Thursday, October 18, 2012

$9 An Hour: A Job Fair To Hell

Okay, so this may be a little over the top for a job fair.
But, It got your attention, didn't it?

- Wikimedia Commons -

For several months, I've been searching for a job that pays more than $9 an hour.  Now, I recognize that may sound rash to some, but let's look at the qualifications I offer.  
  1. Corporate Training Director with publications in Sales Training, Customer Retention, and Business Development Centers, and experience in training nationwide.
  2. Retail, Sales and District management positions for over 20 years
  3. Previous business developer and owner in Privacy Law Compliance
  4. Previous positions in commanding audiences in Stand-up Comedy and Radio Broadcasting
  5. Previous Military experience.
Six digit income figures were mine for many years.  So, should I, or should I not, be expectant of finding a position that offered more than $9 per hour?   Or, have I simply fooled myself all these years believing that I should earn more that a cashier at McDonald's?  

(Please don't answer that.  Allow me a few moments of self respect.  
It's become such a rarity.)

Hasn't our current President stated many times that he's bringing these type of jobs back?  Or, could that simply be political rhetoric?  Please, don't destroy my belief that a politician would only be saying something to get re-elected!  However would I live through tomorrow if this were the case?  

(Okay, damn it, I'm not that naive.)

You can imagine my enthusiasm when word came down the email pipes that a VA Job Fair would be held!  Finally, manufacturers that appreciate those that took years from their lives to protect the country and the businesses and people it stood for!  Plus, I couldn't wait to ride the Ferris Wheel!  

(Okay, I said that as an effort to make you smile.  
I know it was cheap, but it works on 9 out of 10 dentists.)

So, this morning I put the suit, tie, white shirt, and polished shoes on, blow dried my hair for the first time in ages, and let optimism rule my attitude as I drove to the Job Fair.  With me, I carried a leather pouch containing 20 resumes, folders for booth dweller information packets, and a pad on which to take notes.  I was ready.   

When I arrived, I found I was the only one in a suit and tie.  Oh, did I forget the white shirt and polished shoes?  Sorry.  I must be still in shock from what I saw.

Previous Job Fairs I participated in as a booth dweller provided mine was the proper dress.  Instead, I found girls and boys in T-shirts and the occasional Polo shirt, in shorts and tennis shoes.  

Has Ripvanrumple really been away that long?  My, I must be living in the past.  I thought the goal of the booth dweller was to exude success to inspire desires of the attendees to want to be employed by such a prestigious corporation.  

And, Yes Virginia, along with Santa Claus there's the Easter Bunny, 
Tooth Fairy, and Keebler Elves.

There weren't even booths set up.  Round tables encircled the center of the room with tiny, handwritten signs letting you know who the occupant was.  It was almost as though they were hiding from the attendees, and everything and body else.

Let's see, Job Fair... a place for employers to prospect for employees.  Why hide?  If you didn't want to be there, all you had to do was stay home!  That's right, these boys and girls were the new era of human resource people.  Folks that couldn't do the jobs they offered, but knew the right people to hire to do them!  

(Isn't that like saying, "I'm an expert that can't do a damn thing"?)

I began to wish I had stayed at home, too.  But, I shut down that tiny voice of negativity and believed it would be a journey that would lead to Nirvana!  

 (I guess I'd forgotten the band was no more.)

This was what was expected.  It was not what was found!
- Wikimedia Commons -

First stop, a chemical manufacturer.  "We're hiring general maintenance and temporary shift workers only.  Starting pay is $8.50 an hour.  You're probably looking for something more professional though, aren't you?"

"No shit!  I can't wait to dip my hands into dangerous chemicals and kill myself 
for such a deserving wage!"  Without a heavy heart, I moved on.

Next stop, a famous copier company.  "We're hiring customer service reps only at this time.  You can check our website for future office hiring.  If you're interested in the CSR position, it starts at $9 an hour."

"Yeah, I'm real interested.  By the way, have you read any good books lately?"

Next stop, a very famous Japanese Auto Manufacturer.  "This is the temp service that supplies all of our line workers.  We start at 9.50 per hour and hold it there for six months.  If we decide to keep you at that time, the wage goes up to $13 an hour."

"How often do you hire new people, every six months?  That would explain why you're here today.  Why pay the current zombies on the line $13, when you can fire them and get new ones for $9?  Yep, this is a place that can guarantee years of job security!  
Sign me up now!"

