out-there that I know of the movie lol.

  5. jimsmuse Said:

    If it makes you feel any better, I always kinda had a thing for Corporal Agarn from F-Troop…

  6. sumayyah Said:

    Hmmm… Movies.. I’d have to go with one of the following: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” “Apocalypto” “Curse of the Golden Flower” or “The House of Flying Daggers”. That is such a tough choice. Snacks? Fritos and Lemonade.

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