Times They Have a-Changed

That Bob is one smart dude.
That Bob is one smart dude.

There was a job posting yesterday. For an Administrative Assistant/Receptionist position.  Here’s the job description, in a nutshell:

  • Greet guests
  • Answer the phone
  • Sort and distribute the mail
  • Order supplies
  • Receive and distribute faxes
  • Stock the printers with paper
  • Maintain calendar and contacts
  • Print crap
  • Order lunch
  • Keep the reception area “tidy”
  • Type some letters

Would you like to know what the prerequisite was?  A College Degree.  To order lunch and keep the printer full of paper.  Really?  Because that right there is some important shit.  And apparently, the only way to learn that important shit is to spend thousands of dollars on a 4-year degree.  By the way, I had no idea that there was a class called Receiving Faxes 101.  Who knew?

The way I see it, Experience seems a bit more important.  Let’s see…keeping things tidy, maintaining a calendar, ordering lunch, answering the phone and opening mail is something I’ve been doing every single day since the day I moved out of mommy and daddy’s house 21 years ago.

The rest?  I have a resume with about 15 years of hard experience.  I worked as an Executive Assistant for almost half of those years.  And I acquired these jobs without a College Degree.  Then I quit to raise a child.  I have since come to find that 98% of the postings I see, require something much higher than a high school diploma.

A fellow dance mom that I know came into my Retail Job last week.  She was surprised to see me working there.  It turns out, she is in the same boat.  She is now working in a retail environment.  Like me, she has an administrative background and used to work in an office.  She quit her job to become a mom.  This is what she said, “I am being punished for raising my children.”

I’m not sure we are being punished so much as the rules have just changed.  A lot.  But I do have to say it gets my goat a little.  I’m sorry, but it takes experience to book extensive international travel for your boss without major-league screwing up.  It takes experience to balance several schedules and to talk to some pretty major heavyweights.  It takes experience to be one step ahead of, well, everything, all the time.

If I ever get into the door for a job interview, I may bring along this attitude.  Think it will get me somewhere?  Sure, as long as I bring along a sandwich.

Go To School

Except I can spell. I really can.

I have been looking for a position that utilizes my skills as an administrative assistant for a long time.  The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be anything available.  I was starting to feel a little self-conscious.  Is it my age?  My lack of work experience these past few years as I was home raising my child?  Or the fact that most admin positions I applied for required at least an Associates Degree?

My parents always said my nonchalant attitude about school would bite me in the ass.  I can still hear their voices — “You really should try to do better in school, you’ll be sorry one day.”  “You are wrong and I don’t care” was my generic response.  I was having way too much fun cutting class, getting into trouble and well, having fun.  Who needs an education?  It turns out I needed an education.

I feel like I am limited to what I can do because of my lack of education.  (Unlike Paul simon, my lack of education is hurting me some.  Too bad I can’t sing or take good pictures.)  Hence, I have spent the last 15 years shoving the education thing down the kids throat.  I made a game of it.  Up until her first day of pre-school I made her believe it was The Most Fun Ever.  Going to school to learn was going to be better than playing a game of Cherry-O’s.  Me, the girl who bragged if she got anything higher than a “D” on a test, was telling her 4 year old that school is better than a ride at Disney World.

And she actually believed me.  She takes school pretty seriously.  As for me, I know it’s not too late.  My bestie — mid-forty something — just graduated from Nursing School.  I am in awe of her.  She is my hero.  But I shall live vicariously through her.  Because even though I may preach it, I do not want to practice it.  For me, I have missed the boat.  For me, school is not a ride at Disney World.

So, I found a job.  It is not an admin job.  I’ve kinda given up on that for now.  I’m doing something I haven’t done in close to 30 years.  And it’s called Retail.  Stay tuned and I’ll tell you more about it.  Just so you know, that’s why I haven’t been blogging.  Because I’m exhausted.  So go to school kids.  You will need that education.  I get the feeling you will need it for everything.  And I mean everything.