Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, literature listeners and audio aficionados! I am Eduardo Soliz, the creator and narrator of the wonderfully weird story that you are about to hear.
This story was influenced by my time spent working in customer service. As much as I’d like to ‘get over it’ and move on, the general public have provided me with WAY too much story material in order for me to do so. I call this cursory client conversation: “Future Service”
“Your call is very important to us, sir, and a technical support representative will be on the line with you shortly.” a female voice said over the communicator.
“Yeah, really important, that’s why I’ve been on hold for fifteen minutes…” the caller muttered as he paced back and forth.
“I apologize, sir. Is there anything I can do for you while we wait? Is there anything you would like to talk about?” asked the voice on the phone.
“No, that’s fine.” The caller said. He stopped his pacing as he came to an unpleasant realization. “Wait, have you been on the line all this time?” he asked.
“Yes, sir, it is our policy to never transfer customers to an automated system.” The rep replied with an air of pride. “We have learned that interacting with a live representative prior to speaking with a technical support specialist improves the overall customer experience.”
“So your job is to just sit there and talk to me?” The dumbfounded caller asked.
“Yes sir.” The woman replied.
“And you can’t do anything at all to get my problem fixed?” The caller said, his voice beginning to waver slightly.
The woman took on a condescending tone when she answered: “I’m afraid not, sir. I am here to keep you company and ease your frustrations until a qualified technical support specialist becomes available, in about…” She paused as she checked her screen. “Twenty minutes. This new system has improved our efficiency and greatly improved customer satisfaction. Are you still there, sir?”
“Yes. So whenever I call this number, I will always get a person?”
“That is correct,” the woman cheerfully replied.
The android finally reached his breaking point. He slammed a metal fist onto his dining room table and yelled into the communicator: “SO WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET A MACHINE AROUND HERE?!”
Like the old saying goes, you can’t make everybody happy. Perhaps one day some company somewhere will perfect customer service over the phone. Until then, we’ll have to “hold” on as best we can.
This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardo soliz dot com for more stories and free e-book downloads, and remember, listeners: Your call may be recorded for quality assurance, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be listened to!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 98, “Job Search Blues: Recruiters and Staffing Agencies,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
I will start off by saying that I’ve dealt with a bunch of recruiters over the course of my career. Some good, some bad, and of course, a bunch in between. Naturally, I consider the ones that got me a job “good ones” but at the same time there were a few that did a great job, even though ultimately, I didn’t end up getting the job. Of course, I’ll be focusing on the more sucky ones because, well, that’s more entertaining, and after two months of being out of work, I’m starting to get just a little stir-crazy, so on with the show.
I’ve established that looking for a job online kinda sucks and job fairs kinda suck too. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone! There are companies and people out there that will be more than happy to help you find a job…sort of.
Oh, recruiting agencies and their recruiters. If you’re online, you have have a pulse, and your work history is longer than five days, you’ve likely been e-mailed or called by a recruiter at some point in your career. These overly enthusiastic people will talk to you like they’re your best friend. Many are genuinely friendly, but at the same time, a lot them sound like car salesmen.
After introducing themselves, the recruiter will then ask if you are looking for a job. If you answer yes, then they’ll tell you about position and requirements, and where it’s at, how much it pays and all that wonderful stuff. Often, they’ll also send you an email with job details, and ask you to send back a current resume in response, and then you never ever, hear from them again, which kinda sucks.
It’s a lousy thing to do, it’s unprofessional, as well as a bunch of other mean things that I’d rather not say. I need to say that I don’t know how these people work. For all I know they’re calling fifty people a day and don’t have the time to call all them back to say ‘sorry, we don’t need you right now.’ I get that. At the same time, I’m pretty sure there is some kind of computerized system keeping track of all this stuff. If that computer would just send me an email saying : “Sorry, it didn’t work out,” that would be great. On the rare occasion when a recruiter DOES keep in touch after the fact, I make sure to let them know that I appreciate their professionalism. Sadly, that’s more the exception rather than the rule.
