Alison Berkley: Hunting for perfect job isn’t easy
October 29, 2002
The other night our former mayor, Bill Stirling, was on Grassroots TV talking to Andrew Cole about how bad the job market is in Aspen. (Has anyone ever seen a thicker head of silver hair on anyone besides Ralph Lauren or Bill Clinton? Does he blow dry, or does it puff out like that naturally?) He had some curious things to say about the good old days before the Mexicans came in and took the jobs from all the good people who used to come here to recreate and see theater and ski and “enjoy Aspen.”
You have to hand it to the Mexicans for scoring better jobs than this Jew! Lord knows I’ve applied for tons of jobs, but despite my talents, charm, and good looks, no one will hire me. It’s not like I’m afraid to try something new or humble myself to support (among other things) my writing habit.
I thought for sure I’d be a shoo-in for the bookstore, so I applied there twice (you would think I’d figure it out when they didn’t hire me the first time). I just loved the intellect-meets-elegance feel of the place, the leaded glass windows and the way the afternoon light filters through the trees. I could just picture it: I would hobnob with smart locals and offer a reading list based on previous purchases. I would buy a pair of fancy reading glasses, a turtleneck and a long scarf. I would inhale the fresh smell of new books and enjoy the mindless task of putting them onto the shelves.
So I met with the owner (who, coincidentally is married to Stirling), an elegant, stately woman just reeking of class and importance, the daughter of Hollywood aristocrats. Of course we hit it off great. She told me I was “extremely talented” and tossed me a project to demonstrate my value and ability. So what if I failed her little test? She cut me a check for my trouble and wrote me a very nice thanks-but-no-thanks letter and sent it to me through the mail, even though I live less than a block away. As if working in a cramped old bookstore that serves expensive organic food was something I aspired to my whole life! Besides, I was meant to write books, not shelve them.
No, a night job would be much better for me, free up my days for writing and snowboarding and working out at the gym. I’d party with the jet set at one of the swanky restaurants, waiting tables and serving cocktails, hoarding attention and tips from all those good-looking rich men. I’d wear tight shirts with low cut necklines and a push-up bra or do the cute oxford-and-tie ensemble, my hair in a high ponytail. I’d recommend wines and impress customers with my unusual background. Or I’d play hostess and pull my hair back into a tight bun, wear dark-red lipstick and say, “right this way,” like I’ve been doing it my whole life. Who cares if I have no recent experience or references because I got fired from all those waitress jobs in college? Whatever! I’m a lot more mature now, and I’m sure it’s not rocket science.
When all that didn’t work out, I shot off a resume to the folks at Aspen Filmfest. I just love the Red Brick ? the shiny, hardwood floors, the high ceilings and wide hallways ? so eclectic and sophisticated. You can just feel the place brimming with creative energy. I’d totally be willing to sacrifice a good salary for doing a job I believe in, even if the pay did suck ass. I’d wear long skirts with leather boots and become very well connected in the film community. I’d send funny, cute e-mails and make nice with all the producers. I would be at all the parties and screenings. I wouldn’t even think about snowboarding, I would be so preoccupied with the sophistication of film. I figured with my connections, I was a shoo-in. So what if I goofed a little and couldn’t exactly size up my interest in film during the interview? I guess HBO’s “Six Feet Under” was not the right answer. Screw it ? I’m better off writing my own damn screenplays between powder days anyhow.
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Obviously I’m not cut out for office work. I should be out in the field, in front of a camera, hosting the morning show for Channel 16. Look out, Vince Lahey, here I come! I would wear cute ski outfits by Polo RLX and smile a lot and turn up the charm for the camera. Everyone would know me and want to give me free stuff. I would be clever and witty and be a complete natural, so it shouldn’t matter that I’ve never been on TV. I’m a journalist for God’s sake! What more do you want for 10 bucks an hour? I had a fabulous interview with the station manager, Ana Gonzales, a fiery little number herself. She came to Aspen only a year ago from a similar background as a broadcast news journalist and could obviously appreciate my talents. She hugged me goodbye and sent me an e-mail that said we should “hang out sometime, and by the way, we already hired two people.” Like I really wanted to get up at 6 a.m. and freeze my ass off doing a live broadcast on top of Aspen Mountain while all my friends got first tracks. I’m a print person and besides, everyone knows that TV is cheesy.
So what if I don’t have a job? It’s off-season and being unemployed gives me more time to go snowboarding with my unemployed roommate on Independence Pass. I’ll get something lined up as soon as I know it won’t mean having to miss a powder day.
[Please e-mail your job offers to email@example.com. References are available on request.]
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