Ed. note: “The Miss Jobless Chronicles” is a weekly series written by Caitlin O’Toole. Read the rest in the series here.
So after my somewhat no duh realization that all the jobs are where the money is, I am determined to get a job at Pest Zappers as an exterminator. Bed bugs and stink bugs are very New York City 2010 and I want a piece of the action. I spoke with Lloyd at Pest Zappers’ flagship location last week, and he advised me to call back and speak with Carl, the manager. So I do. What I didn’t count on is that, according to Lloyd, Spanish is Carl’s first language. So I summon up my high school lessons in the language and throw in some Spanish words and broken Spanish phrases to impress him.
“Hola, Carl!” I go, somewhat proudly. “Yo soy interesando en una position en su compania! Porque no me gustan las chinches, cucarachas, y ratones!”
“Caitlin, I do speak English, you know! But I am glad you don’t like bugs and rats, that is why Pest Zappers is here!”
“Oh, my goodness, estoy muy embarazada!”
“Oh! Congratulations! That’s exciting!”
Congratulations? On being embarrassed? I figure what I said must have been lost in translation. I move on.
“So I really want to work with Pest Zappers. How do I go about applying?”
“Well, why don’t you come in and speak with me? What’s your Tuesday look like?”
“Looks good to me. Do I need to bring anything with me?”
“Your resume, and three references.”
Cool. I’m in the door, I think — references? A resume? Who in my life can refer me for an exterminator position? And how do I tailor my resume for such a position? Hmmm. I sleep on it.
Next day, I get a call from Carl.
“Caitlin,” he goes, “I’m a little concerned about your working here while being pregnant. All those chemicals could really be detrimental to your unborn child. Do you want to reconsider? If not, I can just have you sign some kind of waiver or something — ”
“Pregnant? But –”
“How far along are you?”
“Um, well –”
“You don’t have to be shy about it, I’m not going to deny you a position at Pest Zappers just because you’re pregnant. I just want you to be aware of all the risks that are involved.”
That’s IT! I quickly assess the situation. I have NO idea why this man thinks I’m expecting, but that’s a SURE way to get a job — I’ll pretend to be pregnant! He can’t NOT hire me, because he’ll be afraid of a lawsuit. I’m BRILLIANT! AND I’M PREGNANT! Well don’t just sit there, congratulate me!
“Thank you for your concern,” I go, “but I know that the chemicals Pest Zappers uses are as safe as any, and I’m not worried about it. Plus, I really need the work. I have to save for my little one’s future, you know!”
Oh god. I’m insane.
“Great,” he says. “Well, I’ll see you Tuesday! Adios!”
I quickly consult the Spanish dictionary and realize that I had confused the words EMBARRASSED (avergonzado) and PREGNANT (embarazada). Now I am TRULY avergonzado. And I remember why I got such bad grades in Spanish class, and why Señora Drysdale kicked me out of class so often. I had my heart set on making the class laugh, and very little interest in Spanish vocabulary.
I talk to my best friend Laura, and she advises me to just go with it, at least until it comes time for me to start showing.
Now — to figure out the resume. I need to put all my retail jobs on it — make it look like I got my hands dirty at some of them. The Virgin Mega Store: Stock girl; the Gap: Cashier; The Riviera Cafe, Barback; The Washington Post; Paper Carrier. I don’t bother putting “Spanish” as one of my skills, as I am sure it’s clear to him by now that my Spanish sucks.
I can’t believe I am resorting to such desperate measures to get a job. It’s kind of pathetic.
I print out my new resume and my references (my boss from Fox News is one of them; she knows me well enough to fudge everything). And I lay out my outfit for the Tuesday, determined to be the hottest, most pregnant Pest Zapper there ever was.
Caitlin O’Toole is a New York City-based writer and editor. A native of Washington, D.C., she began her illustrious journalism career as a Washington Post paper girl. She has since written and edited for Sesame Workshop Digital, Star Magazine, The National Enquirer, Glamour, People.com, Parade.com and Washington’s City Paper. Her work has also been featured on Fox News, ABC, MTV and VH1. She lives in Chelsea with her two cats, Lucy and Ethel. She can be reached for work at her LinkedIn page and Tweets at @MsOToole.