One thing that always throws me off is when I get multiple calls from different people at the same staffing agency within the same week. Once again, I don’t know how things work at those places. I don’t know if potential hires are assigned to a specific recruiter, but when that second guy or gal calls from the same recruiting agency, in my head I’m thinking: “Waitaminute, isn’t the first person already working with me?” The conversation usually gets a little bit awkward after that.
It’s also fun when they don’t bother to check if you aren’t already in their system. Had a fun talk with one of those lately. What made that situation even more maddeing was that I had actually WORKED for that agency years ago.
Equally annoying is when the recruiter does not read your online profile and tries to submit you for a job that you are clearly not qualified for. I have some interest in being a technical writer, so if an entry-level opportunity were to come about, or if someone was willing to give me a shot…HINT HINT…I’d take it. I have to wonder, though, about a recruiter that submits me for a tech writer role that requires years of experience, even after I send them my resume that indicates very little actual tech writing experience. Again, I don’t know how these people or these agencies work, so I wonder if they’re just trying to meet some quota when we go through those motions.
Lately, I’ve been getting a bunch of calls from recruiters that are from, to put it politely: “out of town.” I’ve been contacted by so many of them, at this point that I could set my watch to the routine: First, a phone call comes in from some random state. I tend to not answer out-of-state calls, so after about a minute or so, I find a voicemail waiting for me. Upon listening to the voicemail, I can very easily tell that the caller, to put it politely again, does not speak the language. I will confess to taking particular delight at how these people stumble over and completely mangle my name. I’ve gotten used to the gringo pronunciation of ‘Edwardo’ by now, but folks from a certain part of the world have no idea what to do with it. By the time I have listened to the voice mail, and deleted it, an email will have popped into one of my accounts from that same person featuring poor grammar and a position I have absolutely no interest in.
I then block the phone number, report that email address as spam, and wait for the process to repeat itself. Sorry guys, but no thanks, and I’d rather you not come again.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I add another phone number to the block list. I am Eduardo Soliz, check out Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short fiction, and I thank you for listening!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the author and narrator of the fantastically frank tale that you are about to hear.
Like other folks who fashion fiction, inspiration for my stories often comes from real life. This particular tale was inspired my time spent in the corporate jungle. This story is part of “Nine to Five Lives,” a free e-book which can be downloaded from eduardosoliz.com, this big business brief bears the title of: “The Pit of Success”
Alan was particularly glad to be at work today. After months of working overtime, finishing projects ahead of schedule, and just a little bit of schmoozing, he had been deemed worthy to be promoted to work in “The Pit.” The Pit was a special area where the best of the best worked on secret projects that represented the future of the company.
As he struggled to hold up a cardboard box that held his personal items, Alan held his badge above the doorknob to the entrance to the Pit as he had been told. It was a nondescript door that he had walked by every day without ever thinking about what was inside. A click sounded as the lock released. Alan balanced the box on one hand and used his other one to quickly open the door.
He entered the room and closed the door behind him. But for a single light that was above him, the room was completely dark except for some blinking LED lights scattered about. A voice suddenly came from the ceiling. Alan recognized it as belonging to the supervisor that he had conducted a phone interview with the week before: “Leave that box by the door, Mister Johnson. You will not need those things here.” It said.
Alan did as he was instructed. He nervously looked around for somebody, but the office appeared to be unoccupied. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw rows upon rows of cubicles, just like in his previous office.
“Please proceed to your new cubicle, Mister Johnson.” The supervisor’s voice said. A small light turned on in the room. Alan started to make his way towards the light. As he passed by the other cubicles, he noticed that each one contained an egg-shaped pod just large enough to hold a person. Alan recognized a few of the names on the name tags as former coworkers that had been promoted before him, much to his chagrin.
“You have gone above and beyond your peers in your devotion to this company, Mister Johnson. You will now become a part of the company as you had desired. Take your seat and join us.” The voice said. Alan peered into the interior pod and hesitated.
“This isn’t what I had in mind. Does everyone have to sit in these…things, here?” Alan asked, looking up at the ceiling.
“It is necessary to make you part of the company. You are free to return to your previous position if you wish. We can always find somebody else to fill this position.” The voice answered.
Hell, no. I worked too hard for this. Alan thought. He climbed into the pod. The leather seat within was surprisingly comfortable; he relaxed as he settled into it. Without warning, the pod closed above him. A screen built into the pod’s wall lit up and a keyboard and trak-ball slid in front of him from the side. Well, this is kinda neat, Alan thought as he logged into his terminal and started to work.
Alan noticed an odd flicker occasionally coming from the screen. It annoyed him at first, but it eventually became oddly comforting. He continued working and quickly discovered that he could do everything inside the pod, even attend meetings. He only left the pod to go to the bathroom and eat lunch.
Hours later, the clock on Alan’s computer screen indicated that it was time for the workday to end, but he had no desire to leave. Alan barely overheard his former coworkers leaving through the hallway and thought about his home and family for a moment, but the thought was quickly squelched by the messages that had been delivered to him by the hypnotic series of flashes that he had been subjected to on the screen.
YOU ARE PART OF THE COMPANY.
THERE IS NOTHING ELSE.
THERE IS WORK TO DO.
“There is work to do.” Alan softly said to nobody as he typed away. A message flashed on his screen: technicians would be coming in an hour to make him one with the pod so that he would never have to leave at all.
This company definitely brings new meaning to the term ‘human resource,’ and this is one future that I hope never comes to pass. This has been Super-Short Storytime! Visit eduardo soliz dot com for more stories and free e-book downloads, and remember listeners, always keep that work-life balance!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the supremely silly tale that you are about to hear.
If there is one thing that steampunks and furries have in common, it’s that members of both groups love to parade about in their finest fictional fashion. A pair of fur-bearing blue-bloods try to handle a real crisis in this steam-powered story that I call: “Emergency”
“Brace yourself, my dear!” The gentlewolf yelled to his mistress as the airship began to slowly list to one side. In response, Muffy reached to grab onto a large pipe that was near to her, but the arctic fox woman immediately released it due to its extreme heat.
“Ah! Monty, it’s too hot!” Muffy exclaimed, backing away from the pipe. She shook her singed white paws in the air and blew on them before making her way over to Monty.
Lord Montague adjusted his monocle before looking over the many needles, indicators, numbers and controls at his disposal. The more he looked at them, the less sense they made. The room began to shake as the airship’s engines struggled to keep it aloft.
Monty’s voice took on an air of desperation: “I have tried everything, my dear Muffy, but nothing appears to be working! Perhaps this one? Or maybe this one?” He said, randomly pressing buttons, pulling levers and turning knobs in vain. A whistle sounded as the intensity of the shaking increased. Having reached Monty, Muffy pulled him away from the engine controls.
“Oh, Monty, my love! It is a shame that our young lives must come to an end like this! Let us share one last kiss as we hurtle to our doom!” Muffy cried. She held onto Monty tightly, tears welling in her eyes.
“Yes, my love! We shall take our forbidden love to the world that lies beyond this one!” Monty replied. He and Muffy embraced deeply as warning bells and whistles sounded in protest around them.
A door then suddenly burst open and a short female dog ran into the control room. She had light brown fur, floppy ears and wore denim overalls that were soiled with oil and grease. She growled upon catching sight of the amorous aristocrats, who ignored her as they kissed.
“I swear, I can’t eat dinner or take a nap without you blasted bluebloods coming down here and tamperin’ with MY engines!!” the young engineer exclaimed as she walked over to the engine controls. After looking over a row of gauges, the engineer began to quickly adjust the controls, her paws expertly flipping switches, turning dials and pressing buttons with the grace of a concert pianist. The whistles and bells went silent and the ship’s shaking and listing gradually ceased. Satisfied that all was well, the engineer turned to the young couple, whom had broken their embrace, but were still in each other’s arms.
