Archive for October, 2014


O-fer

In baseball, “going O-fer” (also spelled oh-fer, ohfer, 0-fer) is about the worst thing you can do as a hitter. It means that you failed to capitalize on every single chance you had in a game.

Well, it appears that I’ve gone O-fer today. Fifteen potential calls, and yet my phone has stayed silent and unvibrating all morning.

I think right now I’m going back and forth between being infuriated, mystified, and just plain sad.

My fury is directed mainly at the places where I really wanted to work. Those were the applications which I spent the greatest amount of time and effort on, and those were the places which I felt most confident about hearing from today. In particular, I’m angry with the two places whose OCIs I knocked out of the park. You know that feeling of coming out of an interview knowing that you nailed it? I had that with these two places. I even fist-pumped as soon as I was out of sight, such was my confidence. But no, nothing.

And then I’m mystified because of my sudden reversal in fortunes. It was only last month that I learned that I went 4/9 for OCIs – a 44% hit rate. That was an excellent result, especially considering I’d heard people talking about going 1/15 (7%) or, in the case of one particularly zealous applicant, 11/40 (28%). The eleven places who were getting back to me for the first time today received the same materials as the nine who made their decisions back in late September. Same resume (with occasional minor alterations). Identical transcripts. Identical reference letters. Different cover letters, sure, but all of those were unique to a certain extent anyhow. But somehow, despite all other factors being equal, I went from a 44% success rate to 0%. Part of me wonders whether I somehow screwed up the applications and they weren’t received somehow. But no, not possible. All of the applications are marked as having been sent, and I although I only received emails confirming receipt of my application from a handful of employers, it’s enough to disprove the theory that something went wrong with the application process itself. That means that the blame must fall squarely on my shoulders.

And that brings me to sadness. As you might be able to tell by the tone of this entry, I’m not emotionally devastated at the moment. It’s more of a dull, throbbing sadness mixed in with a feeling of resignation. As awful as this result is, it’s really just been par for the course over the last year and a half. And I know I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but this just continues the narrative which has seen me go from being in demand by every academic institution ever (except Harvard and Yale), to being virtually ignored. Just about every employer, volunteer organization, scholarship committee, and school has turned me down since 2013. I’ve lost count of the number of opportunities that I’ve been turned down for, often with no response at all. And as a result, I’ve gone from expecting to succeed in every endeavour to expecting every application to end in failure. Applying to places sometimes feels about as futile as putting my resume in a bottle and tossing it into Lake Ontario. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother trying, and I think that’s pretty sad in itself.

So now what?

Well, first I’ve got to survive this day. I only slept for three hours last night as nerves about today kept me awake. I’ll bet those nerves feel really stupid right about now. At some point I’ll have to do something to stop this day from being a total waste. Maybe I’ll go for a walk along the lake. Maybe I’ll do some Christmas shopping. Maybe I’ll buy myself a video game. Maybe all three. For dinner, maybe I’ll cheat on my diet and order a pizza. Or maybe just a sub. A sub would be quite nice. And then tonight I’ve got curling. I suspect I’ll suck a bit more than usual today, but maybe I can take my frustration out on some rocks. Oh yeah, and at some point I’ll have to call my parents and explain this one to them. I’m looking forward to that about as much as a turkey looks forward to Thanksgiving.

And then, once I’ve sufficiently recovered, it’ll be time to get back on the horse. Although I’m out of the running for the main wave of recruitment, other opportunities will pop up occasionally from time to time. Besides that, applications for clerkships (which would have me working as an assistant to a judge) won’t be due until January, and that’s something which I’m still very much interested in.

Time marches on.

Call Day Cometh

Another big day, another blog entry written whilst I try to maintain control of my bowels.

Tomorrow is Call Day. As the name suggests, it’s the day where employers call students to invite them to interview in their offices. In addition to the four places I had OCIs with, there are another eleven places which I’m still in the running for. By tomorrow afternoon, that number will be significantly reduced. How significantly? Damned if I know. Some employers contact students via email in advance to say “Expect a call from us” or “Don’t expect a call from us”, but I’ve received a grand total of zero such emails one way or the other. I’m completely in the dark on this one.

