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So, I'm looking for work. I've been teaching English to students in Japan and I continue to do so, but the nighttime hours really bite the wax tadpole, plus it's hard to get enough hours to pay the bills. I'm tired, and it's rough to be underemployed.

I recently interviewed with a gentleman who runs a company here in my town. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

My wife saw a "Now Hiring" banner on the outside of a building a while back and mentioned it to me. I called the number, and they suggested I bring a resume down, so I did.  The next week i got a call from "George," the owner. He wanted to talk.

I gave him some of my background, told him what I was looking for, and expressed to him that I was not looking for a position in sales or marketing. He invited me down to chat with him.

George spent about 30% of his time showing me his operation, but I found it odd that he spent another 30% selling me on selling, and basically making the point that all business is driven by sales. Red flag No. 1.  The other 30% of the time he spent selling me on the fact that my skill set (quite extensive, if you know me) was basically worthless to him, and that I'd be considered 'dead wood' in his organization until I began to show results. As a result, I should expect minimal compensation. Red Flag No. 2.

After taking a battery of rather odd psychological tests, I returned the following week for another interview. George outlined the responsibilities he had in mind for me, which included organizing and running a retail outlet for his products, increasing his eBay sales, supervising his two hired hands, learning a new accounting system and implementing it, and supporting his sales people in the field.

As for compensation, he told me that several of those areas would have commissions attached to them (that sure sounds like a sales job to me!), but that my base rate would be: minimum wage. George explained that this was his way of "incentivizing" me. Minimum wage in Utah is $7.25, which means an annual salary of about $15,000. By the dessicated skull of Mogg's grandfather, ain't nobody got time for that. Red flag? No, that was a flipping daisy-cutter.

The last time I earned minimum wage was in 1972, as a college student in my first full-time job at a pizza joint - for you history buffs, it was $1.65 at the time - and when I took early retirement from my career in 2006, my salary was approaching... well, let's say that for Utah I was probably in the top 10% of wage-earners.

What would have been more ethical from the get-go would have been to say, "Thanks for your interest, but all I have at the moment is positions in sales and marketing." I could have said thanks for your time, and moved on.

What torqued my cork is that George thought I was stupid enough to be manipulated into taking a job that I had specifically said I wasn't interested in, and pliable enough to accept his horsecrap about my skills being worthless. The fact that he even offered me a job was an indication that he thought he could profit from having me around; I learned long ago that if a salesman sells you something, at any given price, he's either making a profit or the sale benefits him in some way.

The next day I called him back and politely told him:


Of course, those were not my exact words - but I did say in no uncertain terms that my skill set was not to be had at fire-sale prices. Hey, if I want minimum wage, I'll go work at Walmart - at least there, they make no pretense about the work being anything but mindless drudgery.

In the end, I'm glad I decided to pass on this "opportunity." I would not have enjoyed the work, and i would have felt like a milquetoast sellout. Serously, I'd rather flip burgers than work for someone that disingenuous and tightfisted.


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Apr. 3rd, 2013 09:29 am (UTC)
Been there, done that. Here's the seven deadly sins of people's attitude toward you when you're unemployed:

7) Everybody thinks it's your fault
6) Everybody condescends to you
5) "" ""'s an expert on finding work
4) "" "" suggests completely uninformed, unhelpful ideas
3) "" "" fails to realise that no work = no pay and how limiting this is on everything, including your job hunting
2) "" "" expects you to fall back on work contacts, and experience that you were never able to acquire


1) The only people who are interested in "helping" you are those who offer commission work, especially if it involves sales.

And did I ever have that. Again, and again, and again.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 05:42 pm (UTC)
I kinda resent the listing of 4 and especially 5. When you have a job and an acquaintance doesn't, you feel like crap for not suggesting something. Better accidentally unhelpful than callous.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
Resent it all you like, all of the suggestions I received during the eight years I was performing temp work given in an over-confident manner and from people who didn't have any real comprehension of the difficulty of overcoming unemployment. All of them were forcing their advice on me when I didn't ask for it. It was one of the most infuriating experiences of being without a permanent job.

