Written by Billy “Shakes” Shakespeare, Staff Writer.
Recent college graduate Jimmy Johnson, 32, was hired by Inter-Tech Industries in Cincinnati, Ohio, this December following his mid-year graduation at a Midwestern comprehensive state university. Johnson was hired as an entry-level computer programmer, despite his application having large deficits in base-line qualifications for what the job posting advertised as “minimum.”
“Jimmy seemed like a really cool guy,” hiring manager Sebastian (Seb) Kissinger noted. “His grades might not have been the best… the courses he took, for that matter, might have not been the most relevant to the position. But I had a gut feeling that he was the kind of candidate that had far more experience overcoming adversity… you know, that a straight-A student just wouldn’t have.”
Johnson, who had enrolled as a traditional degree-seeking candidate out of high school back in 2002, just recently finished his degree program and walked in the midyear graduation for having completed degree requirements for the fall 2015 semester, almost 14 years later. Johnson’s degree, a B.A. in leisure studies with a minor in communication, was earned “by accident.” He elaborated, “I only had a few general education classes I still needed to take, and I guess I passed my final examinations.” He added, quite proudly, “I was drunk the whole time!”
Enrolling in college nearly two decades ago, Johnson opted to major in leisure studies because he “thought it would just be a good excuse to lay around all day, and to get my parents off my back about drinking all the time at the frat and not declaring a major.” To his surprise, however, the degree, which typically leads to careers in recreation and tourism industries and entails students learning to act on the behalf of tourists, not on their own, required a goodly amount of legitimate coursework. Many classes which Johnson earned F grades in had to be taken over for Cs. “You know what they say, ‘Cs get degrees,'” said Johnson describing his educational philosophy.
Johnson also earned a communication minor, thinking, “I know how to communicate. That ought to be super easy.” Again Johnson was misled by his own half-baked assumptions, finding that the communication studies department at his institution, too, required that students prepare college-level papers and take examinations that test their comprehension of the material covered in class. “It was a load of bullshit, if you ask me,” Johnson viscerally commented. The 32 year old college graduate finished his degree requirements “by accident,” accidentally submitting his application to graduation thinking it was a permit for holding frat parties past 4AM.
Frat president Chase Nightly, a senior himself, discussed fellow fraternity brothers’ opinions of Johnson’s standing in the fraternity and relief of his graduation: “He wasn’t even an integral part of the frat anymore. He had become kind of a joke,” adding, “I mean, Jimmy was a nice guy and all, and I’m sure he was a hella awesome partier in his day. But, you know, it was kind of creepy to see a 32 year old dude hitting on 18 year-olds day in and day out. I mean, the guy had been in the frat when I was a freshman, and was looking like he’d be there long after I graduated… and that was only a small part of his time here.”
Johnson, who earned a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (the precise minimum GPA to graduate) had himself been many times put on academic probation during the 28 semesters during which he was enrolled as a traditional, full-time student. “We were so proud to see Jimmy graduate!” Sandra Johnson, Jimmy’s mother, exclaimed. “We were worried he was going to drink himself to death… and to be frank, we had kind of given up on him. So it was a pleasant surprise to receive word that he’d be graduating.”
Johnson, who had graduated months ago, spent nearly an entire semester following his graduation applying to jobs. “I had applied to a lot of jobs that were in the field I was apparently a graduate of, but with little luck,” Johnson said. “So I decided to get creative. I thought, ‘I might have the degree for this job, but I might as well apply.’ I mean, what’s the worse that can happen, I not get the job? I hadn’t gotten a job yet anyway, so I figured it was worth a shot.”
Indeed Johnson wasn’t a good candidate on paper for the job advertised as “Entry-Level Computer Programmer,” which required a “bachelor’s in computer science, engineering, or related studies” and “5 years programming experience,” both of which Jimmy did not literally have. But despite his not being a very good candidate on paper, perhaps he was most certainly not a very good candidate in practice, either. Hiring Inter-Tech manager Seb Kissinger said,”I was really excited about hiring Jimmy. I figured we could train him on the job. I mean, I wasn’t the best student in college, either, so I felt a certain amount of camaraderie with him, you know?”
He added, “Jimmy wasn’t working out at Inter-Tech. I mean, we really needed someone who was going to give 110%. But Jimmy didn’t even give 100%. It seemed like he constantly only gave about 50%, maybe 60% on a good day. I guess I probably should’ve seen it coming.”
Johnson, who finally was fired for coming to work drunk for the third day in a row, what Kissinger called “the last straw,” was apparently still partying like he was in college. Kissinger, who was upset about Johnson’s refusal to “grow up” said, “I mean, I get it. I myself wasn’t a very good employee at Inter-Tech to start, either, and it was only a threat of losing my job that really forced me into line. Jimmy just wasn’t as average a guy as me, I guess.”
Johnson, on being asked what his plans are after being fired were, said, “I’ve considered grad school, you know, in something like English. I can speak English, you know, pretty good, so it’ll probably be really easy.” He added, likely to Nightly and other fraternity brothers’ dismay, “Plus, it’ll give me an excuse to extend the employment search for longer and prolong the party! I could still be a part of the frat, you know, if I got into the grad program here, as an alum.”
Billy “Shakes” Shakespeare, not to be confused with the great playwright William Shakespeare, is a travel writer, social media analyst, and former psych patient.