Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jeff’s 5-Step Business Plan

A Basic Guide to Phone Interviews

I recently had a phone interview for a job somewhere. I know that sounds incredibly mysterious, but I’m an incredibly mysterious person. Mystery is how I maintain my mystique. All in all, I’m pretty sure the call went well, but how does a person know? There are hundreds of articles on the web about preparing for an in-person interview, but virtually none that address the issue of the phone interview. That’s why I’ve put together a list of questions not to ask during a phone interview, a list that if used as a guide will avoid uncomfortable silences, awkward laughter or sudden hang-uppage.

  1. “What are you wearing?” – If the interviewer is the same sex this might pass for a harmless inquiry. If they aren’t, it will most likely lead to a lengthy and boring discussion about their clothing since they’ll assume you know very little about the intricacies of what the opposite sex wears.
  2. “Can I get paid under the table?” – Nothing good happens when people try and exchange things under tables. In many cultures if you touch your bosses knee with your hand, even if accidentally, you owe them a healthy baby, which can obvious delay your start date significantly.
  3. “Can I take my vacation before I start?” – Although it seems like a logical question, and should show you are a person of initiative that wants to show up fresh and ready to work…actually this is a good idea. You should do this.
  4. “What’s your policy on employees instituting new policies?” – If you’re like me, you probably have lots of ideas, some of which might even be related to best practices and other jargony things. This isn’t really a bad question either. Okay, maybe I should just write questions you should ask.

Here’s my list of questions you should ask during a phone interview:

  1. “Do you like questions?” – This is the perfect interview question. If they say no, stop asking. If they say yes, ask them “when”?
  2. “When do I start?” – It might sound like an a-hole thing to ask during a phone interview, but if they react poorly just complete the sentence with something unrelated to the job like, “When do I start…learning all about your company?Right now! Am I right? “
  3. “What’s your drug policy?” – It’s important to know what any prospective employer thinks about over-the-counter drugs. Nothing is more offensive to a holistic healer than the freewheeling consumption of aspirin, and statistics show that some percentage of Fortune 500 companies are run by people practicing homeopathic medicine.
  4. “How Casual Are Your Casual Fridays?” – Casual is a very broad term. You don’t want to show up wearing pants when no one else is wearing pants, you’ll feel like some kind of prude.
  5. “What do you think, idiot?” – This is a good litmus test for a possible employers and can be asked in response to any question they ask you. There’s nothing worse then ending up working at a place where you can’t balance your compliments about family pictures with insults about anything.

I think that just about covers it. If you don’t ask the first half and ask the second you should be well on your way to an in person interview.

28 is the New ?

You often hear old people who are wearing fake tans, unnecessary jewelry or blue-tooth earpieces say, “Forty is the new thirty.” Because I believe everything I hear these people say, because their youth in age belies an obvious intellectual prowess and experiential insight, I’m left to wonder, as I’m about to turn twenty-eight, what new age twenty-eight is?

I was tempted to do the simple math and subtract ten from twenty-eight and say twenty-eight is the new eighteen but that didn’t seem right. I then remembered algebra and just as quickly remembered I forgot how to do algebra*. After contacting a friend who does math a lot I was informed that using the proportions of the 40/30 thing, twenty-eight is actually the new twenty-one.

What does this mean? It means that because of advances in medical technology and an average life expectancy that is reaching toward the century mark, twenty-eight shouldn’t mean twenty-eight anymore. Just like one dog year equals seven human years, one human year shouldn’t equal exactly one human year anymore. We need a recalibration of time and age as a whole.

Now, since I can’t even do basic algebra, I’m probably not the right guy for the job. But I can help in the meantime by regressing to my twenty-one year-old self. I’ll have to stop saying, “I don’t know” when I don’t know something and I’ll need to start watching 3-5 movies per day again and I’ll have to get back in the habit of buying beer by the pitcher. Nothing would really change “career-wise”, although I’d probably need to get a part-time job as a bartender so I could quit it before the first day so as to not miss a party I wanted to attend.

It’s either that or I try and convince people that I’m not really twenty-eight by the standards of twenty-eight when twenty-eight was first conceptualized some other way. Or that age is meaningless. The lazy-know-it-all-somewhat-of-an-a-hole plan just seems easier for some reason.

*While I will concede that knowing algebra would have been helpful in this instance, I still think the public school system as a whole owes me a few dozen hours for all that time I wasted learning cursive.

Self-Potatoes Are Real

Last night my Mom texted me this picture along with the caption, “Self Potatoes at the farm sshow”

Consider my mind blown.

Not only does this mean that the internet video viewing world as a whole owes this woman an apology, but it means my Mom is by far the most active reader of my blog. While it’s probably not the coolest thing in the world, that your biggest fan is your Mom, it’s really not a surprise either. I’ve always known that if I ever got a book actually published she would buy around three-hundred copies and demand I autograph all of them with personal messages to each of her friends, relatives, co-workers, ex-college professors¬† and so on.

I’d continue to talk about the hilarity of my mom being the core of my audience, but the only thing less cool than your mom being the core of your audience is writing at length about how your mom is the core of your audience. So instead I’ll put up some of the other pictures she texted me from the 2010 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Riders on the storm

She sent this one without any explanation. At first I assumed it was some kind of pre-joust ritual before the best of Central Pennsylvania’s farmers battle to the death for a prize cow, but once I noticed the sparse crowd, I realized it couldn’t be, so I asked. Apparently, even though you can’t tell from the far away picture, they were all really fat and the horses looked like they were struggling. The funniest thing about this picture isn’t the fact that it’s fat people on horses for an equestrian competition, it’s imaging my mom sneaking up to the edge of the fenced in area, chuckling to herself as she takes a picture of the fat people on horses.

Next up was this picture, accompanied by the text, “This has been hilariuos”

Insert bad bread joke here

As far as I can tell this is a butter sculpture of a man and a cow serving butter to a family made of butter. It’s the kind of metaphysical commentary that questions the fabric of our existence and the texture of our reality. I’m pretty sure if Immanuel Kant saw this his head would have melted like butter in cast-iron skillet.

These pictures, more than anything, convince me that I need to start making some field trips with this blog, you know, to equivalent events. Maybe I’ll start planning a journey to next year’s Cooper Hill Cheese Roll, the Japanese Baby-Crying Contest or the Super Bowl.