Well, this is embarrassing. It seems that the American political system is precisely as dysfunctional as I’ve been afraid it was. Remind me to never to use the “world’s oldest operating democratic republic” line again, will you?
Today’s plan of attack:

1. Drive to work and get handed my official furlough notice. (Yes, for reasons that bugger the imagination, sending that to us in an email and saving everyone an unnecessary trip to and from the office is something that’s apparently too hard to do.)

2. Apply for unemployment benefits from the State of Maryland.

3. Update my resume on Monster and begin applying for jobs.

4. Spend some time writing something that I may be able to sell for profit and bidding on freelance writing jobs.

5. Call Representative Andy Harris, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Barbara Mikulski and leave a voice message expressing my absolute disgust with our elected “leaders.” (Since most congressional staffers are also non-essential, the chance of anyone ever getting that message are somewhere between slim and none.)

6. Write a blog post that hides the fact that I am stark raving furious about the disfunction of our political masters under a thin veneer of snark and sarcasm.

So that’s what I’ll be doing instead of the job that Uncle Sam has spent a great deal of time and money training me to do and which I have demonstrated award-winning skill in carrying out. I thought I had a career, but apparently it’s only a job. I’ll adjust my expectations and level of dedication accordingly.


That’s the time I’m going to officially commemorate as the moment of my redemption. The exact time when my voice from the wilderness was heard. Precisely when the shear volume of resumes I’ve loaded into the system broke through the morass (385 if you’re counting). That’s assuming, of course that I pass through the last widget in the process. I’m now in a period of HR purgatory between receiving the official tentative offer of employment and the official final offer of employment. This is the land of voluminous paperwork, of validating security clearances, pay-setting, benefit determinations, and yet more waiting. It’s the last moment for things to go horribly wrong. You didn’t think this was going to be a post about unbridled joy and optimism, did you?

I’ve waited for this moment for the better part of a year. Poured untold hours into crafting the perfect resume. Cursed fate for dragging this process down into the interminable frozen springtime. And now that it’s arrived, I can barely breath it for fear of it breaking apart at this late hour. This is a moment of hope beyond hope… and it is so close to reality and yet still painfully just beyond reach.

Testing… Testing…

Given the volume of jobs I’ve applied for in the last eight months, I was under the impression that I’d come across very little that would surprise me. That was until the fine people at TSA invited me to schedule an appointment this weekend at a third party computer center to come in and take their skills assessment. Seriously, TSA? You want me to take a two-hour test just to get through to the part where an actual person reads my resume? Yeah, as interesting as that sounds, I think I’ll be taking my chances that one of my other 360 resumes out there is going to find its way onto the right desk. I wouldn’t object to the process if I were, you know, applying for an entry level job somewhere in a field office, but since I’m angling for a senior analyst slot at your headquarters, I would think that you’d be able to sus out the key information you need from the dozen or so pages of resume, undergrad and graduate transcripts, and personnel records that I sent you. So, yeah, TSA… I appreciate you getting back to me, but I don’t think your agency is the right fit for my skill sets. Thanks now.

Day 75…

We are now at day 75 of the thirty-day hiring freeze. Surely we’ve attritted off some of those overhires by now, right? Seriously, we even have a budget for the rest of the fiscal year now. So, come on already Overlord of Personnel. Let’s get the hiring process thawed out.

I haven’t racked and stacked my list lately, but the total number of resumes released into the wild stands at 335. I’d estimate that about a third of those are still in the “open” category. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 are sitting on the desk of a real human being. I’ve had two interviews for positions that are “frozen” and have another one coming up later this week. I didn’t particularly want to go outside of DoD, but they’re making it very hard to show the love right about now… so Treasury, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Coast Guard, FEMA, and a host of others are being fed into the mix as of about two weeks ago.

My search grid now extends from Philadelphia down to Richmond and from the Shenandoah Valley east to Norfolk. Like Grant contemplating a similar piece of real estate, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”

Such is the ferocity of my desire to catch the last train out of Crazyville.

Incubation period…

As of a couple of days ago I’ve been running my Hail Mary play to get out of Memphis for seven months. I dropped my first resume in the files on August 22nd, so you can check my math and make sure I’m doing it right. Seven months is what I’ve come up with… and in that time I’ve drilled exactly 276 dry wells. I’ll drill 5 more tomorrow and five the day after that.

This great escape can be left to incubate for another seven months, but know this – You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can torture me with powerpoint until I’m tapping out briefings with bloody stumps of fingers, but you cannot break my spirit. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness. I shall be delivered.

200 and climbing…

For those playing along with the fun filled and exciting game of How Many Resumes can Jeff Send Out Before Losing His Bloody Mind, the total now stands just north of the 200 mark. This is perhaps more impressive in the fact that it was at the 199 point that I ran out of available positions to apply for with the Army. So from here on out, we’re broadening the scope to include Army and every other government agency in the MD-DC-VA-PA area. Thank God for http://www.usajobs.com. I don’t know how anyone ever did this back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and resumes were delivered on paper.

If you’re curious about what lucky #200 was, that would be a Strategic Analyst on the Joint Staff. It’s a little vague on the duties, but it’s a pretty sweet title. Nothing appeals the heart stings of a career bureaucrat like a title bump… well, a title bump and a kickin’ retirement system. In the also-ran category for the #200 place of honor was Senior Advisor to the Treasurer of the United States. If you think the Joint Staff is vague, try figuring out what a “Senior Advisor” is supposed to spend their day doing. I read the job announcement twice and still didn’t really figure it out… but apparently the Treasurer needs two of them.

Winning the creepiest job announcement of the day is Army Intelligence, with a position that called for, among other things, background checks, urinalysis, polygraphs, credit checks, and psych evaluations. Those things aren’t really a problem, but when I came across a “condition of employment” that read: 7.) Must be willing to work unusual extended hours and forego conveniences normally afforded to civilian employees in CONUS/OCONUS, I decided that foregoing normal conveniences probably wasn’t something I was going to be interested in. That ones’s a rare pass.

Interview with a logistician… reloaded

I’m getting my research and cheat sheets together for another interview. Like the last one, names and locations aren’t a subject for discussion at this early stage of the game. Suffice to say the position in question it’s somewhere in a north-easterly direction from Memphis. With the ridiculously bad luck I’ve had locking down new and interesting employment opportunities in the last six months, let’s just say that I’m not holding out great expectations for this coming together. Still, I’ll be glad of another opportunity to make my pitch.

As of this morning, the record stands at 187 resumes sent out, 107 not selected, 73 open pending review, 7 made the cut and are in the hands of a hiring official, and 2 interviews have been scheduled. Still waiting for that law of large numbers to kick in.