So, what have I been up to the last couple months, you ask?
Searching for jobs, for one thing. I use the plural because I'll need three of them to pay my increasing debts and bills. Right now I'd settle for one.
This is how it's been going.
Telemarketing jobs seem to have dried up from just a couple years ago-- most sent to India. (I've been having a lot of bill collectors in that country phoning to say hello.) For those few ads which do appear you seem to have to call within five minutes after the newspaper comes out, or you've missed it. They must be flooded with calls from all the out-of-work ex-telemarketers.
I have my resume all over town in my old field-- what I did back in Detroit. So far, not a nibble. (It helps to be from a city and to already know the principals, which I don't here. Or, maybe people have been googling my name!)
On one job possibility that a friend clued me onto, I'm waiting for a background check that never seems to clear.
There have been ads for laborer jobs way out in the burbs. The ads say you have to be able to stand in one place for eight or nine hours and regularly lift fifty pounds. Sounds like fun! $9 an hour. These kind of jobs paid more than that twenty-five years ago! Back when CEO's made a hundred-fifty grand a year. Now they make $15 million.
As a sign of desperation, early this morning I traveled to take an exam for low-level government jobs (4-12 shift processing paperwork). The government! Yes, I know, I know-- but either that or McDonald's. I took a train, then rode on a bus along an avenue to the far-flung outskirts of Philadelphia. Was the bus crowded? At least as many people in the aisle as in the seats. Workers and students (some reading paperbacks). The overloaded lower-class transport chugged along. The ad had given an address on the avenue where the tests were to be held-- along the road a couple miles away from where the government people worked. I watched the street numbers. I thought it'd be easy-- see the number and hop off the bus. But then we got to the part of the city where the buildings don't show their addresses; where the structures are set back from the road, behind bunkers, all sidewalks vanished, with no way for anyone without a car to get around. I watched-- saw a number before the one I wanted, then nothing, then a number beyond it. I'd missed it! Now I'd have to get off at the next intersection and take a bus back in the other direction. But the bus traveled on and suddenly left the avenue down a side road. Oh shit! I was getting farther away from the place. I hopped off the bus into a snowbank.
Fortunately a bus came chugging along going down the side road in the other direction. I fished into my pocket of tokens and got on that. This one went past the avenue-- so I got off at what looked like a decent place. I walked toward the given address. Looking at the numbers, I saw I was still at least a mile away-- with no place to walk-- just cars whizzing by close and an unbroken succession of snowbanks.
At the next intersection I got on another bus, this one headed south. I passed where the testing place was SUPPOSED to be but still saw no number-- just a strip of buildings set back from the road. It was some sort of scam, I figured, to make getting to the test on time as difficult as possible-- friends etc perhaps clued in. Or maybe the government had figured 40,000 people would show up, and they wanted to discourage as many folks as possible. Regardless, I was already too late, so I stayed on the bus. I'd seen, by the way, the government complex where employees processed paperwork on the 4-12 shift. It was fenced and as well-guarded as Fort Knox; cold, eerie, and quite isolated. I'd done some research, and knew that if you didn't catch the bus that went by after midnight you were stuck. No bars across the street from it. Nothing. It didn't look like a cool place to work-- no wonder government people were so stoic.
The bus I was on took me to Frankford Terminal, where I got on a train to take me back downtown. A foxy working class redhead sat next to me. Well, at least the day wasn't all bad, I thought. On a scale of 1 to 10, she was a 12. She was reading a newspaper. I discussed with her the news of the day, and horoscopes. Then she got off. I did soon also.
Anyway, I'll be fitted soon for my Micky D's uniform. I'll keep blog readers notified as to location. Maybe Franzen, Bissell, Lapham, and Moody can drop in to say hello!