Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Job Search - Part One

My apologies to my dear readers, that I have not written a post in the past two weeks. I've been looking for a job. I haven't done that in quite some time. It is exhausting. I've been applying for anything that pays $12/hr or more, everything from light industrial/warehouse, to corporate copywriting. Ten to fifteen applications a day, online. A few highlights:

The first response came from an ad I responded to, for office work. It was an innocuous ad, nothing special. The response came by email, asking if I wanted to be Eugene's personal assistant. A representative for Baume de Mercier watches, he was in Switzerland temporarily, and needed someone to handle money transfers from clients. All I would have to do is receive the transfers in my account, and then transfer the money to another account. That's it. $2000/month, plus 10% of every transfer. Maybe 3-4 hours a day, he said. I just needed to send him all the relevant information. I looked up Baume de Mercier watches online. I emailed him back, innocent like, saying it sounded like a great deal - but if I can buy a Baume de Mercier watch online with a credit card or paypal transfer, why does money need to be transferred through my account? I didn't ask what he was really trafficking in. He did not respond.

The second response came from an ad about entry-level management. I'm not sure why I applied to that one, except they talked about integrity, and it being a family friendly environment. The gal who called was Asian, with a thick accent. We set up an appointment - I figured at the time, I haven't been to an interview in a while, it would be good practice - and she told me to look sharp. Then she told me where the meeting would take place, in an office building on the second floor across the street from the UofM campus, and then I knew it was a shitty call center job with a ridiculously high turnover rate because poor college kids couldn't stand it. I skipped that one.

The next one involved the selling of insurance. I have no interest in selling insurance, but I went to that interview because their niche market is unions, credit unions and associations, and the meeting was in Eden Prairie, one of the ritzier suburbs of Minneapolis, so I figured it was legit. I was also under the impression it would involve more the reviewing of documents, than selling insurance. And I figured, even if there's some selling, at least I'll be talking to union guys. I can do that.

I walked into the office and was surprised to discover everyone working there seemed younger than me. And there was contemporary yuppie music blaring from the front desk, out of two cheap computer speakers. The pretty girl at the front desk was wearing so much makeup I couldn't really see her face, and she averted her eyes as soon as I made eye contact. I interviewed with another young woman, when it became clear that it was all about sales. I didn't exactly hide the fact that I wasn't all that interested, but when she asked if I wanted to stay for the informative "second interview," I was like, ok, sure.

I sat down in a circle of, well, losers - from a success perspective. Not all of them. There was one recent college graduate, who hadn't been totally kicked around by the job market the past four years, though she likely had more debt than anyone in the room. Most of the guys were working class themselves. There was an army wife from Missouri who, when it came time to introduce herself, went on and on like she forgot she was talking. There was a mortgage guy who got out of the business because it had become so "distasteful." Everyone, including myself, talked about how much they wanted to make the world a better place - except the mortgage guy. After introductions, there was a canned speech by the maybe thirty year old Brian leading the meeting, while some dirt bag sat in the corner silently without introducing himself, and took notes about each of us. Then the Brian introduced the introductory video.

I thought it was a farce at first, like they were making fun of fat cat rich guys. Then I realized it was a compilation of the company yearly meeting, set to rock and roll. The leadership looked union, and talked union, except when they got to talking about how much money they made. There were profiles of this twenty something worth two million, and that twenty-something making $435,000/yr, etc. The last guy was the CFO, I think, congratulating his people for their honor and integrity, before he ended the video by saying something about how cool it was to be among so many rich people. I remember thinking, if these guys showed this video to any of the union guys they were trying to sell to, they'd never sell another policy. It might be the end of the business, which has been around for awhile - which wouldn't be good for existing policies of course. Maybe the insurance is good, I don't know. It must pay out, or word would get around. It should probably be cheaper than it is, though. The Brian wouldn't look me in the eye after that, and I didn't even say anything. The rest of the spiel was about how much money you could make. Quite the gravy train, to retire in ten years. Hard to get people to sell insurance, I guess.

I sat down with the girl from the initial interview, after, for the "third interview." She couldn't get rid of me fast enough. I didn't get a call back for the "fourth interview."

The job search got considerably better after that. I'll get to that in part two.


PS: My deepest gratitude, to those readers who have contributed to me recently. You kept the water on, preventing condemnation. Thank you so much - and blessings, for you and yours.




16 comments:

John D. Wheeler said...

