Today I took a test for a job that paid really well. Did I want the job? Um, kinda. Mostly for the money. The schedule was pretty sweet too. But mostly for the money.
I walked in and the lady administering the test said, “Here ya go. You have to get 9 right and then I’ll have you move on to the next test, alright?” 9 out of 35? No probs. (Except I was actually scared — because it was none other than the DEMON, Excel. (Oh, you suck at math!? Hm. Good luck! You can reason! Oh, you suck with graphs and such? Well, then, my friend…you’re fucked.)
Excel has been not a friend of mine since I first met it many moons ago. Emily was the first friend to try to force my hand in the program. She gave me a couple tutorials, when I had just moved to San Francisco. She was trying to help usher me back into the American workforce. After I landed in Chicago, Amber tried telling me how cool Excel was. All the formulas! All the things you could do! She actually did make it sound worthy of being used…just not by me.
To be honest, I did try. Somewhat. But my brain straight breaks the eff down when it sees spreadsheets. It can’t read, or see shading — it can’t do much of anything. It rolls over and dies.
I should have studied for this test. Played around in Excel a little beforehand. Read about it online. I don’t know. I should have done something other than walk in blind.
When the bell rang at the twenty minute mark, the lady walked over and checked my total correct answers. 8. That’s right. Just one short of 9.
She sent me home.
I cried all the way back. Hot tears. There was only a scratchy recycled brown napkin in the car but I wiped the tears with it anyway, taking off fresh skin cells as well, no doubt.
I cried because I don’t like failing things. Blatant fails are so different than the muted kind.
I’ll let you in on a secret here. God knows I could have taken some Excel classes in the last twelve years. Emily told me to. Amber told me to. Job postings told me to. Nic suggested it once. But I have been stubborn. I don’t want a job where I sit at a computer and work in a program that makes my brain freeze. I want to write. Rescue dogs. Make people feel loved. I don’t want to excel at Excel.
I don’t know how much longer I will be stubborn. Part of me wants to believe the answer is forever. Part of me wants to join the local library class this week. In both answers lies only one commonality. They both feel a little bit like failure to me.