“What in the Sam Hill were y’all thinkin’?” She angrily yelled at them. “This here engine is a delly-cate machine that should only be operated on by expertslike me! The next passenger that I catch sneaking around in here is a-goin’ to get hogtied and thrown into the cargo hold! NOW GIT!!” she told them as she pointed to an exit.
“You mean to tell me you are not an engineer, Monty?” Muffy asked with a disgusted look on her face as she removed herself from Monty’s arms and started to walk towards the exit.
“Well…uh…no?” Monty replied half-heartedly. “Muffy! Come back!” he cried as he chased his now-former mistress.
The exasperated engineer wiped her forehead and hands with a handkerchief and sighed with relief as the outer door closed behind Monty. She then said, to no one in particular:
“How about that Mister Fancypants thinking he’s a steam engineer! What kind of engineer dresses up in their Sunday best to go to work?”
While clothes might make the man, listeners, they don’t necessarily make him a smart one. This been Super-Short Storytime, For more tiny tales, visit eduardo soliz dot com, and remember listeners, the past just isn’t what it used to be!
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the wonderfully weird words that you are about to hear:
Some people like to enjoy things that the majority of folks just don’t understand. This selection from my free e-book ‘ten tiny tales’ is an oration about one unfortunately ostracized oddball. I call it: “Freako.”
Alan walked into the office with a spring in his step and a big smile on his face. It was Friday, it was payday, and he would only be hanging around the office long enough to submit his time report for the week. He couldn’t wait to start his long weekend.
As he briskly walked through the office, a woman recognized him, “Hey, Al, I thought you weren’t coming in today, did something change?”
Alan stopped to chat, beaming as he answered: “Nope, I’m just here to put in my timesheet and then the fun begins!”
“Oh, that’s right.” The woman replied with a look of scorn on her face. “You’re going to that thing to hang out with all those freakos, huh?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call them weirdos, Janet, I mean, lots of people are going to be there, and…” Alan started to explain before Janet raised her hand to interrupt him.
“That’s okay Al, I don’t need to hear about what you all do there, dressed up in those weird outfits and all.” Janet quickly said.
“hhm…okay. Sorry, Janet.” Alan sheepishly said before continuing on his way. Arriving at his cubicle, he sat down and turned on his computer. While he waited for it to start, another coworker peeked his head in.
“What’s up, Al!” asked Jon as Alan turned to face him.
“Not much, Jon, I forgot to put in my time, and I want to get paid next week, so here I am.” Alan answered. “Hey, do you wanna join me at…”
“No way, man!” Jon exclaimed, his face grimacing at the thought. “I wouldn’t be caught dead at that sausage-fest! You have fun, though!” Jon said before ducking out of the cubicle.
Alan entered his time and then shut down the computer. Dejected, he sighed, and began to walk away from his desk to start his weekend. The smile on his face and the spring in his step were now gone.
“*sigh* Everybody makes fun of me just because I like something different.” Alan thought to himself as he left the building and slowly walked to his car. “I wish my coworkers would stop giving me crap for being a football fan!!”
It’s never easy being the odd man out, Listeners, so try to be nice. If you’d like to hear or read more super-short stories scribed and said by yours truly, visit eduardosoliz.com This has been Super-Short Story time. Remember, listeners, we’re all weirdos to somebody!
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 92, “Needless Things,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
Now that the Texas weather has taken a turn for the slightly cooler, I’ve been talking walks around the neighborhood to get some exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Some days I walk in the morning, and some days I walk in the evening. As I go around the neighborhood, I’ll often see people outside, watering their lawns, playing with children, tending to plants, or sometimes cleaning out their garages.
The garages intrigue me; they are nearly always packed to the gills with all kinds of stuff: Bicycles, tools, lawn mowers, children’s toys, exercise equipment, and, of course, boxes. Stacks and stacks of boxes, oftentimes nearly piled up to the ceiling. Cars, SUVs and trucks are often relegated to the driveway or to the street. No room at the inn, as it were.
