Help Wanted, Desperately

Help Wanted, Desperately

by Ariel Horn

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Help Wanted, Desperately by Ariel Horn

Seven months, three weeks, two days -- that's exactly how long Alexa has to establish herself in an exciting career. At twenty-one, she's determined to gallop into "the Real World with a Real Job, a Real Life, and a Real Future." Moving in with her parents and commuting from New Jersey into Manhattan is not an option -- and if she fails to find serious employment before the time runs out, it's off to teach English on the Third World island of Majuro for $100 a month!

But what jobs are available for an inexperienced young woman in the Big City? Writing headlines about yeast infections for Trend magazine? Sniffing deodorants for a living? Earthworm breeder? Phone sex operator?

The Real World, apparently, is not such a welcoming place. With employment opportunities growing increasingly fewer and more bizarre daily, should Alexa consider seeking some stability by moving in with her boyfriend Jared? Between her participation in a clinical sleep study for cash and her desperate attempts to become the voice of a cartoon cat in a last ditch effort to gain "respectful employment," Alexa hardly knows anymore. Maybe what she's really looking for is in the last place she ever thought she'd find it ...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062011633
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/29/2010
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
File size: 406 KB

About the Author

Ariel Horn is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many of the anecdotes in the book are based upon her own real-life experiences in her desperate attempts to find post-graduation employment. Ariel currently lives in Manhattan, where she continues to search for a life. If you find one, please call. Help Wanted, Desperately is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Help Wanted, Desperately

Chapter One

Panties and Pride

7 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days:
The Countdown Begins

Call me naïve, but I hadn't expected fondling crotchless panties to be an important part of getting a job. A crotchless lifestyle had just never entered the picture.

In my unemployed, semi-delusional state, I had somehow anticipated that getting a job would be easy -- that having someone pay me to do something I loved would be this simple five-minute endeavor that ended in my having a really swanky office, my parents boasting to their friends in the produce aisle about what a success I had become, and mountains of cash lining my bank account.

Under no circumstances had touching someone else's panties factored into my delusions of grandeur.

But last week, the second day of the first month of my senior year in college, that's exactly where I found myself: sitting in an electric blue armchair in the midtown Manhattan offices of Trend magazine, in a room decorated with leopard carpeting and magenta walls, surrounded by stick-thin thirty-something women brainstorming the top ten reasons why every woman should own a pair of sexy, satin, lacy, crotchless fuchsia panties.

Not being an owner of sexy, satin, lacy, crotchless fuchsia panties myself, I was at a loss for words. After all, having been raised in New Jersey, I come from the crotch-full cotton world, where "sexy" is a word we use to describe particularly clean strip malls.

As I sat wondering why thong-wearing fashionistas would even vaguely considered hiring un-sexy, cotton-crotched me, the lanky editors surrounding me erupted in a chorus of raunchy reasons why every self-respecting twenty-something sex kitten should own a pair of fuchsia crotchless panties. Apparently, I was trapped in some sort of alternate universe where women not only enjoyed but endorsed a perpetual wedgie.

Panting with the sort of unbridled excitement frat guys dream of and sorority girls fake, a platinum blonde jumped triumphantly from her chair and gasped, "I've got it! Put the 'ass' back in 'sassy'!"

A sullen redhead yawned and responded, "Too much like 'Put the Oh! Back in Orgasm.' "

The platinum blonde sat, devastated. "Ever since we did that depilatory cream article 'Hairless Wonders," I just can't come up with good cover titles anymore ... "

Before I could even consider the painstaking hours of undoubtedly uncomfortable research that would go into such an article, Catalina, the long-legged, long-haired, and long-winded managing editor who would be interviewing me for the position of editorial assistant at Trend magazine, invited me to join her in her office.

As she catwalked down the hallway, Catalina's wildly curly black hair danced behind her and her dark purple dress hugged her amazingly (and surgically?) toned body -- an ass that boldly and smugly screamed its proud ownership of crotchless panties. I wondered whether she was born with the ability to sway her hips like that or if she was taught to do it at the same place she bought her pointy, knee-high black leather boots. Catalina's ass continued to shake in a way that she probably knew made men want to hump her -- in a way, I should add, that simply made me look -- when I tried it -- like I desperately needed to find a toilet.

Catalina turned the corner, ushered me into her office, and sat down in her plush pink leather armchair. Then, she simply, unabashedly, and confidently stuck her hands down the front of her dress and began to rearrange the position of her breasts.


"You really have to push them up and together if you want them to look perky all the time. And you need to position the nipples so they both face front at the same angle. Take it from me -- I didn't get to the top of the fashion world with uneven nipples. Free advice."

Self-consciously, I tried to sneak a peek at my own chest before Catalina could.

"The left nipple is about three centimeters lower than the right, and it's not facing directly in front of you either. Didn't you think about that before you came on this interview?"

