I got a job!
[Listening to: Bodyrox, "Yeah Yeah"]
Either way, it still beat staying home alone.When closing time rolled around I headed out to the car to find my way home. Under the windshield wipers were the usual assortment of promo slicks for bands, DJ's, and local ladies nights at the bar that I had just walked out of. It's kind of an annoyance, but it's just part of the experience whenever you park close to a nightclub in this town.
A business card.At first it was hard not to laugh at it, almost as if it were some gag gift dropped on me at some office holiday party or something. I mean, you hear about stuff like this -- but you never really think you're gonna actually see it. And even then, considering the caliber of some of the other topless professionals in this town, you wonder if it's the kind of thing you'd really want to see at all.
Maybe that's why the girls adored him so much.It was this oddly sweet thing that continually happened in this otherwise seedy environment -- this one old dude with money to burn who just liked it when young women hung out and talked to him. He'd even tip me sometimes for playing songs he liked.
"Make sure to do a good job on those baseboards too, ok?"I don't know, maybe I'm not really in a position to criticize -- I'm still hoping for something to break out for me on monster.com, but I just don't know if I really see an upside to the whole "topless maid" career track. Of course if things keep going the way they are maybe I'll be forced to reconsider, but anyone who's ever had me for a roommate or whatever can probably vouch that it's probably in my best interest to focus on the "topless" rather than the "maid" aspect if I want to stay in business for very long.
Maybe what I really need around here is some help.Like I don't know -- a maid or something..
"what's the point?"Six months of this. Six months without answers. Six months of trying to make it work, trying to open a new door. Trying to find a better mousetrap to stick your head in. Six months of wondering, of worrying, of hoping, pretending, and postponing.
Where does it all get you?Does it make you snap at the people you care about? Does it make you forget what a dish cloth is for? Do you stay up all night worrying, but go for days without doing anything constructive at all?
Sometimes all you want to do is sleep.They tell you to keep your head up. They tell you to always be faithful. To never surrender, and to fight another day.
But they didn't have a weekend like the one I just did.They don't know what it's like to feel this lost.
There comes a point in every job hunt where you start to consider lowering the bar.Up till now I've been able to sorta eek by on savings and unemployment checks, but it's only a matter of time before that dries up. The only silver lining to the whole thing seems to be the fact that each time I check my finances the math seems to get a little easier.
It's hard not to get discouraged.It's not all about the money, either. Every day the phone doesn't ring seems to last a little longer. It's like there's something written on my resume that I can't see. Something that keeps me from making it past that first phone call, email, or handshake. Of course, no one ever tells you what it is that they don't like about your resume.
No one ever tells you what it is they don't like about you.It makes you second guess the times you stood on principle. It makes you kick yourself for all the mistakes you've made. It makes you feel like you're letting everybody who has faith in you down. But in the end all you can really do is stay in there and keep punching - no matter how ridiculous the whole thing starts to get.
The thing most people don't understand about strip clubs is that they're run sort of like beauty salons. The girls don't really work for the clubs as much as the club itself sort of rents out a space for them to do their job in. In other words, strippers work for themselves -- but they have to pay out a percentage of whatever they make to the club owner, the bartender, and the DJ. That's what makes it such a crappy job, because for every $10 you make, you basically have give away six.That being said, the pay sucks.
A daytime DJ makes about half that.Still -- a job is a job, right? I mean, crappy as the pay might end up, it's gotta be better than what I'm making now. So I give the lady who ran the place a call and set up a meeting for Wednesday morning. Then just to see what I was getting myself into, I decided to pay the club a visit Tuesday night.
It was perhaps the single most un-sexy thing I had ever seen in my entire life.I don't think I was alone either, because from that point on the girl I began to affectionately refer to as "Hacky" didn't make a single dime. In fact, during the two hours I spent in the place -- I didn't see one girl do a VIP dance at all. Hence the problem: There is NO money to be made in this place whatsoever.
I mean, if these are the girls they save for prime time -- what are the chicks that work the lunch rush like?But beyond even that the same question kept repeating in my head over and over again -- Just how badly do I need this shitty job? I mean, any money is better than no money at all. And maybe the prospect of having a crappy gig might be just the kind of motivation I need to go find a better one. All that night and into the morning I kept turning all of these thoughts over in my head. None of them were making me feel all that great, but there I was -- sitting outside the place at the appointed time on Wednesday morning.
