Thursday, June 4, 2009

Deadly Game: Job Hunt pt. 1

I would like to usher in my return to blogging by introducing a series called “Deadly Game: The post graduation job hunt.” Within this series you’ll be able to relive every excruciating, demoralizing, emasculating, doubt filled moment of my job hunt as if you were right there with me! Huzzah!

I know, I know, you’re thinking to yourself, “Francis, the horrible state of the economy, the collapsing job market and the general malaise that has spread over the country is nice and everything, but I’m looking for something that’s really depressing. Like ‘wash the sleeping pills down with cyanide’ type of depressing…can you supply that?” Unfortunately I cannot. As a young person with the future ahead of him and a relatively stable home and family life, I can’t provide the kind of pants-crapping terror you’ve become accustomed to. What I can do however, is make you grateful you didn’t decide to hang your hat solely on a BA in English.

So, let’s set up this first little gem with a little background. I’m graduating in August with a BA in English and a Writing Certificate (whatever the hell that means). I am fortunate enough to have a lot of positive influences. My father and sister have taken job finding to the level of art. If only job hunting was a paid profession, I wouldn’t need to worry about money because the family would be loaded. My sister was also kind enough to lend me her mentor, Rich Levin (or as he is known in our house “Saint Rich”), for help as a look through the vast wasteland of the current job market.

Despite this help, and the fact that I have been looking since March, I have yet to come up with a decent job, and I have had only one interview. This is the story of that one “interview.”

I had applied to a bunch of low level marketing jobs through GradStaff. The name sounded promising. I am a grad. I wanted to be on a staff. It felt like a slam dunk. A few of the places responded to my application and I was able to set up an interview with a company called Bald Eagle Marketing. It sounded professional, even patriotic, and so I was optimistic. The interview was 3pm on a Thursday, and as it turned out, the office was based in Wilmington, Delaware. Seeing as I live an hour outside Philadelphia, and I don’t have a car or driver’s license, (That’s right ladies, unemployed college grad with no car or license right here. You can start the line for this sweet piece of ass by my bike with the busted front tire) this posed a scheduling conflict for me.

So, dressed in a stunning suit, I caught the 12 pm train to 30th Street Station. I was supposed to catch a train there that would take me to Wilmington at 1:30. That train was 20 minutes late. No biggie, I had padded my schedule for just such a delay. I get on the train at 1:50 and we go on our merry way. Halfway through our merry way, the train stops and decides it’s done for the day, even though we are still two stops away from Wilmington. It did this at a station stop so 40 minutes after we were supposed to keep moving onto Wilmington I hear this announcement “Yeaahhhhh. So the train is not moving. We called for a SEPTA crew but we don’t know when they’ll be arriving or how long it will take them to fix it. So this train is done…yeahhh *click*” I get off the train, call the place, tell them I’ll be late and try to find a cab. Apparently though, I was in a no man’s land between PA and Delaware. Delware cabs told me it was illegal to go across the state line, pick me up and go back. Philly cab companies told me I was too far out of the city, and while I was at it I should go screwmyself.

So I waited, and waited, and waited for the next train to come through the station. When I finally reached Wilmington it was 4 pm. I was supposed to arrive at 2:15. I cried a little bit and then caught a cab to the office, which was WAYYYY farther away from the station than I had anticipated. I paid the cabbie the twenty dollars and went in for my interview.

I went into a cold, small office, filled with other applicants. I was told to fill out a form that required me to give info that was on my resume, which they also required me to have, and then I was briskly ushered into an office by a guy named Mike.

Mike seemed like a nice enough guy, but he didn’t exude authority the way you would expect a potential employer to do. Instead he took me into his office which was remarkably even colder than the waiting room and proceeded to read from a script at the speed of light. It was bad enough that he wasn't actually interviewing me; he didn’t even take the time to memorize the description of the mind numbing job he was explaining to me. the whole thing turned out to be a glorified canvassing job, and all that was accomplished was that he scheduled me for another interview with one of their "top reps" to help them with their job on a "training day", which sounded suspiciously like I was giving them a free day of work. I did my best to quell the instinct inside me that made me feel like painting the room in Mike's blood, and ended the interview amicably. I thought the worst was behind me. For the 40th time that day, I was wrong.

When I stepped out of the freezer they called an office into the sweltering heat of the day I realized something very demoralizing. I did not have enough money on me to get a cab back to the station and still afford the train ride home. So I walked. Three and a half miles down a highway with no shade or sidewalk. In a suit. A stunning suit, but a suit nonetheless. I spent most of that time cursing. Not at anyone or anything in particular, but I thought maybe a constant string of obscenities would make me feel better. If I had to guess, I think it just made me look crazier to all the people passing by in their cars.

When I finally dragged my sweaty ass up the stairs into Wilmington station I saw that my train back to Philly was 20 minutes late. Everything went white after that as an endless river of profanity flowed from me but when I came to I was on the train. With my day closing I called my housemate in Philly and asked him to pick me up from the train station. I realized our lease was up in two days and he would most likely be packing or moving his stuff, so I was thrilled when he picked up the phone and agreed.

Twenty minutes before my train arrived (horrible things happened every twenty minutes this day for some reason) I got a text from my housemate that read “Yo bro, sorry but I’m going to take a nap.” To which I could only reply “Seriously?” So once again, I walked.

When I reached my house, with blistered heels, chafed inner thighs and all, I walked into to find a sight that I can only describe as…frustrating. My jobless roommate, with no schoolwork to do, was sleeping on the couch in front of the T.V. in a house that had not one single item packed up and ready to move. As I looked down on his sleeping peaceful body a profound thought crossed my mind: “I could kill him right now, put his body outside, and no one would finger me for it.” Ultimately though, I decided against it as it might hurt my job search even more if I was charged with 2nd degree murder. That lucky bastard.


  1. If it makes you feel better (though I doubt it will), I once showed up at a similar "indentured servants posing as employees" workshop. I was in a room with 20 other desperate grads and told I'd be paid in sales commission to shill some sort of non-FDA approved supplement. I almost threw up. I left.

    To this day, I can't sell blubber to an Eskimo. BUT, I do have a full-time, well-paying job that does not make me want to throw up. The lesson: Rocchis are terrible salespeople. Listen to your gut. And use baby powder to cut down on the chafing.

  2. Hey, you can look at it this way as well. That was one day of (yes, horrible, horrible) hell. At my office, I have this fat dude who eats an ENTIRE bag of chips every day and doesn't know how to chew with his mouth closed. I'm listening to the inconsiderate son of a bitch right now.

    The working world - not so great.