Seeing all of those garages filled with boxes made me think about all the stuff that I kept in my house; I’m not that bad, I reassured myself. After all, I had enough room left in my garage to use it for its intended purpose, so I’m not one of those people.
That notion got thrown out of the window when I sold my house. I got a realtor and began moving out in anticipation of the house being shown to potential buyers. The realtor drilled it into my head that I had to make sure to remove or secure anything that was ‘stealable’ from the house before the showings started. Right or wrong, I interpreted that as ‘get all of my DVDs, Blu-Rays, video games, comic books, books-books, music CDs and nearly all of my computer stuff out of the house.’ As my storage unit slowly began to fill up with boxes, I began to realize, that yes, I did have quite a bit of stuff myself.
By the time the house went on the market and the showings began, I had done a pretty good job of minimizing the amount of stuff that was inside, by either putting stuff into storage or giving stuff away to charity. In many cases, I had two of the same thing that I either didn’t need anymore or I didn’t see myself needing in the future because my next residence will probably be an apartment. One computer went into storage. The second television set that was kept in the bedroom for guests, I sold for cheap to a relative and I did the same with the second living room sofa.
It felt odd to see my house without a lot of the stuff inside of it that made it, well, mine. As a concession to myself, I left the artwork hanging on the walls, as if to say: This house might be up for sale, buster, but until you sign a check, it’s still my house, dagnabbit.
I lived with less stuff for a few weeks as the sale of the house went through, and except for a few moments when I wanted to watch a particular movie, I didn’t really miss the stuff all that much. Granted, I didn’t get rid of everything, I still had my Xbox for entertainment. I moved in with some friends after selling the house, and most of the stuff that I had kept in storage, remained there. The experience made me realize that I can do without quite a bit of stuff, so maybe I’m not doing that bad, after all.
I think we need find a new word to describe the storage units that garages seem to inevitably become. Instead of being a place to store a vehicle, garages have become a place to keep the needless things in our lives; old things that will likely never be used again and yet, they are the things that we just can’t bear to part with. I won’t lie, though. Once I get life squared away and I’m back at my own place, those needless things will be back in my life, taking up space. Or maybe not. After all, I probably won’t have a garage to keep them in, and paying somebody to keep my needless things stashed away kind of sucks.
This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after I make a run to my storage unit. If you’d like to hear or read more of my words visit Eduardo Soliz dot com. Thank you for listening!
As the writer in this story is about to learn, just because someone else has a different job than you do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier. Featured in Fuzzy Words, this furry fracas is titled “Where Credit Is Due.”
The weasel’s tail swished back and forth rapidly as he paced back and forth in his living room with a cell phone held up to one ear. “The script is done, Mark, but I can’t seem to get the songs down, and well, you can’t have a musical without music, right?” He joked in a feeble attempt to appease the angry producer he was speaking with.
Mark was not pleased at William’s attempt at humor, and he let the nervous weasel know: “This is not the time for jokes, Will! I am going to be out several thousand dollars for your advance, not to mention a lot more if you don’t give me a script to put on! It’s been nine months! What’s going on in that head of yours? Are you homesick? Girl trouble? Guy trouble?”
William hesitated before answering. “Do you really want to know, Mark?”
Mark regained some of his composure and eagerly replied, “Well. Yeah, Will. This delay isn’t doing either one of us any good, so…so let’s talk it through and figure this thing out for both our sakes. What’s eating you, man?”
William let out a heavy sigh before answering: “Well, it’s that, uh, I haven’t seen my Muse lately, and, well, I’m pretty useless without her.”
This time, a flabbergasted Mark hesitated briefly before speaking. “Whoa. I did not just hear that. Did you say your Muse?” he asked with a nervous laugh.
“Yeah. My Muse…”
“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SMOKING, WILL? That has to be THE nuttiest thing I’ve heard in all my years working on Barkway! Have you lost your mind? You know what? Don’t answer that, ‘cause I think I already know. I need a finished script by the end of next week, or you are finished working in this town, do you understand me? FINISHED. Nobody will touch you with a twenty-foot leash after I’m done. Get some help and get it done, Will!”