I thoroughly recognize that experience. I know exactly who you are talking about, I worked for them for 6 weeks. It was quite intense and very, um, educational. As a matter of fact, I think my license to sell insurance just expired a little over an hour ago.

William Hunter Duncan said...

That's awesome, John D! The Universe speaks! I can't believe you lasted six months. Did you make $1,600 a week right out of the gate, like they say?

Tim Gockel said...

Well I would say good luck in the job search but I think it would be a shame to see you go back into their matrix. I would think your skills will be in demand in whatever the sustainable, post industrial society we create turns out to be. You should be working towards that now. Of course you have to make money in the mean time, I guess thats how the industrialists and financiers planned it, diabolical actually. Anyway as more people start looking for another way perhaps you can make a living carrying the torch for us to follow.

Martin said...

Hi William -

I sincerely wish you luck in your job search, and I understand the need to have income, but I also agree with Tim and would encourage you to start your own business - if you can, and at least on a part-time basis - along with hiring on somewhere. That way, when the 'job' evaporates (and it likely will) you'll have the business built to a point that may be able to sustain you.

William Hunter Duncan said...

Tim,

There is one job possibility that would elevate the work that I am doing to an entirely different level. More on that in Part Two.

Martin,

I put feelers out, about a gardening business. A month on Craigslist, a few weeks with flyers, and the response was exactly zero. I need a job now to prepare for the winter. This winter I'll reevaluate, about a business. Eventually, if I have a business, it will be based on whether or not I'm able to do to my house what I imagine, taking it of the grid. That could be big business, someday. I need to do it to a house first, though, starting with my own. If I do that, I imagine I'll have all the business I can handle.

John D. Wheeler said...

Um, I said six weeks, not six months, and that included the two weeks of training. I didn't make $1600 on my best week.

William Hunter Duncan said...

John,

Oops. My bad. But that's more like it, six weeks than six months. I was like, how...

trees-are-the-answer said...

love your work. you remind me of some dear friends i wish i could still live close to. they understand the muck of the world, but have the ferocious courage to still enjoy their lives in the face of it all. beautiful. i'm in a close knit little community just south of rochester... the community on a larger scale is beginning to discuss "leaning into change" ..which is a tip-toed way of saying 'shtf' days... just makes me glad i have a guy like you to follow online...knowing we're in the same region is reassuring for some reason. thank you for your thoughts.

William Hunter Duncan said...

Trees,

On the first link, Garden Beds and Food Forests, you'll find an email. Make a connection and perhaps if I make it down south on a mushroom or parsnip hunting trip, we can check in. Thanks.

Tim Gockel said...

WHD, The food forest whisperer (like luciddreams zombie whisperer) is a great idea for a business, with families falling out of the consumer paridigm and distaste growing with the industrial food chain, I can see a demand. As I mentioned in a previous post I lost my job of 26 years last fall and am staying home with the kids with dreams of turning my suburban acre into a food forest. I've discovered its a lot of labor, I'd hire you in an instant! Anyway, on a lighter note; I see Magic Mama is playing this weekend at the faeries festival in South Elgin Il. thats about 30 miles from us. I'm hoping to take the kids. Ive wanted to see her perform since reading your books. Peace,Tim

William Hunter Duncan said...

Tim,

If I were near, I'd take that offer up for sure. If you get to see Magic Mama, there, your kids will have a funky new view of the world. So will you, no doubt. Let her know I said Hi, if you make it. Let me know how it was. My best...

Tim Gockel said...

Well I loaded up the family and drove the 50 miles to the Faeries fest to see Magic Mama perform. The boys were dubious about a faeries fest but warmed up to it when they saw the homemade swords and shields and crossbows for sale. Magic Mama was about a minute into her first song when the severe thunderstorm hit. High winds and torrential rain sent everyone scattering for cover.We made it to the car drenched to the bone and hightailed it back to our air conditioning, television, and video games. Never even got to say hello to her and introduce ourselves. Oh well.

William Hunter Duncan said...

Tim,

Bummer.

Tim Gockel said...

Hey WHD check out my first blog http://paridisegardens.blogspot.com/ I also put a short video of the aforementioned thunderstorm. I think I'd better start getting my boys used to a postpeak lack of conveniences. You know you're a zombie when the highlight of your kids week is a trip to Target and the highlight of your wife and your week is a trip to Costco.

lee adams said...

Nice and interesting post to read on Job Search.

William Hunter Duncan said...

Lee,

Thanks, and welcome.