My parents and a pastor from my church believed that it was still possible to simply walk up to an employer and ask for a job, as (apparently) could be done during the 1950's. Cold canvasing was something I had to do anyway under the terms of my welfare payments and the only positive thing that ever came of it was 2 days of temp work from one company.

I had a bus driver late one night when I was shopping who went into a lengthy sermon about offering myself for volunteer work to gain work experience, until I finally managed to get a word in edgeways and explain that public indemnity laws make an employer liable if a volunteer is injured in an accident while on their premises. The only volunteer work exempt from this law is working for charities, but the tasks are so simple that rarely do you gain proper experience from them that will look good on a C.V.

One person at a railway station started blathering on telling me to "go around to all of your friends in the industry" before I managed to cut in and explain that I was straight out of college and *had no* friends in the industry. For goodness sakes I was only 22 and worse still I looked like I was 18. Why would he assume I already had a network of contacts?

A staff member at the C.E.S actually asked me "Well where do your parents work? Couldn't they find you a job?" For pity's sake.

Several people said that I should overcome my housework and shopping chores by "get yourself a wife!" Those exact same words each time. That was kind of creepy.

One especially naive woman believed that by moving out of home I was "just making it harder on [myself]."

One jerk I got stuck next to on a train during the 3 hour journey between Sydney and Newcastle asked me about the content of my C.V,
and seemed disapproving of the emphasis I'd made on tailoring my resume to fit in with the qualities that prospective employers are looking for. He then entered into a story that involved him sitting on a beach, and he emphasised how when a couple of women bent down to talk to him their breasts were hanging forward due to gravity. Being on a train full of people this was embarrassing so I had to cut in and ask what the bottom line of his story was. Disgruntled he replied that I should "just be myself." That was a real what-the-Hell moment.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
OK, I wouldn't have dispensed any of that advice. And "Be yourself" and "Believe in yourself" are the laziest morals I know.
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:20 pm (UTC)
problem is that #1 job is a sales job:- selling yourself, as in if you don't have (or can't fake) confidence in yourself then it is visible and prospective employers shy away.

And you have to be yourself- you'll be no damn good in the long term trying to fake someone else.
Apr. 5th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC)
Well spake!
Apr. 3rd, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
In 1934, my mother had caught a ride with friends from Salt Lake to New York City. With $38.50 in her pocket, she set out to find work as an actress. When she was down to her last few dollars, she walked into G. Schirmer's music store, and when a nice lady asked her if she needed some help, she replied, "Yes, you can give me a job." Although not common practice, it actually happened, and that was mother's salvation while she pursued her career, ultimately becoming a very successful radio, stage, and commercial actress for decades. Unfortunately, times have changed.
Apr. 5th, 2013 10:40 am (UTC)
A book I was reading about a wildlife volunteer who emigrated to Australia some time in the 1940's said that "if you stood in front of a shop window for more than three minutes it would often attract the shopkeeper who then asked if you were looking for work." Times certainly have changed.

Adjusting for inflation, how much would USD$38.50 in 1934 be worth today?

You've piqued my interest about your mother's career. Was she on stage, screen, box or radio? What roles did she play?
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
My uncle as recently as the mid 1990s suggested that I could get a job with Thames Water as easily as he had in the days when he was there.
Wondered why he was so insistent (would have come to blows if he'd been a younger man)
He died of Alzheimers
I don't wonder now.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
*sees hovertext* Oh, I'd've read "GFY" as "Good for you" or possibly "God forgive(s) you." Now I'll wait to see a texting comedy of errors along those lines.

I've seen your use of "bite the wax tadpole" before. Knowing its origin, I especially like its application to ESL teaching.
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
Theres no shortage of smarta$$ would be employers who view human resources as being there to stripmine....

need another engineer? shake the banyan and see what drops out of it....

You have my sympathy though, I've had "time and no money" and "money and no time"
on the whole I prefer the latter.

our foxaroo friend has it right on the money.
Apr. 5th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
I'm turned off by the term Human Resources anyway. Resources are there to be used up. I think the old-fashioned "personnel" department is a far sight better.
Apr. 4th, 2013 04:30 pm (UTC)
I would rewrite the card as an invitation to auto fornicate.

When they ask you what you mean, you tell 'em.


The Old Wolf

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