Friday, March 24, 2006

Regarding The Further Misadventures Of Our Unlucky Narrator As He Unsteadily Traipses Through The Unforgiving Vagaries Of The Employment Market

TODAY I WAS INFORMED that I didn’t get three jobs. That’s right, I was informed by three separate organizations that they “were going in another direction” so “good luck in your job search” & “thanks for” blah blah blah…Try not taking that news personally. If you do you’re a better man or woman than me, your hero. I mean, I know people are getting jobs & being hired. Is it possible I’m not as alluring, attractive and dynamic a job candidate as I’ve been led to believe? C'mon, let's be serious. So has the world just gone absolutely stark raving loco? That’s probably a closer approximation of the truth. But I digress.

Let’s start at the beginning, or rather the end of last week. Get a call from the agency woman, who leaves a message on my cell telling me she might have a big break for me in the medical field, so I call back & she gives me the details: it’s a 4-day gig, you call doctors offices & pretend to make appointments, rating the people you speak to on phone manner, response time, professionalism, etc. You’ll be starting with 4 other new people, it’s so & so an hour, etc. So I say, great, & I hang up thinking, indeed, that is a good break, because I really had made up my worried mind not to go back to the dreaded market research job that very afternoon. So you’re saying, what’s so bad about that? O you, my naïve reader; do you really think anything is to stay positive for long? Have you not been following along?

I hear the distinct melodic tones of my cell ring and note that it’s the agency woman calling back. Sorry, Barry, she says, my mistake: it’s not 4 days of work for you, it’s one day each for the 4 of you. Iit’s one day, Wednesday, sorry about that. Oh well, I think, we’ll carry on, move past it, stay positive; at least it’s a paycheck down the road. But by now it’s too late to go to my lousy night job. Fuck it anyway…

Get the Daily News on Sunday, which doesn’t have a bad help wanted section when you compare it to the Times section, which is thin & paltry & contains mostly jobs that, shall we say, are not a good fit for me. I pick a telemarketing gig that promises 15 an hour plus bonuses, part time. I call on Monday & leave a message & the guy calls back & leaves a message & then I call back again just before 5 & this time leave my cell number & a short time later I get a call & he wants me to come in Tuesday for an interview. So at 2 I go in & meet Doug & fill out an application then meet with Doug. It’s the usual interview bullshit & he seems like a nice enuf guy, it’s just him & some older guy in the office & he’s only looking to hire one person to make appointments for him to meet clients & if he gets the business you get a bonus. Then he tells me to sit behind his desk & he wants me to get on the phone & he’ll pretend to be a client & he goes out & closes the door & I’m on the phone not knowing what the hell I’m supposed to say or do or what this Doug guy expects me to say not knowing fuck about his business. But I guess it’s a test & I haltingly throw out some bullshit, totally winging it & then the Doug guy comes back & says I did okay, he’ll call me in for a second interview if I make it that far, he’s got interviews all day today & tomorrow & so I leave not thinking I made a great impression but not totally blowing it either.

The interview was just blocks away from where I used to work down on Wall Street & it brings back all sorts of memories from those days. I go down to the corner of John & William Street & sure enuf there’s my Uncle George’s hot dog cart & so I get a free dog with saurkraut & wolf that bad-boy down, then I run into someone from the Transcript who asks me what happened -- I didn’t see you for a few weeks & I asked someone where’s Barry, I thought you were sick or something & then I found out what happened, that sucks. Yeah it sucks, I say, & then I move on, walking the long way home to the Whitehall Street station.

The next day Wednesday I get up extra early to go to my 1-day temp gig at Cornell Medical Center on York Avenue & 69th Street. I get off at my old stop, Hunter College, which brings back a flood of memories from the six or so years I spent there. Can’t believe how many people get off at my stop & it takes me what seems like 10 minutes to get out of the friggin’ station. But I still have plenty of time to find a place to get my requisite Earl Grey & Croissant before I start at 9.

