Get a job

Yes, I’d like to get one. I really fucking would. I quit my last one just over a week ago, and I’d like to not have it turn into two week or, God forbid, two months. Might I be out of work for the rest of the summer? I have no way to say for sure that I won’t. In circumstances like these a mystic might put his faith in God to provide, and a constitutionally lazy piece of shit might put his faith in God’s people, and of course a constitutionally lazy piece of shit who subscribes to ostentatious religious pieties might rely on the providence of His Holy Church and misattribute this to the mysterious workings of the Lord when in fact it was just another successful petition for alms from the congregation’s pushovers. If I’m not mistaken, this is both profanity and the opposite of profanity at once, and even if I am mistaken, I’ll be leaving this speculation up because it sounds cool.

The lazy we will have with us always, but truth be told, most of them aren’t that bad. Most of them are at least partially tractable. They can often be motivated to put significant effort (in other words, work) into things that they find interesting or worthwhile. Do they not consider it interesting and worthwhile to be a freaky fast rock star at Jimmy John’s? Maybe the problem isn’t with them, but with Jimmy John’s, which, first fruits unto the trial bar, is on track to be repeatedly benchslapped if it tries to enforce its non-compete clauses against sandwich artists for taking their “art” to Subway. It might be said that management isn’t unfailingly magnanimous towards labor in this country.

How do you get a natural slacker to humor some shithead in management who presumes job applicants guilty until they prove their innocence? You don’t. This sort of grandiosity puts off diligent jobseekers who absolutely want to do right by their employers and who would very much like to find stable work. Stability becomes less appealing if it’s spent in the company of Napoleon Complex asshats who think that they have to do “due diligence” in their search for the perfect backup dishwasher. The slackers know that these bumptious wonders are playing a game, just not as interesting a game as Grand Theft Auto. Might as well go home and play another round without them, right? If they wanted to achieve their own productivity, they’d be doing something other than interrogating aspiring cashiers about their work histories.

Oh, you expect point-of-sale experience because that’s a high-tech electronic register and you require a manager to void mistaken entries, which annoys the tinpot social climbers who infest your management pool, looking for the most pathetic opportunities imaginable to peddle influence in the workplace? Now you can be sure, not just confident, that you’ll inspire some disgruntled cashier to embezzle from the till. The embezzler is in it for the money, and your managers are in it for the power trip and the moral authority. Robber barons and moral busybodies, remember? You might have neither if you treated the job as just some of the stuff that has to be done to keep the business running, but through your self-importance you’ve earned both. Congratulations.

Do you still wonder why your applicants inflate their resumes? They bear false witness because you suborn it with your example. You demand rock stars, and the supply of Chad Kroeger is less than the demand for Chad Kroeger, but the supply of hustlers who will impersonate Chad Kroeger is as big as the market for their fraud. You demanded Rockefellers, and the only one available was Clark? Well, you asked for him, and now you have him. Enjoy.

This is cool: actually showing loyalty as an employee isn’t enough to convince hiring managers that one isn’t a total flake. I was on staff at Hersheypark over four consecutive summer seasons. I wanted to apply for a fifth, nonconsecutive season after my environmental consulting job got so needlessly stressful, but the Hersheypark website indicated that all seasonal jobs had been filled. I’d be willing to go back there even though my managers in Games really shit the bed on my last day. They and maybe some useless eaters in HR are the only ones who possibly think that this bridge remains burned; for me to summarily quit on Hersheypark again, management would have to shit the bed again.

To judge from the lukewarm to ice-cold reactions of prospective employers elsewhere, my loyalty to Hersheypark was for nothing. I put up with some crappy but tolerable assignments because they were paying me, but because I quit without notice in response to severe understaffing and inappropriate scheduling of my breaks (their problem) and their promise to subject me to formal disciplinary proceedings for yelling at an insolent little brat who wouldn’t stop playing with a carbon dioxide gun at my stand, and because I have some other terminations, summary resignations, and employment gaps, hiring managers assume that I’m a constitutional fuckup who quits jobs frivolously. Shit, my having successfully completed two seasonal stints at the vineyard last summer and fall doesn’t seem to do much for me, either. Did my stable employment there have something to do with my bosses being fair in their criticism of my work and paying me $12 an hour and there not being any violent wiggers on the crew? You bet it did. The job occasionally sucked, but not badly or often enough to forsake twelve an hour on payroll. I wouldn’t even have quit my last job picking blueberries midseason had Mother-in-Law not been angrily busting my balls and threatening to fire me. $2.68 piecerate wasn’t shitty enough to convince me to resign, but a supervisor raising her voice and accusing me of incompetence was. If you alienate seasonal employees who are content working for half or a third of the minimum wage, I can’t help you. You’re on your own with that shit, sweetheart.

The consensus seems to be that employers will suffer a grievous narcissistic injury if applicants tell them that a different job under a different employer wasn’t worth holding onto for dear life in exchange for minimum wage. This is like being offended on behalf of all white people that Trayvon Martin referred to George Zimmerman as a creepy-ass cracker. Zimmerman is a long shot for a cracker, but he’s definitely clinically paranoid and unable to mind his own business, so it was close enough for an emergency phone call. There was no need to say, “Caucasian, slightly darker skin tone than Stalin, but clean-shaven, and no smirk.” Do hiring managers not realize that when applicants express unhappiness with previous supervisors, they’re talking about someone else? Can they not imagine that maybe they’d avoid becoming the subject of employee grievances by not doing anything grievous? Is it beyond their grasp that maybe an applicant ended up with a poor work history due to mistreatment by previous employers or a structurally ruined job market? Can they not imagine that they’re possibly making employees uncomfortable by behaving oddly or asking inappropriate, hostile questions during interviews, and that this may throw off otherwise well-adjusted, competent people?

Entire industries are devoted to encouraging hiring managers to make decisions on the basis of category errors (e.g., that everything is the employee’s fault, even in times of severe structural failure in the job market) and encouraging applicants and employees to humor management at all times, no matter how objectionably it behaves. How would Alison Green feel about being impressed into Maoist agricultural labor for the next three years in order to show the Central Committee that she’s dedicated to her job? I suggest strawberries, since I have seniority in the industry and am therefore claiming olives and wine grapes right now. The whip hand must feel a lot more pleasant when one wields it.

Of course, the reason that anyone is able to pull this sort of shit outside the specific context of agricultural commodity slavery is precisely because we’re deracinated enough as a society that no one really has to do menial agricultural work in order to survive. No one is starving because some earnest but unfortunate jobseeker quit impulsively when he was younger and can’t get a break now that he’s trying to turn his work history around, and at some level, every slacker knows it. We aren’t talking about people who quit foraging dandelions and trapping rabbits for their own pots because subsistence hunting and gathering sucked. We’re talking about people who were, are, and will continue to be supported by a small class of hugely productive farm principals and field hands, even if they fuck around all day playing Grand Theft Auto. After all, it’s better for the rest of us if they do that instead of publishing Alison Green-style social control screeds on major online platforms. They’re wankers, but they, along with James Altucher, are fit for nothing worse than hazelnut suckering duty in the coming Maoist agrarian utopia.

And if it’s coming, the Canadian Forces had better be coming quick on its heels. Be ready to reactivate Colonel Williams; y’all may need him more than Mother-in-Law needs me on the blueberry crew.

Don’t look at me like I’m the problem here. I’ve already picked 415 pounds this year, and I’m guessing that’s 415 pounds more than the entire staff at Ask a Manager. You’re welcome.


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