Insert a whole bunch of years of being an all-purpose nerd. Building computers, tech supporting technical things, and cultivating a healthy fear of telephones and Baptists. Blah blah blah. I'm a badass. Or whatever.
After misadventuring my way through a lot of things that I will probably tell embarrassing stories about later, I ended up working for a giant evil empire who will remain nameless because I will probably spout something that could be construed as rude about them at one point or another, and they have a phalanx of lawyers who will send me angry letters and/or envelopes of white powder.
If my life was a movie, this would be the boring part if I left out the office romances and corporate espionage and all that. Which I am going to do, because it's not really relevant. Maybe later. So, fast forwarding more.
Starting in technical support, I worked my way up the food chain a few rungs, where I discovered something new. Contrary to my previous experiences, once you made it up a certain distance, you hit some sort of magical invisible ceiling. Okay, it wasn't invisible, and it wasn't magical, but it was totally a ceiling. They'd let me poke my head up through the ceiling and see what was there, but the HR Manager monsters had weaved some sort of impenetrable barrier. Turns out, the name of this spell is Corporate Policy. This casting of Corporate Policy enforced limitations on my paychecks; namely, I was unable to be promoted to a position whose title had the word "Engineer" in it unless I could produce a counter-spell known as a Degree.
[Flashback: Velociraptor in a dress, laughing like a mad scientist, while I dangled impaled from Indiana Jones style spikes protruding from the wall.]
Here's how it went down.
Manager who wanted to hire me into the Software QA department as an engineer: "Hey, I have a job opening in QA, you should apply for it."
Me, unusually excited but probably showing no actual emotion: "Yeah?"
Manager: "Yeah, it'll be posted today sometime, keep an eye on the internal job postings."
Me: "Cool. Will do!"
[Quick time-lapse montage of me doing boring looking things and occasionally poking at a website]
Me, thinking out loud: "Ah ha!"
[I then fill out an excruciatingly complicated internal job application, which takes a hilarious amount of time.]
Me: "Done! Oh, this is awesome! Okay. Time to go home."
[I drove home. I then played video games, went to sleep at four in the morning, then woke up at 7 and bolted to the car in a panic, possibly without any pants on.]
Me, thinking out loud because I can't afford a narrator because I am blogging and it doesn't pay anything: "I wonder if I'll hear anything about that job today?"
[Time-lapse montage of me doing boring looking things to the tune of cricket sounds.]
Manager: "Hey, do you have a minute? I need to talk to you."
Me: "Sure, what's up?"
[At this point, the manager is abruptly dressed in a long, flowing black robe, his face mostly covered by an oversized hood. He's holding a bloodied sickle, the tip of which is dripping onto my shoe.]
Me, utterly breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly into the camera like a complete amateur: "Oh, not again. Why does this always happen to me? What did I ever do to you?"
Death/Manager, confused: "What? Who are you talking to?"
Me, still talking to the camera like an idiot: "This guy's about to tell me I'm screwed. It's like the raptor attack from the last episode. Can't I just, like, meet a pretty girl and do something romantic or say something funny or get a cool car?"
Me, storming off screen: "[expletive deleted]!"
Anyway, Death very sincerely apologized and told me that he wasn't allowed to hire me because I didn't have a four year degree yet. He asked how close I was -- how many years I had left to finish school. I answered honestly. Four years. He said I'd better get to work on that, then.
In the meantime, I was determined not to give up. Four years? That's a lot of juggling a full time job and full time school. Ugh.
So, at this point, if you are ever faced with this dilemma, let me give you a list of things that will NOT work to fool HR into letting you have a job for which you are clearly not qualified:
- Asking the HR manager if they can make an exception just this once, for meeee. No, they won't.
- Asking the HR manager if they actually check up on the validity of a degree that I claim to have. Yes, they will, and I will be fired if I lie about it. Damn.
- Asking the HR manager if the degree has to be from an accredited school. It does. Sorry for bothering you, crappy "life experience = degree" internet college. You won't be getting any money out of me because your degrees are utterly worthless.
- Asking the HR manager (on the advice of a different HR manager who said it was worth a try) if I can have the job, but if we could just name it something less impressive and pay me the same amount. Nope. Not even if you come up with something clever or self-deprecating.
- Asking the HR manager if I can have the job, but if we could just name it something less impressive and pay me slightly less. Bzzt.
- Asking the HR manager if I can have the job and keep my current pay and job title until I finish my degree, but just not do that job anymore and do this new one under a new manager. No dice. I thought this one was actually a pretty attractive offer, too, since I was being paid in peanuts at the time.
I'm sure that I came up with half a dozen more cockamamie ideas to try and interest this monster into giving me a chance, but I don't remember any others at this point.
Next on Observational Tragedy Theatre:
College Wars, Episode III: Deja Vu