Movies, Work, Writing

Forget it Monkey, it’s Chinatown

There is a scene near the end of the movie Chinatown where the morally bankrupt millionaire Noah Cross (John Huston) tells private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) that deep down inside, most people are capable of some pretty rotten things.

Your Monkey is not quite as corrupt as old Noah Cross.

But he had a similar revelation recently after he took a long hard look at himself and discovered that he’s not just bad at writing cover letters, but downright terrible at it.

Of all the cruel ironies in a world filled with cruelty and irony!

To be a writer who can’t write a cover letter must be the worst of all.

Sure, your Monkey is OK at writing other things, but when it comes to cover letters, it is a jumbled mess of run on sentences, warmed-over cliches, and half-baked ideas that don’t speak at all to the specifics of the job or his personal accomplishments. No wonder human resources types are nauseated by his every entreaty.

How is anyone supposed to give this Monkey a chance when his first foot forward is a horribly awkward one?

A writer who can’t write a cover letter is like a dentist with a mouth full of fillings, a personal trainer who smokes, or a doctor who can’t stand the sight of blood.

It just doesn’t work.

And thus,  sadly, neither will this Monkey. At least not at any job he has to write a cover letter for.

Shameless self indulgence, Work, Writing

This is the Cover Letter I’d Like to Write

Your Monkey has tried, my friends. He has played the cover letter game the way it is supposed to be played.

He has used strong action verbs and assertive language to paint his accomplishments in the best possible light.

He has been confident and assured in describing his abilities and yet careful to portray himself as the consummate team player.

He has taken the time to craft each cover letter to the specifics of the job posting.

He has bent over backwards to appeal to prospective employers by flattering them about the importance of their business.

“It has been my lifelong dream to work in the publishing field.”

“It would truly be an honor to work in education.”

“My greatest thrill in life is to write direct, action-oriented copy for your faulty, environmentally-unfriendly products.”

But all of it has failed.

Perhaps it is because your Monkey is not being honest. Perhaps it is time for him to try a more direct approach.

Let’s get the truth out there.

Dear Sir or Mademoiselle,

I’m not sure why I’m bothering to write this, because I am sure you are not bothering to read this. I’m not even sure you have an open position in your (publishing/education/web development) company.

You probably just like to post attractive-sounding jobs to drive desperate copywriting Monkeys crazy on the weekend.

If you do indeed have an opening, you will probably fill it with some attractive young professional who drives a nice car and has a Facebook page filled with dynamic photos and “YOLOS” and takes weeklong vacations to Jamaica and knows how to play golf.

You will not fill it with an aging 30-something Monkey who wears the same four shirts each week (with one wild card for casual Fridays) and only has two pairs of pants that can truly be defined as work-appropriate.

The world doesn’t work that way.

But here is why you should toss aside those tried-and-true conventions and (to paraphrase Abba) take a chance on me.

Unlike the aforementioned young professional who will find themselves distracted by things like a meaningful life and romantic intrigue and other career opportunities, your humble Monkey applicant will have nothing better to do than focus 100% of his attention on this new position.

My obsessive need to please and all-encompassing fear of screwing something up is your key to ensuring maximum effort and minimum complaining. My inability to say no means that you’ll always have an enthusiastic volunteer for your next tedious and inconsequential project.

Plus, you can take sadistic pleasure in knowing that the merest indication that you are less than satisfied with my work will drive me into a weeklong state of despair and desperation.

And that my social anxiety will prevent me from feeling comfortable in the position for at least two years, meaning that I certainly won’t be looking for a new job any time soon, no matter what egregious advantages you take of me.

So what do you say? My personal shortcomings could be the key to your next big management win.

Enclosed is a resume that is sure to contain at least one typo.

Please give me a call at your earliest convenience (or your latest convenience, or three months from now when I will still be slavishly waiting by the phone). I look forward to hearing from you.


Grumpy S. Monkey