Please don't let my sarcasm depress you.  By this time, I was beginning to make a game of it to keep my sanity.  

(I know, I'm strange!  You're not the first to think that way!  
My mother knew it at birth (mine, not hers).

Of course, there was the typical lawn care table looking for lawn mowers and leave rakers for $8 an hour, as well as the construction crews that were hiring material helpers for $8 an hour.  

Does the expression "kid in a candy shop" sound a little out of place here?

On and on it went.  Unless you were under 36 years of age and willing to work for the DEA, there wasn't one position available for more than the $9.50 already described.

As I walked out, a person entering looked at me and asked, "Is there anything good in there?"

"Are you willing to work for $9 an hour?" I asked.

His response was, "Are you kidding?  I make more than that on unemployment!"

"Well, welcome to the way America treats its veterans"  I replied.  

When I started humming, the National Anthem, he followed me out.

I'd done something good for the day.  I'd spared him the agony of discovering the truth for himself.  I was proud of myself.  It must be God's will!

Driving away, I reflected upon what I had experienced.  At no time were any qualifications discussed.  At no time was I asked for a resume.  At no time was I treated with any type of respect.  It was as though the manufacturers and businesses thought they were offering the world in the salaries that couldn't support even the most frugal of families.

I'd been referred to seven home office websites to check for future openings, been completely ignored by those at seven tables, and found six tables completely empty as several folks were eating box lunches back in the corner.  

At least they got a free lunch.  

I decided to end it all and commit suicide.  It was my only course of action left.  So, I drove into Hardee's and purchased their $5 Big Bag lunch!  Two double cheeseburgers, fries, medium drink, and an apple turnover all in one bag.  I wondered to myself, "How do they do that?" 

 (No, not really.  That was said for comedic affect.)  

I knew death would be painful, but at least I'd be giving a $9 an hour employee something to do.  

God Bless 'em all!

©Copyright RCRUMPLE2012. All Rights Reserved


  1. enjoyed the Post.

    Made me think of a job that was worse than anything I had ever encountered, for reasons that made themselves clear only as I was sitting in a conference room at 11:30 pm on a Thursday night (it was a 3rd shift job)... the Shift Supervisor was explaining the usual things, punch in procedure, breaks, end-of-day routines...but the last item (which was the high point of his 'presentation') came when he looked at me and said in total sincerity, "oh yes, and one very important thing. No fighting"

    ... lol Hard to describe what went through my mind

    1. Clark - Glad you enjoyed the post! Supervisors are a strange bunch, especially when it comes to third shifts. They're usually mad at the world because they're not on first and want to take it out on everyone. Makes you feel wanted, doesn't it? lol So, how many times did you knock his head off in your thought? : ) Thanks for commenting!

  2. Richard, your post even though you were humorous about it, was so very true. I too have a master's degree in education to teach today's youth and can't find a job to save my life unless I want to make minimum wage and take said salary to pay for daycare for my two kids. When and how this happened is a bit of a mystery to me. I mean I know that it did, but it was such a gradual thing that it just kind of snuck up on all of us. Great post though and you are not alone by any means on this one, between myself as I stated and my own father too (who also is a veteran) now working at Lowe's for minimum wage because he exhausted all his unemployment benefits and needs to pay bills like the masses. When the hell our government is going to wake up is beyond me and just is so frustrating. Thanks Richard for always telling it like it is!!

    1. Janine - I find it best to tell the truth as lawyers are as bad to deal with as the folks at job fairs. lol It's an absolute atrocity that income levels have dropped so low. There are several reasons (Job to China creating an overabundance of workers, etc.) but employers are cheating the people that slave for them in this day and age. I hate to say it's time for labor unions to stage a comeback, but it needs to occur before more states make them illegal. (It's already happening, which is scary.) Thanks for your comments, and always for your support.

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  3. RIch, this was hilarious, but so true, as Janine said. My empathy for the situation. In Singapore, the competition for jobs is even fiercer because of our small size. Add that to employers looking out for themselves in all ways, we get a monumental disaster! Thanks for sharing this!!

    1. Michelle - Glad you enjoyed. The world is in a funk right now, there's no doubt. Something needs to happen or a mass revolution may take place. Many Thanks!

  4. Guess you better get crackin' on the book and sell a million copies so you can retire to that tropical island far away from the rat race. :)

    1. Terrye - I've been working on it. Sometimes, the far fetched ideas are the only ones that work! Wouldn't a tropical island be nice? Got me thinking now! Many Thanks!

