The Hunt for Red Jobtober 2: Turning Down Work While Desperate

Job hunting is an unfortunate business. Combine the awkwardness of junior high-school dances with the continual let-down of door-to-door sales, and you start to get the picture.

“Hello, do you want to dance/hire me? No? Thank you for your time.” (Yells) I would never dance with you ANYWAYS!!

The last time I posted about job hunting, I spoke about my wife’s adventure of finding a job right after moving to Rochester. That was pretty cool. Since then, we’ve afforded to pay rent, utilities; I bought some new boxers the other day.

But I need a job too. My full-time school schedule allows for more than enough time for a part-time job. I’m sure I’ll regret this decision once finals come around. That’s okay.

My school offered me a healthy portion of money for work-study, but I couldn’t land a position with which to earn it! So far, my luck has been less than stellar. I’ve applied to Halloween stores, cafes, co-op markets, grocery stores—most recently, a music store.

Officially, I’ve been offered one job, and no, it wasn’t the Halloween store. I guess I didn’t fit their qualifications this year.

It was the local music store. Weird though, because I turned it down.

Kevie Don’t Play That

There’s just something about minimum wage that says, “If I could pay you less, I would.”  And I’m not down with that. You’ve got to value me, Sir Employer, just a little more.

The music retail situation was also unique in that the business structure was strikingly similar to what I interned at in California this year: retail, lessons, get more students, get more students, get more students. In the interview, I spoke to the owner about what I accomplished in California, and how I could grow his business. I looked around and saw a sad state of affairs, a local business in need of help, and I knew how to help it. He was looking for someone with an entrepreneurial drive to take his business to the next level, someone with ideas, spirit, and experience.


I was a damn valuable candidate, damn it. And I was on board, too, up until the point where he offered to pay me $7.25/hour to turn his business around. I told him that wouldn’t work for me, and then he offered $8.00/hour. I said I’d think about it, shook his hand, and left.

It’s so strange to turn down a job, especially when you really need it. But there’s no way I could’ve worked there. You need to be careful when job hunting. There’s a difference between undervalue and robbery.

I can work undervalued, no problem, if I have to, especially in new industries with little moral compromise. I recently read a book by a guy named Mike Michalowicz. He talks about, in business, never compromising your immutable laws, whatever those are to you. My job-hunt laws include never getting taken advantage-of and always working for people I respect and who respect me.

I mean, the music store guy had a ponytail and a gold necklace. I couldn’t do it.

So I’m left with a few open applications, an interview today. My school schedule (thanks to the last dibs I received as a new transfer student) is not very kind to employers.

But I’ve started copywriting on the side which is excellent. It’s not regular, but it’s a start. Maybe some more of that will come my way. Until then, wish me luck as I step back on to the dance floor.

“Excuse me…”

What are your immutable job-hunt laws? Any good job-hunt stories?

Rochester Day 12: Rabies Scare

The only thing worse than waking up with a bat in your bedroom is the later, unwavering tension of possible rabies contraction. You know what I mean?

It was five in the morning, and I awoke to the sound of mouse-like pitter-patter and whimpering. In a daze, I grabbed my phone for the flashlight-app and shined it towards the noise. I saw face, teeth, and wings.

Dear Lord, not… I repeat, NOT a mouse.

We’ve been sleeping on an air mattress; yes, terrible for back-support, but great if you need to get your wife out of bed in a hurry; just do a quick bounce-push-1-2 and she’s gone.

The very second—and I mean second—I saw those evil, beady little eyes, and its encroaching, ominous, expanding-devil-wingspan, I bounced and pushed. Megan was off the bed on the floor, waking up—mid flight—to the sound of me yelling “RUNNNN!”

Wide-awake, Megan pulled a Jackie Chan, getting to her feet in lightning speed. We ran out of the room, both completely bewildered, and slammed the door behind us. Expecting claws to shoot through the frame like Jack’s axe in The Shining, I stared at the door in nauseated anticipation.

