Excerpted from How To Do Everything by Red Green. Copyright © 2010 by Red Green. Excerpted by permission of Anchor Canada, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
HOW TO GET A JOB
There may be times in your adult life when you are unemployed, occasionally through no fault of your own. But regardless of how you got yourself into that predicament, the only way out is to find yourself other employment. And to do that, you will probably need to have a successful job interview. Here’s how:
Overdress. Show respect for the job by dressing a few levels above what you’ll be wearing if you get it. If you’ll be wearing coveralls, wear a suit. If you’ll be wearing a suit, wear a tuxedo. If you’ll be wearing a paper hat, wear a felt fedora. Give the impression that you are just slightly overqualified. Generally, the interviewer will put more stock in how you look than in what you say. Good thing.
Drop the bravado. Pretending you don’t need the job makes you look like an idiot. If you didn’t want the job, you wouldn’t be at the interview. So instead of focusing on the contempt you have for the position that’s being offered, try to present yourself as the best possible candidate, even though we all know it’s a crappy job.
Do a little grooming. Get your hair washed and cut. If you don’t have hair, get a buff. Don’t wear any body ornaments that indicate an attitude—earring, nose ring, lip ring, nipple ring, mood ring. Cover up your tattoos, even if it means wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater and a Tensor bandage around your forehead.
Keep your answers short. The less you say, the better. Give pointed responses that directly answer the question. Don’t assume that the interviewer knows everything about you. Most criminal records are kept confidential.
Stay positive. Try to say yes a lot during the interview. It’s what you want them to eventually say, so it’s good to set that trend. If your attitude is negative, they may reject you just to give you another thing to complain about.
Act like you already have the job. If it’s a maintenance position, walk in with a wet plunger and tell the guy that you fixed the men’s room toilet on the way in. He’ll be impressed, even if he won’t shake hands.
Don’t dwell in the past. Try to steer all of the questions towards the future—how you’re going to handle this new job, rather than how you mishandled the last six. If the interviewer keeps referring to difficulties you’ve had at previous jobs, make that an asset by pointing out that only somebody who’d gone through those problems would have learned from those mistakes. Focus on the worst mistake you’ve ever made and remind them that the charge was reduced to manslaughter.
Stay in the moment. This interview is not really about how you’re going to perform in the job once you get it. Nobody really cares about that. It can’t be too important a job if they’re interviewing you for it. They just don’t want to hire anybody who’s really going to screw things up. As long as you’re prepared to do an average job, everybody will be happy enough. What really matters is the interviewer’s perception right now, at this moment. You may not be enjoying the interview process, but think of how they must feel about it. They have to interview thirty or forty candidates, most of whom are like you. They want the process to be over too. So just tell them exactly what they want to hear—that you’re capable, you’re available and you have enough pride to do the job at a satisfactory level, but not enough to ever be looking for any kind of promotion. Chances are they’ll hire you because they feel the same way about their job.
HOW TO TAKE BETTER PICTURES
There are good reasons why people very rarely look at pictures they’ve taken over the years. In some cases, they don’t want to be reminded that they use to weigh less than two hundred pounds and had hair, but the main reason is that the pictures were crappy to begin with. To avoid future disappointment with your albums, simply take better pictures.
Also, I bet that when you give anyone a photo you’ve taken, they either throw it away or put it in a drawer for a while and then throw it away. One of the ways to prevent that happening is to frame the photo first, but a cheaper solution is, again, just to take better pictures. Here’s how.
Use a camera. Not your phone. If your phone costs a hundred dollars, most of that is for the part that sends and receives calls. They didn’t secretly hide a thousand-dollar camera in there.
Use a good digital camera. The resolution is indicated by the size of the photo file the camera creates. Twelve megabytes is going to give you very detailed pictures. Two hundred kilobytes is going to look like you drew the picture with a tube of lipstick.
See the light. Here’s a shocker: when you look through the viewfinder, the brightest thing in the frame will be the brightest thing in the picture. So showing off Aunt Hazel’s tan by having her stand between you and the sun will not give you the best results. Make sure the thing you want to highlight is the thing that’s highly lit. That sure sounds like Aunt Hazel.
Put your glasses on. Even auto-focus can’t correct for you failing to get Aunt Hazel in the frame—or including the guy in the background making that insensitive hand gesture.
Take fewer pictures. I know, it’s the digital age and you can delete anything you don’t like, but that shouldn’t lower the bar. You’re way better off to take one good picture than a hundred bad ones. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but if it’s a terrible picture most of those words will be obscenities.
Show people the picture from the camera monitor before you waste time and money printing it. Watch closely for their reaction. If anyone says, “What’s that thing?” I suggest you delete the photo.
Know your subject. People with big egos want to be the focal point of a picture. Make sure you position them in such a way that their body is blocking anything that might otherwise be of interest. Conversely, people with low self-esteem or a high body-fat index need to be photographed inconspicuously. Have them stand beside (or behind) a giant sequoia.
No posers. Take natural pictures. Only the best professional photographers are capable of getting people to pose in a way that doesn’t make them look like they’ve been immortalized by Madame Tussaud. Catch them smiling or laughing or even just staring off, wondering why they came to your party. There’s an honesty in a natural photo that far outweighs the insult they may feel.
Know which subjects to avoid. No matter how well you light, frame and focus, there are certain things that will ruin any picture. It’s generally a matter of using your common sense, but if that’s not one of your strong suits, here’s some subject matter to keep clear of: outhouses, drunks, pastel leisure suits, vomit, roadkill, septic trucks, animals fornicating, XXXL spandex, hairy-backed men, hairy-fronted women.
Do nothing. This is the best advice I can give. Take as many pictures as you want and then do nothing with them. Just leave them in the camera. If somebody wants one, great. You can print it off or, better still, email it to them and let them waste their own ink and ultra-premium glossy paper. If nobody wants one, that’s also an important message. When you run out of space on the camera, delete the pictures that don’t have you in them—and will the camera to a relative who has always ignored you.
From the Hardcover edition.