EMPLOYMENT ELIMINATION

(ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE UNEMPLOYED)

One day in my tireless surfing on the web through hundreds of job postings, I found a position at The County. Everyone wants to work for the county.  Once you are in the door, you are set for a life time of employment that included regular raises, vacations, and transfers, not to mention the best retirement program.  I applied with my resume and questionnaire.  I’ve learned from past experience that you answer yes to all the questions.  Yes, I will be your slave for the duration of my employment, working any day or hour I am needed, including Holidays, with a smile and the perfect attitude.

To my surprise I received an invitation to a physical test for the position.  The night before, I could hardly sleep.  My nerves were on edge from not knowing what to expect.  I set my alarm early so I would be ready to leave preciously at the time needed to get there fifteen minutes early.  The County Building is a very large facility with many buildings.  Given the location of the testing area, I tried to choose the closest parking lot.  Even so, I walked for what seemed like miles.  When I arrived, I did not see anyone on the green area indicated in the e-mail.  After inquiring with several employed personnel, I called the number for information. The man on the other end of the line informed me I was a day early.  I laughed, telling him, he had to give me credit for being the eager beaver.  I think he laughed with me.

The following morning, I awoke in anticipation, not anxiety as the day before.  After arriving, at the right time, the empty grounds now held at least a hundred people.  Two lines formed the check in at the long white tables. I observed all the young men and women, dressed comfortably for physical activity.  I thought about wearing my Capri pants but hesitated, feeling I should dress somewhat office casual, not really knowing what to expect.  Instead, I wore a pair of loose fitting jeans and tee shirt.

We learned the test involved running 25 yards in 18 seconds, dragging a 145 pound dummy for 20 seconds, and running through cones to grab a fire extinguisher and then carrying the fire extinguisher back through the cones.

It never dawned on me to consider my age or the fact that I haven’t had any physical, real physical activity for years. I watched the guys run like they were running with the wind.  Some of the girls were a little slower but they made it.  Progressing forward, my turn arrived to stand on the line waiting for the whistle. It blows. I’m running with all my might. The grounds many holes caused me to think, “I’m going to take a dive in front of all these young people”.  My feet were moving faster than my brain.  I’m getting tired but the cone seems so far away. My cheerleader at the end shouts, “You can make it.  Don’t’ slow down now.” I made it in 17.80 seconds.

I debated which test to take second, the cones with the fire extinguisher or the dummy. I went with the dummy.  I watched young, skinny girls drag it successfully.  I still felt pretty young on the inside, I thought, “You can do it.” You just lift with your legs, keep them bent and drag the dummy.  If they can do it, so can you.

My turn finally arrives. I bend down, lift with my legs and every part of my being acknowledges, this dummy is heavier than they made it look. My legs said, you just made us run 25 yards and now you want us to bear the weight of a145 pound dummy! My arms sneered, “you can’t even carry a 50 pound bag of potatoes”.  I think they both laughed at my mindset (thinking I could compete with 20 and 30 year olds physically) because the whistle blew and I wasn’t even half way across. ROTFLOL. No shame in it, I left with my head held high, and thinking, “Not bad for a 57 year old.”

I don’t think that job was for me, but I’m Looking forward to the assignment I did acquire, being a tech sub for Ventura County Unified School District.

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