“What? What was it?” Megan asked, breathing heavy and terrified.

Swallowing, trying to remember basic speech and language patterns, fighting off the fog of little sleep and sheer panic, I found a word that finally made sense: “… Bat.”

Bat Crazy

The creature was after us. That’s for certain.

You could argue the bat flew into our apartment on accident, I guess. The kitchen window was left open after cooking dinner, and the kitchen window, you see, is the only window without a screen. Out for blood though, makes more sense.

Thirty minutes passed and we remained in the living room—frightened, laughing, pacing. We soon realized two things:

  1. We had no internet, and our phones were left behind in the bat-cave.
  2. Leaving our bed as we did, in a hurry in the middle of the night, meant we weren’t wearing nearly enough clothes to go outside or seek any assistance.

I’d love to tell you that I was the hero in this situation, the man. I really would. But my hand on the door-handle, hand off the door-handle masculinity got us no where; Megan beat the stereotype and went in first, snagging a pair of pants and her phone. Best yet, she escaped the man-eating death-clutch of the rabid, Hell-flying mouse and made it back in one piece. (more…)

Adventure: Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Adventure is weird and complicated. Like ordering a martini for the first time or Thai food, it’s not easy. It’s sexy, sure. We escape the familiar in favor of the unknown. We leave our friends and family behind. We buy maps (or iPhones) and plot new courses.

My wife and I have only five days left of our six-month stay in California. From here, we’ll pack up and drive to Idaho for a few weeks and then drive, finally, to Rochester, New York, where we’ll settle.

The idea of living in three states in one year sounded fun, initially. A couple of fair-skinned gypsies in a Prius-charriot awaiting adventure—that was us.

All I’ve ever wanted was adventure, and truth be told, I’ve had my fair share.

I’ve back-packed through Ireland; I’ve driven to the Grand Canyon on a whim; I’ve rode through a carwash on a razor scooter… Adventure is in my blood.

Is adventure good for blood?

Fake Adventures

I grew up idolizing movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and The Mummy where characters traveled to the ends of the Earth, or universe, to conduct business. I’d watch TV shows like The X-Files and swoon. The monster-of-the-week storyline, on the search in a new area, fascinated me (and still does).

But it’s all fake. It’s exciting, but truth be told, if I met a new monster every week and I’d be dead by now. I’d be digesting in some mutant’s stomach and that’d be an awkward funeral.

Then there is the whole social media thing. All the fake adventurers. I recently read an article about the “Instagram Envy Effect,” which, really, is just how it sounds. Instagram captures everybody’s good moments, new moments. The rest of us watch and wish we could have those moments. Really, it’s all just fake. We post the interesting moments and leave the rest hidden, like reality TV.

I bring the Instagram article up because social media—as well as movies, music, and books—teach us some falsehoods about adventure. They tell us adventure has no downside. That it’s all just fun all the time and YOLO and pose!!!

Warning: Adventure is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Here are some tips to make sure you never, ever have an adventure.

Issue number 1:

You’re basically always packing. I’m not sure how you feel about packing, but I’m not a big fan.

Issue number 2:

Friendships are rare. It’s hard to get close to people when you’re always on the go. It’s not like the comic books where the hero has all the friends. The real-life hero, the traveler, is awkward at parties, unable to connect—not sure if he even wants to.

Issue number 3:

It gets harder and harder to leave. Maybe I’m getting older, maybe the traveler’s heart is just failing to pump like it used to, I don’t know. Maybe a six-month vacation wasn’t a very good idea. All I know, is that it’s getting harder to leave.

My friends, my family, my town. Sometimes, adventure just kind of sucks.

The memories are worth it, and that’s what I’m holding on to, for now.

the gang 043

What are your thoughts on adventure?

The Grand Canyon (or, How to Set Up a Tent in 28 Easy Steps)

The Grand Canyon. It was incredible.

