A guest post from the amazing Fraylie. For those who don’t know her yet, Fraylie is a brilliant young woman who is at a crossroads in life. It’s a crossroads that many of us stand at for a very long time, buying more strawberry shortcake ice cream bars from the guy with the cart, and trying to figure out what the rest of our lives are supposed to look like. Fraylie graduated college not too long ago, and then worked as a waitress, and then got into grad school, but realized that grad school is incredibly expensive and that she wasn’t sure it was the right decision anyway. Now she’s looking for a job in NYC. But really, of course, she’s a writer. As you can tell:
I don’t look so great on paper.
What I mean is I am best as a human being. With a voice that makes real, tiny vibrations and a body that slouches and sighs at all the right times, I am best sitting right next to you. I am best when I laugh and I mean it. It’s when you can see the sunburn on my nose and imagine sand and rock. Then I know we’re playing a fair game.
I am bitter after so many rejections this week. The interpersonal ones – I can almost deal with them more. The ones where a guy stands me up or leads me on, at least I know that the power of my body tried its best. I was there, speaking, hearing, listening and moving. I offered everything possible, without compressing anything of the body into words and paper.
A few weeks ago, my body attempted to salsa, swinging its hips in a loose figure eight. It leaned in closer, the voice shouted jokes over the horn section, and the man laughed. He laughed, and then he never called again. For whatever reason, he rejected me: my thoughts, my body and my presence. And I got over that rejection fairly quickly.
A job rejected me today. Or rather, a job rejected my credentials laid out on paper today. It was a job I knew, definitively, that I would excel at. And on paper, I did have the credentials, though another applicant more closely fit the position’s requirements at this time.
I really wanted this job. I fancied apartments I could rent on this particularly reasonable salary. Absurdly preparing for my imminent interview, I bought myself an expensive leather bag, big enough for a laptop and a change of shoes.
In my resume, I had been reduced to snippets of words and assumptions regarding those truncated symbols. And then I had been judged by those symbols and their interpretations. But that is how jobs make hiring decisions: they synthesize our self-described symbols and impose meaning on them. The body doesn’t really play a part. And how many applicants had research experience written on a resume? Probably hundreds like myself. But in my idyllic world of semiotic uprising, the body has the chance to activate these words in person, in the flesh, with facial expressions and vocal intonation. But unfortunately, nobody has the time for that.
All week, I kept telling myself just make it to the interview. I have never been rejected from a job that interviewed me in person. Surely this is bound to happen someday, but for now, I am confident in my presence. I’m fairly charming, believe it or not. I wanted the chance to present myself fully and honestly. I wanted to impart real meaning and personage to my words on paper. Because then I’d know that if I got rejected, we were playing a fair game. But for now, I’m having a difficult time with rejection based on an invisible panel’s interpretation of words on paper. Maybe next time I’ll make it to the interview. It’s got to work out one of these days.
* * *
Unroast: Today I love the way my calves look in summer dresses. Thank you truncated career as a ballerina!
15 Responses to “Good on paper”