Even the beep that William heard as Mark ended the call sounded angry. William collapsed onto his living room sofa, closed his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. My career is over, William thought as he dropped his cell phone onto the carpeted floor and contemplated the dreary future ahead of him.
After a few moments, he opened his eyes to find her there. His Muse. She was a short, sprightly thing: a mink almost completely covered in brown fur except for her muzzle, which was white. She stood over him and looked down at William with a big goofy grin on her face. William stared back for a few moments before the Muse finally broke the silence.
“Hi-eee!” she cheerfully said as she waved a hand in front of William’s face. In response, he groaned and rubbed his eyes before sitting up on the sofa. This was not the reaction that the Muse was expecting, and she began to pout: “Hey, I thought that you’d be happy to see me, Willie!”
“It’s William, and just where have you been?” an agitated William answered. “I need to finish this play because I’ve got a producer breathing down my neck, and if I don’t get it done, he’s going to want his advance back. You know, the one I already used to pay my rent.”
The shocked Muse took a step back. She opened her mouth to speak, but William cut her off:
“What is it with you, anyway? You’re never there when I need you. You pop up at the worst possible times, or at the last minute, like now. You can’t show up whenever I’m sitting at my laptop, you know, WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE. No, that makes too much sense. Instead, you pop up whenever you feel like it, like when I’m in the shower, or when I can’t sleep at two in the morning, or when I’m out on a date. I then have to drop whatever it is I’m doing so I can jot something down because I have NO DOGGONE IDEA when you’re going to decide to grace me with your presence again!”
For a moment the Muse looked as if she were about to burst into tears. Instead, she regained her composure, took a deep breath, stepped towards William, and unleashed a tirade of her own:
“Oh, so you think it’s so easy to do MY job? You think you’re the ONLY so-called ‘creative’ person that needs a little extra help every now and then? Well, let me tell you, Buddy, you AREN’T. Every day, I have to help loads of people just like you finish their books or their poems or their scripts or their songs or their paintings or their sculptures. Every. Single. Day. It never ends: ‘I’m on a deadline!’ ‘My assignment is due next week!’ “My mom’s birthday is tomorrow!’ ‘Help me!’
So I show up, inspire somebody, and what I get for my trouble? Nothing! Nada, zero, zip, zilch. When people say: ‘Oh, what a wonderful work of art,’ does the artist ever mention me? No. Do you ever hear somebody say, ‘Thank you, Muse,’ in an acceptance speech? NO! I-I don’t even get residuals!”
A bewildered William interrupted her. “But you’re a Muse…what would you even do with money?” He asked.
“SHUT UP!” she snapped back. “It’s the principle!” she said, turning away from William.
William started to approach the Muse, but since her long fluffy tail was in the way, he walked around to face her.
“So you’re just looking for some recognition, huh?” William asked.
“Just a little would be nice.” The Muse said coyly.
William thought for a moment, and then his face lit up. He enthusiastically asked the Muse, “What if, I were to write a play with you in it?”
The Muse pointed a finger at herself before speaking. “With little old me?” she said with feigned modesty.
“Sure. It will be…” William took a step back, assumed a dramatic pose and spoke as if he were narrating a movie trailer: “The inspirational tale of a guy who’s down on his luck. He can’t get a break, and just when he’s hit rock bottom and things can’t get any worse…” he stopped to point at the Muse with both hands, “His Muse appears out of the blue and saves his tail!”
“Yay!” chirped the Muse in a delighted tone, clapping her hands as she excitedly hopped up and down on both feet. “I’d like that, Willie. I really would. Have you thought of a name for it yet?”
William stifled a laugh before answering: “What else could I call it? Un-a-mused!”
With a smile and a wink, the Muse replied, “Yeah, I think I’ll let you take the credit for that one, Willie!”
Inspiration is where you find it, Dear Listeners, that is, assuming it doesn’t find you first. For more super-short, super-silly stories, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com. This has been Super-Short Storytime, and remember, listeners; always cite your sources!