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!

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