  5. Oh my is that what it's come to?

    Dear - I couldn't get a job in the real world...I am a female who is over 40 and I stayed home with the kids for several years. Apparently that translates to "I've had a lobotomy and am absolutely useless.". So I just made up my own damn company! Lol

    1. Kelly - Been there. My problem was I based it on the Federal Government enforcing the law. When it was announced that all enforcement funding had been given to terroristic activities committees, my six digits dropped like a rock. lol C'est le Vie! Thanks for the comments! Greatly appreciated!

  6. take this as a compliment. I wanted to shoot myself when I was done. :)

    1. Julie - You have found my present state of mind. lol No, actually I had fun in the misery. There wasn't anything else going on! I did regret my visit to Hardee's though. Fell asleep at 2:30 and didn't wake until 8:30 p.m. Fast food and I just don't get along. Thanks for commenting! Glad you enjoyed!

  7. Gosh...Richard you said it all in such a hilarious way but the whole scenario is so depressing my friend.

    Myself a masters in biochemistry can't find a suitable job for over 5 years now. Anyways, gotta keep trying and I wish you the best!

    I agree with Terry since most of us sail in the same boat, you could write a book on it and am sure it would be a hit :) Good luck!!

    1. Ruchira - So good of you to visit! It truly makes one wonder what is happening throughout the world. I think big business needs a shake up, and that would probably create a domino affect to governments. It's not a great situation to be in, as you're well aware. Good luck, my friend! Many Thanks!

  8. How sad is it. My husband went through the same thing when he tried getting a job out in California. Sadly, no one thought about professionalism on either side. He was the only one even remotely dressed up like he was going to an interview. Sadly some of these jobs were train and you must earn. Yeah - right - been that road before. I wish this country had the decency to hire the vets and hire those at a wage that isn't high school part time job. Now it isn't a wonder why people are staying on unemployment - why not - they make more unemployed!

    1. Stacy - Good to see you! It's tough right now for everyone. However, we have to keep our chins up and keep trying. To give up is failure, and I've never accepted that as an option. It's true though, one makes $10 an hour on unemployment, and has no expenses (gas, cleaning, etc.), so where's the motivation? Many Thanks!

  9. Rich, Hilarious post, even though it was also so true! I have an MBA in marketing from one of the most prestigious business schools in the country (not bragging, just making a point) and as a stay at home mom for the past 14 years, I'm screwed. Luckily, I don't want to go back to the business world, but I'm still screwed, b/c I should have become a writer a LONG time ago. Oh well, better late than never...(sorry if this comment is partly incoherent but been up since 5:30am)

    1. OhBoyMom - Thanks for stopping in! Glad you enjoyed the post! It's a tough market right now. It's almost like big business set it up this way to keep wages down (let's see, big business pays lobbyists who pay politicians who make laws about overseas manufacturing agreements.... hummmmm! We might be on to something here.) Get some sleep! Many Thanks!

  10. This would be funny if it weren't true for so many--we are the generation of the underemployed

    1. Audrey - Thanks for stopping by! It's a sad fact, there is no doubt. Yet, to lose my sense of humor about it would only allow depression a foothold. One has to fight it anyway they can. Many Thanks!

  11. fabulous! lol
    Times are so different now. It's sad and a bit scary. I'm old school though, and like you, I was always taught to dress to impress whenever going job hunting.

    1. Debbie - Thanks for visiting! I was truly amazed at the complete lack of professionalism displayed. If some of the company's represented would have had higher ups visit, there would have had to of been some upset people. Or, maybe not. Maybe they just don't care anymore. Many Thanks!

  12. Don't get to discouraged you are definitely worth more, employers just know there are a lot of desperate job seekers in the market right now and their taking advantage of it. My old employer is a close friend and he informed me that he was making more money than ever and hiring guys on at 2 dollars less an hour than what he was 8 years ago when I worked for him. why/ cause he can. He's loving the recession.

  13. Scott - Thanks for stopping in! It's a scary time we're going thru. With more and more legislation coming up to ban any type of labor resistance organization, big business is tipping the scales heavily in their favor. I'm not down, just somewhat realistic about what's going on. Doesn't present a very good picture of the future for the children we've told to work hard and receive the fruits of your labor. Seems a bunch of pits is all that's available for them. Many Thanks!