In the face of such a sheer lack of knowledge, it’s difficult to know where to place my expectations. I don’t want to set them high and leave myself in prime position to be disappointed, but on the other hand I don’t want to be overly pessimistic. Beyond that, this isn’t just a numbers game. Who I hear back from is more important than how many. If I get some positive news from two out of my top four choices, I’ll be happy. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

In the unlikely event that I receive positive news from more than six places, I’d have to decline some interviews. Unlike the bite-sized 17 minute OCIs, these interviews can run up to two hours long. Trying to tackle more than three in one day would be madness. And since the interviews take place over two days, that makes six the magic number. But again, that’s very unlikely to come into play for me. Four calls would surprise me, and five would be shocking.

I suppose the one mercy here is the fact that no performance is required from me tomorrow. My task is simply to pick up the phone when (and if) it rings, and schedule an interview. There’s very little I can do to jeopardize my chances anywhere unless I answer the phone shouting  “I LIKE TO HAVE SEX WITH GOATS!” or something. But assuming I behave like a sane human being, the die has already been cast. So although I am indeed shitting myself a little bit, the amount of feces in my undergarments is significantly less than it was the night before OCIs, and far less than it will be ten days hence when I actually go in for these interviews.

Assuming I get any.

Pre-OCI Stress

Tomorrow’s a big day. Big to the tune of four interviews in a five hour span.

Just for the sake of calming myself down a little, I’m going to type a few things here in the hope that they’ll sink in:

As important as tomorrow is, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Regardless of how tomorrow goes, there are still 11 places considering my application. Beyond that, only one of the four places interviewing me tomorrow are places that I really want to work at. Two of them are places that I have a moderate interest in, and the fourth is a place I applied to mostly for the heck of it.

Besides, these interviews are only 17 minutes long. That’s 1020 seconds. Barely enough time for an interview to go sour even if I really wanted it to.

So, enjoy. Relax, Have fun. Don’t worry. Act natural. Be yourself. Someone’s bound to like you.

I remember being 8 years old.

In those days I used to go to a sports summer camp. My days were spent playing soccer, ball hockey, touch football, archery, and swimming, amongst other things.

As you may be aware, when one goes swimming it is customary to change into special clothing which is designed especially for the purpose. “Bathing suits”, they’re usually called. If you’ve ever put on a bathing suit, you know that the process usually requires you to expose your genitals at one point or another.

Conveniently, most swimming facilities provide designated changing areas for this process. Public decency being what it is, there are usually two changing rooms – one for men, and one for women.

So, prior to going swimming, we dozen or so 8 year olds headed for our respective changing rooms.

As I began to get changed, however, I could sense the atmosphere in the room change. The other boys were staring at me, aghast.

“You’re going to get changed here?!” one of them asked.

Looking around the room, all of the other boys were lining up for the two bathroom stalls in order to get changed in complete privacy. This confused me. There were about 7 of us in the room. Waiting for the two bathroom stalls seemed like an unnecessary waste of time. We were all mammals, weren’t we? And more to the point, we were all male mammals, weren’t we? Isn’t that what changing rooms are for?

And so I changed. And so they mocked me. And the next day I was going to do the same thing, but they mocked me again and gave me weird looks, so I changed with a towel around my waist. Perhaps I was in the wrong, I thought. Perhaps you’re not allowed to expose yourself even in a changing room.

 

I feel like those two weeks at summer camp left me with a complex that has never had the chance to resolve itself. I don’t tend to frequent public pools, and so I’m very rarely in a changing room of any sort. My elementary school had a changing room, but that was clearly a no nudity zone. In the single-sex high school I went to, the entire bottom floor was effectively a giant changing room. But there were security cameras down there, so again, no nudity. Throughout undergrad I never visited a changing room aside from my forays into the world of fencing and curling, but neither of these activities requires that you strip off completely at any point (unless you’re playing by some really strange rules).

I guess what I’m trying to say in a very roundabout way is that I haven’t seen a ton of dicks in my life. I’ve been pretty sheltered from dicks. I can probably count the number of dicks I’ve seen on one hand (unless we’re counting porn, in which case I’m going to need a few more hands). But now, before and after every Tuesday and Thursday spin class, I use the Queen’s Recreational Facility’s changing room, and let me tell you:

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As someone who has generally stayed in in no-dicks-allowed zones, it’s incredible to see men strutting around with their equipment soaring freely through the air. I’m only in those changing rooms for 3-4 minutes at a time, but it’s 3-4 minutes of me constantly saying to myself “Don’t look at his penis don’t look at his penis don’t look at his- DAMMIT”

The moral of the story, I think, is that you should expose your kids to as many dicks as possible early on in their lives so that they don’t become unstable in changing rooms 15 years down the line.