I still haven't heard from them.At this point I'm looking at it as a blessing in disguise. It was a crappy job and taking it probably would have done me more harm than good. But at the same time -- this whole thing is starting to border on the absurd. I mean, these people gave "Hacky" a job --
Just how un-hirable am I?
It's Sunday afternoon, and there's a chill in the air.It's the kind of day where you dig through the back corners of your closet for sweaters, the kind of day where you leave your socks on. The morning's coffee is held close in both hands, savored for it's warmth.
Besides, this is a Sunday paper.The Sunday paper is different. The Sunday paper you dig through. You browse. It has textures, color, variance. Toilet paper coupons that feel different than the inserts advertising the customized checkbooks. The travel sections, the funnies.. the things you don't really read as much as you kinda glance over. It's more of a ritual than anything else -- but then again, that's what's kinda nice about it.
There's no time limit on browsing the Sunday paper, only the sense that the time that goes by isn't really being wasted. But it is a big paper, and time does tick away. In fact, it's only as I'm folding the pages back up so I can throw them away (which is unnecesary, but somehow seems important) that I realize just how close to noon it's become. There's a slate of football games coming on TV in about an hour that I'll probably watch, with pregame shows before that.Where did I pick up that habit?
Just enough time to whip up some lunch.There's nothing promising in the cupboard for a meal, but there's plenty of little things that can be put together. Maybe a chowder, or some sort of casserole. Chilly days are perfect for things like that.
The cursive script that I'm searching for now.The funny thing about it though is that as I've developed my own skills as a cook, I've sorta moved away from the lessons that she taught me. For better or for worse, my mother did most of her family cooking during the mid to late 70's - a period not really noted for it's culinary excellence. I loved the things she made, but there is one fact that simply can't be denied.
Despite being raised in the south with taste for things like collard greens, black-eyed peas, and boiled peanuts - my mother somehow came to embrace many of the cooking practices of the midwest. All she really needed to work her magic was a casserole dish and a can of cream of mushroom soup. From there it was a simple matter of adding something from one of the four basic white people food groups (egg noodles, miracle whip, cheez whiz, nilla wafers)-- and a meal was born.My mother was an absolute master in the fine art of Honky Cuisine.
Especially on a cold November day.It's been six months since she died. She'd been sick for a while, which maybe made it easier for me to take at first. But then there are the moments like this. The moments when you feel your heart sink while staring at the faded cursive handwriting on an old notecard. Moments when what you really want more than anything else in the world isn't the meal itself, but for someone to cook it..Like this one.
One more time.
To be honest, if I hadn't already had the interview I probably would have jumped on it, but I was already one foot in -- and felt like I had a pretty good chance at landing the gig. Switching recruiters at this point seemed unprofessional. So eventually I ended up calling the people who had gotten me the interview and told them the situation. It felt like a good move, like I was building karma with the recruiter while making sure to stand my ground about the money I wanted.The next morning I get a call from a different recruiter asking about the exact same job, but at a much higher payrate.
But there was a twist:So I start talking to the lady, asking her to throw my hat back in the ring -- when it comes out that one of the problems the other candidate had with the job was that the salary the company offered was lower than she expected. Naturally she countered with a higher offer, which they apparently weren't happy about -- but approved anyways. It just happens that between the time that she countered and the moment they extended the revised offer, she had accepted a permanent position somewhere else.The person they offered the job to had declined the position.
An hour later I get a call -- the company wants to extend me an offerEverything seemed fine, until I found out that the offer was for the original pay rate my name had been submitted with - a figure I had already said was lower than I wanted, but more importantly a number that was a full five dollars an hour less than the counter offer that the company had already accepted from the other candidate.
"Counter them" I said.That afternoon she calls back -- they've rejected the counter offer. She can still get me the job, but only if I accept their pay rate.
"They're not going to be happy about that," she answered.
"Why? It's the same amount they agreed to pay the other girl."
There was a pause, followed by an "..I'll see what I can do."
..but not like this.I turned them down.