Since Megan and I are moving to New York in the Fall, we realized our Grand Canyon window was dwindling fast. We kicked around the idea late last week, got our friend Randall on board, booked a campsite online, and left after work Friday afternoon for the 12 hour drive.

After 12 hours of sunflower seeds and energy drinks, our Prius arrived just shy of Grand Canyon Village at around 4am. Randall, a current CCC member (and best friend since 6th grade), claimed national forests were cool with parking and sleeping. Since national forests are usually outside of national parks, we were in luck. We parked in the forest and slept as long as possible.

27 degrees and 2 hours later. 

You know it’s cold when you consider peeing your pants for warmth. Or say, cutting open your friend to sleep inside him via Empire Strikes Back. None of those things happened. It was cold though.

Feeling spry, we woke up and drove into the park. The South Rim. It was $25 for one car, not bad considering all you can do once you’re in the park.

Our campsite wasn’t available until noon so we had to tough out the tiredness and make the best of it. We traveled to the East Rim (about thirty minutes, maybe) and checked out Desert View. There was an old tower to climb up in with a store right below you. Incase, you know, you want to buy a magnet or something.

Coming back, we stopped at one of my favorite views of the whole trip: Moran Point. It was killer. We tried to recall the name later to our camping neighbors. Megan called it, “Morgan Point,” and I called it “Moron Point.” It turns out we were both wrong, Moran Point. If you go, make sure and stop there.

Noon came around and we had a tent to set up. Megan and I were completely exhausted and since we borrowed the tent, it was our first time setting it up. (Thanks Scott, your rubik’s cube tent was a delight). In all fairness, if we read the directions first—instead of dead last—we would’ve noticed everything was color coded and kind of obvious. After about an hour of this tent embarrassment, Randall stepped in and helped. I collapsed into my sleeping bag and felt rocks under my body. Oh yeah, the air mattress… we forgot that.


After some rest, we went back to the nearest town of Williams to try the Grand Canyon Brewery. I wont say it was awful, but just avoid it if at all possible.

The next day we hiked down into the canyon. Not far, a thousand feet or so. Not wanting to add, “Rescued by a mule” to our list of life accomplishments, we heeded the warnings of the trail and stopped at Cedar Ridge.

Once back up, we continued our day of exploration. Hopi Point was awe inspiring. The geology museum was great. The general store had a hot pickle.

Before we knew it, our trip was over. Monday morning had come. We drove a different way back, stopping in Vegas to lose $5. Before we left Nevada for good, we swerved off the desert highway for one last casino. The lunch buffet and $1 roulette signs nearly caused a freeway pile up.

We made it into San Luis Obispo around 9pm and I took the longest shower of my life. I’m still in it. That’s how long it is. Actually no, but nothing is sweeter than that first shower back from camping, eh? I next collapsed into bed where there was a mattress and no rocks.

It was sweeter than any canyon I’ve ever seen. Funny how that works.

Adulthood: Embracing the Now & Forgetting the Why

One can’t help but get a little older. Wives are good for nothing if not for telling you how old you are. Megan reminds me of this all the time: “You’re two years older.”

“And wiser,” I respond.

Despite the rabid pace at which youth escapes my body, I expect some of the mannerisms and routines that accompanied my early years will always be with me.

The sample tables at Costco are primary. Shopping is second… at best. There’s others like me, too. Yesterday, I ran into the same sample shopper at every table. We nodded.

My attention span is weak, like coffee from the church foyer weak. At any given time, I’m usually half present and I apologize for this; I’m trying, really. This will probably be a lifelong struggle. Bare with me.

I say weird things at awkward moments. That is, the moment is fine until I make it awkward. Once, I worked at a hotel and checked in a guest. During the silence I asked if he met any ladies on his trip. He was a priest and promptly said, “no.”

You see what I mean. I’m sure you do weird things too. I know you do. The crazy little brain movements and body patterns are just part of the human experience. You probably rant in the bathroom with strange accents or something. I can only guess.

