I’m with the government and I’m here to help….

It was a little late this year.  Thanks, Al!  Woke to -10 this morning with a high of  15 expected.  The weatherguessers are calling for -20 tonight.  Guess I gotta go find my cord and plug the truck in so it doesn’t gripe too much when I start it tomorrow.  Garage??   Yeah, I have one.  It’s full of old Datsun 280Z  broken down into individual molecules.   Yet another project to wade through once I get the cabin done, the kitchen finished (it’s only been 6 years now on that one), and the firewood moved around, the sled running right, on and on ad nauseum…..

So there I was….Friday afternoon, ensconced in a small room in the state’s Fairbanks job center with 8 other hopefuls,  getting ready to take a federal government assessment for a federal government job.   There’s 1 opening.   Anyway, gone are the days of  “Using a #2 pencil, break the seal on your test booklet and follow along as I read the directions aloud.”  We’ve progressed (regressed) to computer based testing! 

Allow me to set the stage for you.  (Get a bigger drink; you’ll need it.)  I first applied for this slot, I won’t say which arm of the federal hydra it belongs to for fear of late night retribution, on Monday last.   The online process should have been simple, easy, and painless.  After all, it’s the federal government and they’re about to bring you the very best in health care and fundamental change to the nation.   It wasn’t.  The four plus hours it took me to fill the blasted thing out was fraught with frustration, disbelief, and more than a few inventive expletives.  To put a crown on all of it were the four (count ’em! 4!) calls to the ever-so-helpful website help desk.  Not because I needed their brand of assistance in pulling what little cranial covering I have left out, but because the default error message, which would render the previous endeavors moot if I didn’t call, directed me to do so.  In two days, I ended up calling 14 times and spent an average of 15 minutes on hold each time. 

We’re back to Friday and the testing room.  I’ve safely settled in front of a machine which is apparently connected to the feds based on the monitor display.  I have my printed hardcopy of the email inviting(!) me to this test as per the instructions. The proctor has taken great pains to ensure I am who I say I am, the cautions and warnings have all been read and acknowledged, and all is set.   Except the damn test won’t load for 3 of us.  Bear in mind, it’s a timed test and the clock is running.  Thirty minutes, 5 attempts, and 2 reboots finally get things started.   I’m beginning to rethink  career choice.

At some point in Bill Clinton’s tenure, he gave a video taped testimony on the whole Monica Lewinsky debacle.  The man, a sitting PRESIDENT, had the gall to ask the prosecutor to define the word “is.”  For the first 40 minutes of this test for a low-level, $30,000 a year job, in Fairbanks, friggin’ Alaska, I got to define multi-syllabic words, read, comprehend, and interpret government written directives, and find spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage errors  in sentences.  Was he sick on test day?????

This morning I received an email stating that I had passed the testing and was being offered contingent employment with said agency.  Hooray!  All I had to do was follow the link in the email, accept or decline the contingent offer, and move on to the background and credit checks.  The thought ran through my mind that I should run away screaming at this point simply because one needn’t do all this to become a member of the president’s cabinet!  But  like any Good Dobee, I followed the link.  Took me right back to the website I started at last week and it still didn’t work.  Another call, another 26 minutes on hold, and I get to fax the info to the wonderful drones in Virginia. 

There is no workaround for the website.  The drone I spoke with informed me that a supervisor was sitting right next to him earlier when a previous caller had the SAME problem (“There seems to be a lot of this happening…”  I swear that’s what the drone said.  I have neither the time nor the energy to make this shit up.) and has sent an email (!) to the web administrator regarding the issues.  Any bets the admin troll never gets the email?

How do I apply to be king  ’cause I’ve passed your test and I am way too qualified to be president.


2 Responses to “I’m with the government and I’m here to help….”

  1. 1 Chowmif16 November 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Nice writing P2!
    I like the story, I just wish it were only a story…

  2. 2 Da Goddess November 3, 2009 at 12:30 am

    What a far cry from the tests you used to take for gov’t/civil service jobs.

    Did they make you fill out a form listing every place you’ve ever lived, including landlords, exact dates, etc? That part is always so much fun. Like most of us can remember that crap…

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