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?


Last Day of Work: Unemployment Eve

photoIt’s scary to leave a job. Even if you hate the job, it’s still scary. There’s the one or two days of “freedom.” You call your friends, maybe text, “hey, I’m free!” Then, after the smug clears, you realize there is no source of income. And all those people you complained about everyday, well you miss them.

I didn’t hate my job. I actually quite liked it. There were times where I did hate it, but that’s inevitable. Every job has its ups and downs; the real trick is to be able to see them through and laugh with your boss the next day.

Today is my last shift of a three year stint at Pilgrim’s Market in Coeur d’Alene, ID. My wife and I are moving to San Luis Obispo, CA on the first of the year for an internship.

Pilgrims is an entry level job. The second I announced my leaving, plans were made to replace me, and like that, I was replaced. Life goes on. Sometimes we like to pretend that our legacy is bigger than that. I don’t know. It’s a produce job.

I’d like to pretend I’m leaving behind some sort of void. I guess I’m narcissistic that way.

The other day, I overheard a new hire and the manager talking about what shifts she would take. “Well, after Kevin’s gone, Wednesday and Thursday will open”…

This must be how grandparents feel on their deathbed: lousy relatives rummaging through their things, claiming knick knacks before they’ve even seen the light.

“I can still hear you” I yelled.

It’s good to quit a job every now and then. It’ll test you, force you to do bigger and better things. We’ve done everything right: planned it, saved money, lined up future jobs, graduated schools…

It still seems shaky at best. It may just be that after all these years of entry level jobs, I’ve convinced myself that it’s where I belong. That maybe, I can’t do much better. I remember having the same nervousness the day I graduated high school. I forgot my sunscreen that day.

Here’s to three happy years at Pilgrim’s Market. A great job with incredible people. A place where I learned patience, kindness, and the difference between a turnip and a rutabaga. I will truly miss it.