We are all just grown up kids. (No one has refuted me yet!) As adults we can choose when we want to be a child, that’s the coolest part. I mean, haven’t you seen Hook? (You’re doing it, Peter!)


As we get older, we pretend this stuff doesn’t exist. The weird mannerisms. The strange facial expressions. The awkward moments. After all, we’re adults now and there’s bills to pay. We have kids and jobs and degrees. There’s no time to be ourselves anymore.

Don’t Start Eating Boogers Yet

It’s okay to have responsibilities; in fact, I rather like them. There’s men and women who meet the challenge of adulthood at every turn and I respect them.

I learned responsibilities from an early age; most older people around me were too busy beings kids so I had to step it up in their absence. Sometimes people never grow up, because of them I now struggle with letting my hair down on the weekends, or being myself.

I’m convinced, though, that every now and then we need to embrace the child within. We need to be ourselves. Not revert back, but just be ourselves. We need to allow who we are to shine and forget about the future for a change.

We need to embrace God’s greatest present—the present.

I’m sure we could all use a little more of that.

Road Trip

This weekend, Megan and I decided to be irresponsible. With two days notice, and a very inspiring episode of Parks and Rec to motivate us, we’ve decided to visit the Grand Canyon on a whim.

We have little money, a car that’s traveled too much this year already, and a severe lack of camping material; needless to say, we’re excited. My good friend Randall, who you may remember from Salmon Creek Trail, will be joining us.

It’s Friday. Go do something fun this weekend. Enjoy the present! Embrace the kid within you and report back to me. You may find adulthood to be a little more interesting when you do.

What are your thoughts on God’s gift of the present? Is it dangerous to focus too much on the past or the future? Any good stories of embracing the kid within? How about Grand Canyon advice? 

The Intern Whoop: Taking a Local Day Pt. 2

Last year, I discovered newness inside my town and wrote a blog detailing this adventure: Local businesses and new people; I got outside—it was great. Check out, “Taking a Local Day” HERE.

Part Duex

On the first of the year, my wife and I moved from snowy Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to sunny San Luis Obispo, California. I grew up here in SLO county, well south county, I guess.

Despite my history here, everything seemed new; the mountains had never looked greener and skies had never been bluer. The local troves held new names and faces, while their sidewalks ferried fresh bodies to and fro.

We were in a land of newness and I was bound to explore it.

Then we got jobs. Well, I got an internship and she got a job.

Makin’ Copies

My internship so far has been ideal. There isn’t much grunt work, and I’m treated as an employee with as much to say as anyone else. Though yesterday, I made copies for five hours.

Five hours. I can still smell it. The copies.

In the middle of my copying madness, I was given a quick job to distribute a notice to all the local businesses in our strip regarding a meeting of some sort.

I welcomed the break.

Makin’ Discoveries

strip mall


There were twelve of these notices to hand out. I peeked outside, “there’s twelve shops here?”

For over two months I’ve worked here. Besides the coffee shop, I had no idea who my neighbors were.

“There’s twelve shops?” I repeated.

So once again, I ventured out; I took a local day. Shaking hands, I discovered business owners, employees and their products.

One shop offered full car-audio installation, with a contract for city police vehicles (two were inside). Another shop sold used baby clothes, and right next to it, golf gear. Further down, I met some kids working in a skateboarding warehouse who specialized in online sales; further down, there was a Muay Thai kick boxing ring.

Like us, they were all just trying to make their mark and tell their story. Before yesterday, they didn’t exist. At least not to me.


It’s terrible, our bubbles. We hide inside and shut out the world—sometimes on purpose, most times unknowingly. Like a horse race, we focus on the goal and miss the uniqueness that surrounds it, even if the goal is just a parking spot.

Culture is a beautiful thing. Sometimes, embracing it is as simple as walking outside.

Any good stories of meeting your neighbors? What else can we do to break our daily routines? Are all routines bad? I’d love some feedback.