It’s approaching a year since I was laid off and I still haven’t found a full time job. It is very frustrating.
I haven’t had a lot of leads, either. I think the reason is because people look at my sports background and immediately dismiss me.
I did get a call a few weeks back, though, from a drilling magazine published by the International Association of Drilling Contractors.
It was a brief interview, and they scheduled for me to take a writing test for them later in the week. They were going to send me some material and I had three hours to write a 500-word story and send it back to them.
I don’t know much about oil and drilling, but I have confidence in my writing skills. I figured writing a 500-word story in three hours wouldn’t be too difficult.
Boy was I wrong.
Here was the email.
As we discussed on the phone, we are evaluating applicants’ writing skills by having each person write a short article for us. Attached you will find the PDF of an actual presentation that was made by James Wicklund, principal and portfolio manager for Carlson Capital, on 25 August in San Antonio at the 2011 IADC Well Control Conference of the Americas & Exhibition. Via the link below you can download an audio recording of the presentation:
Please use the PDF and recording to compose a 500-word news article for our website.
Keep in mind that our readers are people who work in the drilling business, all over the world with no geographical limitations. We are not looking for a summary of the presentation but a news article highlighting the most interesting information that’s most relevant to our readers.
I’ve also attached our style guide. You can ignore No. 1 and 2, but please observe rules 3-7.
This is a timed test, so you have until 1pm to e-mail the completed article back to me.
The name of the PowerPoint presentation was, “Market Outlook or ‘Holy Crap, What’s Happenin’?'” It was 20 pages of line graphs and financial figures.
The audio file was 40 minutes long and was supposed to go along with the PowerPoint, though it kept jumping around and was difficult to keep up with.
As for the “style guide,” it had rules such as no punctuation after everything but the end of sentences. It also called for different abbreviations for units of measure.
Rule No. 7 was, “Other than items 3, 4 and 5 above, Drilling Contractor conforms to Associated Press style.”
So basically, other dismissing the major rules of AP style, follow AP style. Uh, OK?
It took me over an hour to get through the 40-minute audio file. It took another hour to write out quotes and try to understand what this was talking about. Oil drilling and the stock market aren’t exactly two subjects I have a lot of knowledge on.
That gave me an hour to get the test complete. I made it by 10 minutes.
For anyone that cares to read what I wrote, here is the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Jyr_cvMkdOpFYPgmsZiJ9GhGYtLcD5KcB5dZpaH1Hh8/edit
I wasn’t sure if this was what they had in mind. However, I did the best I could, which is all I could control.
I never heard back from them, even when I sent an email for at the very least a critique on my article. Oh well.
So the search continues. I just hope I don’t have to take any more tests like that one!
• The Penn State controversy is sickening. However, those saying Penn State should forfeit the season are being ridiculous.
I agree that Paterno should resign immediately. He shouldn’t be allowed in the stadium Saturday.
However, why cancel the rest of the season and punish the players? They weren’t even in middle school when a lot of these accusations occurred.
The innocent shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a guilty few.
• Nice win for the Bears on Monday night. They now own tie-breakers over Philadelphia, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. That is huge for a potential wild card berth.
• A lot of good video games have already been or are about to be released. I will probably be resuming my GameFly subscription soon.
• Whoever laid out the Wal-Mart need my house needs to be shot. I cannot find anything in that store. Very frustrating.
• Finally, I’m sure many of you have seen William Shatner’s version of “Rocket Man.”
Well, there is a Shatner video, which trumps that classic. Here is William Shatner’s version of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!