Apparently, I hadn't considered how crucial evenly spaced nipples would be to my professional success.

Catalina repositioned her nipples, rearranged her pink tulips and followed my eyes as they glanced around her glamorous office. It was just as stunning as I imagined my own postgraduation office would be, filled with awards, sleek metallic furniture and framed brilliantly colored magazine covers.

Witnessing my utter amazement and jealousy (over the room ... not the nipples), Catalina snapped her makeup case closed and said, "Oh, it's nothing really. Don't gawk, it's unbecoming. I suppose this, and that, and everything else ... Why, they're just the trappings of being a fabulous writer, doing fabulous things, and going to fabulous places. Would you like that sort of thing?"

I nodded mechanically, mesmerized by the fabulous fortune that had fallen on this thoroughly moisturized woman. She was right: There was no way any other job, even teaching kids on some tropical island in the South Pacific, could compare to this.

Catalina nodded back. "I bet you would." She sipped her fruit water and then tilted her head, her black curls falling like perfect little coils over her perfect blue eyes lined by her perfect black eyeliner. "Could you lean in? I want to look at something."

I leaned in toward Catalina, and she gently wrapped her warm, manicured, moisturized fingers around my chin. She turned my head to the left. And then to the right. Releasing my face, she said matter-of-factly, "Have you ever considered a nose job? You could be pretty with a nose job. Your face, as it is right now, just, well, just says 'I need a nose job' to me. Actually, a nose job or a chin tuck. You've got a little bit of an overbite."

With a dentist for a father and a middle-school career tortured by braces and then a watermelon-patterned retainer, I would have to say that hurt ...

Help Wanted, Desperately. Copyright © by Ariel Horn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Help Wanted, Desperately 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Georgann Woods More than 1 year ago
This book was not good, not funny AT ALL, wondering how some readers seem to think so?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got the book through the great reviews that the readers had given. Next time I will reconsider. Yes the book had its funny moments, but it was B-O-R-I-N-G. I kept reading it to see what was going to happen at the end and to my surprise it was horrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The heroine is trying to decide if she will teach for a non profit. Even after she has agreed to work for the non profit AND has theairline tickets in hand, she can't decide if she is going. I know it is only a book, but the idea of stringing along the non profit agency AND possibly wasting their funds through the nonuse of the airline tickets really pissed me off. The ending was ridiculous. The writer shows a lot of promise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, I read in the middle of the night. The fact that I laughed out loud so much at this book has no doubt got my neighbors wondering about me. So be it. The book is worth it. All in all, it's a light read, not necessarily life changing, but great for the abs!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this up only because I liked the cover, but soon discovered a true treasure inside the pages. Horn is clever, witty, and her story is hilarious! I only feel bad for her that she actually had to live through some of this stuff. This is a great read, and really funny. I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book which I bought for my daughter but actually enjoyed myself. The author has a great way with language, and uses it for great comedic effect. If you need a laugh (and I know I did), this is good for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutely loved this book! so fun, and a great read for the subway-- perfect little episodes to read one by one. horn's got a really unique voice that's funny and real-- can't wait to read whatever she does next! (ps: i think the other reviewer messed up with the star system since she thought it was 'amazing' but gave it one star)
harstan More than 1 year ago
The countdown to employment has begun for New Jersey¿s Alexa Hoffman. The twenty-one year old knows she has seven months, three weeks, two days and a few nanoseconds to find a job that will enable her to enjoy Manhattan with her boyfriend Jared. If she fails to make it in Manhattan by the time her self imposed clock runs out, her next choice is teaching on some remote Pacific island Majuro.--- Alexa is ready to shake the world or at least the Big Apple. Would you believe a run down roach infested apartment requires an advanced degree in higher math to calculate rent. She applies for an assortment of positions that run the gamut from deodorant sniffing to participating in a sleep test. Alexa feels depressed as she believes she must make it in Manhattan. As her frustrations and worries mount with one failure after another, Jared becomes irritated with his beloved and they squabble. Her desperation starts driving them apart as Alexa considers becoming a Majuro.--- At times readers will commiserate with Jared as Alexa¿s shtick wears on the audience and her boyfriend. However, her antics in Manhattan as she jumps from one employment scenario to another turns amusing and raises the deep social issue of a lack of opportunities for recent graduates. Alexa¿s desperation to obtain gainful employment as she tries to take Manhattan by storm will leave fans laughing especially at her interviews and her fuddling thorough various work. Readers will enjoy this help wanted 'lessons learned' (at the end of each chapter) chick lit tale.--- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Funny, entertaining and realistic. Loved the whole thing-- recommend it to anyone who needs a laugh.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a lot, and I really liked this one better than many others in the genre. It was laugh-out-loud funny and yet thoughtful too. It would make a great stocking stuffer for the holidays.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing, there are no words to describe it, i think ms.horn is a wonderful writer and i cant wait to read her second book