Sunday, February 17, 2013

BUS STORY # 328 (Get A Job Sha Na Na Na)

Job Corps Works by busboy4
Job Corps Works, a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

There’s just the two of us waiting for the bus.

He looks to be in his 30s. He’s got a bike, some heavy but well-kept work shoes, a nice pair of khakis, and a jacket that looks a lot like mine. 

It’s the jackets that start the conversation.

He’s working for a temp agency right now.  He’d been looking for a job, but it’s tough.  He’s filled out he doesn’t know how many job applications, submitted his resume on line... But unless there’s that personal contact… He hasn’t been able to land an interview.

You either have to know someone, or they have to know you, he tells me.

He’s worked for the temp agency before.  He’s got a strong work ethic – “At the end of the day, it’s got my name on it, and I want it done right, no matter what they’re paying me” – and the agency now has businesses that request him by name.

I mention that is the way a lot of people end up getting permanent jobs.  The businesses they temp for see what kind of worker they are and offer them a job.

He says that’s true, but there are some difficulties.  First, he is actually an employee of the temp agency.  If someone wants to hire him, they would have to “buy out” his contract from the agency.  Considering that they pay “a fortune” to the agency while he gets minimum wage, it might be worth their while in the long run: they’d end up paying less salary, and he’d end up with a higher one.  The problem is that much of the work he does is cyclical.  He’s not needed full time.

He says he took some time off after his last job and made job-hunting his full-time job.  That’s when he filled out all those applications and submitted all those resumes he was referring to earlier.  But after a few weeks and no interviews or offers, he called up the temp agency and went back to work.

He says it’s pretty difficult to job-hunt when you’re working a day job.  I have no trouble grasping that.  It’s pretty difficult to do anything – see a doctor, go to the bank, wait for an electrician who’s coming sometime between one and five – when you’re working full time.

Throughout this conversation, I become aware that there is no trace of whining, or of anger or bitterness or cynicism in his voice, his face, his demeanor. He actually smiles a lot, and impresses me as a quintessentially happy man.

I’m thinking if this guy could just get an interview...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

He sounds like a great guy who would be an asset to whoever gives him a job.
I wish him well.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Gene said...

Nicely told and I'm rooting for him!

9:02 AM  

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