I get there & find the office & I’m still 15 minutes early, so I sit there and then about 10 after 9 the guy starts explaining what the hell I’m supposed to do. I’m to pretend that me or my wife or son or daughter or mother or father needs an appointment because they have swollen glands, cancer, sagging breasts, tonsillitis, a bad back, migraine, whatever applies, using a phony name, while I fill in the right boxes on the form in front of me. I get a panic attack, which have been coming all too frequently whenever I’m confronted with a new job situation, & think of fleeing the premises. Seriously. But then I figure how bad could I fuck up to the point where I wouldn’t be paid & I get started with a fake call to real urologists office about how I want to come in & get my prostate checked because there’s a history in my family of such & such and then I start getting into it & I make about 20 calls before I take a break & get out of the office & take a mental break as Ross suggested, & who am I to question Ross.

I get thru the day taking two more short breaks & I start talking to one of the girls in the office who by the way was attractive & she’s from Chicago & so I bring up my Chicago trip from March 2001 which I do whenever appropriate & she asks me if I want to check my email while I wait for Ross to get back & I say sure & we talk some more while she turns on the Internet & I’m real close to asking her out when somehow Greek food & Astoria comes up & she says she always wanted to try good Greek food but I stop short thinking it might be unprofessional, realizing that my life is littered with such missed opportunities & blown chances.

Thursday I was sitting around not knowing if I was gonna go to my nite job when I decided to at least head into the City & then I decided as long as I was going near the Village, why not try to sell a few of my albums. I knew a place where I had sold back some DVDs & gotten a decent if not totally fair price for them & so I selected about 20 or 25 LPs that weren’t my absolute favorites but that still might fetch something, and the guy gave me 36 bucks. I should have pushed him for 40 but I wasn’t in the mood. I decided then not to go to work, so to at least cover my ass I call the guy who hired me there, Anthony, & tell him I am still having a family emergency & could I come back next week and start anew & to my surprise he seems genuinely concerned & tells me not to worry about it. I start the long walk uptown to 59th & Second to catch the 101 bus home over the Bridge & down Steinway, that way I could save 2 bucks on my metrocard as you get 2 hours to make the transfer & not get charged another fare. Didn’t know that, didya?

Then my cell rang but I didn’t recognize the number. I had a good feeling about it even before I knew who it was. It turned out to be Tim from the agency who has actually been helpful & he had heard from Fred Freundlick, who wanted me to come back in for a second interview & meet his wife & it looks good & again he mentioned that he needs someone to start right away & can I make a 3:00 interview tomorrow Friday & I said of course I’m there & that really buoyed my mood as you can imagine & even though I had to wait a half-hour for the bus & then the rush hour ride was a traffic nightmare, I was looking forward to the interview big-time.
It was just after 6 & I thought I could still get a badly needed haircut if my hair gal was still open & sure enuf I made it & got a good-looking ‘do, feeling even mo’ better. I would wear the dark suit this time instead of the blue pinstripe, with a crisp new white shirt I bought last week for catering & I guess the red power tie & the black shoes because last time I wore the maroon Bostonians & who knows the guy seemed eccentric enuf to remember & perhaps hold it against me. Stranger things have happened & the longer you live the more you realize that such Seinfeld moments in the workplace are far more the rule than the exception.

While I was laying in bed Friday morning contemplating & collecting myself the phone rang & I hear the answering machine in the other room & it’s Tim saying Fred can’t make it, it’s tax season & he’s busy with a client, he’s sorry but it’s not coming from the agency end. Bummer. I get up, play the message back; it’s Tim saying the same thing & it’s a bill collector saying Mr. Ward this is Tyrone & you’ve got 24 hours to call us back before it’s too late & we can’t help you anymore & I’m giving the finger to the phone & saying fuck you Tyrone you can suck my dick.

I turn on my IntraLink computer & go online & check my email. There’s a message from Penthouse, a message from Doug & a message from Tim. I know it’s bad news because people call with good news & email the unpleasant stuff they don’t wanna tell you live. I know the drill. I open Tim’s message & it’s basically a repeat of the phone message. Then I open the Penthouse message: Barry: I just wanted to let you know that we have filled the copy editing position.I appreciate your interest in working at Penthouse, and thank you for taking our copy test.Good luck in the future, Barbara

The message from Doug is entitled Interview Feedback.
Thank you for taking the time to interview with us this week.
We received over 100 phone calls as a result of the ad we put in the paper on Sunday and interviewed fifteen of those people.
Based on our criteria, we have chosen another applicant for the position.
We would like to wish you success in your job search.

So it was basically your average 0-3 day. Even the greatest hitters of all time strike out three times in a game sometimes.

No comments: