I was cruising the streets looking for a second job to fill the off hours, and there's nothing like looking for work to make you feel pretty worthless.* I applied at four different bar/restaurants, and was wandering through Georgetown looking for a coffee shop that seemed like a decent prospect when I saw a Now Hiring sign in an upscale toy store window. I thought that an educational toy store couldn't be that horrific a workplace, and I was feeling pretty desperate, so I waltzed in and said I was here about the sign. The hipster behind the counter sighed and handed me a sticker with an email address on the back and said, "send your resume and cover letter to this address. You might want to include any references, too." I stepped forward to take the card and bumped the pile of white-painted wood that he was assembling into an organic, low-impact, eco-crib.** I apologized and he sighed again and said, "that's okay." He then grimaced at me in some bizarre attempt at a haughty smile, or maybe a snarl.***
This was the point in which that feeling of utter worthlessness turned into aggravation. If your assembling some expensive, European, organic, low-VOC, high-end, rich douchebag, destined for twenty-four years of private school education before Harvard Business, eco-crib that is WHITE and you have a WHITE-tiled floor, then maybe leaving a stack of pieces in front of your sales counter is a BAD IDEA. I learned long ago that leaving pieces of my LEGO kit, IKEA chip-board furniture, Warhammer tank model, etc, in a high traffice area was a guaranteed way to have those pieces crushed underfoot. If you're the kind of guy that owns/manages/works at a children's toy store that requires a cover letter, resume, and three references to even apply there, then you had best display the kind of forethought and presence to earn all three of those requirements. Simply having a superior attitude and expensive merchandise doesn't allow you to act like an arrogant cobag. You've got to have the ability before you have the attitude.
At my bar job, we watch a variety of news programs before the various sporting events are televised. Aside from Balloon Boy, another frequently run story is how employers are having trouble finding qualified applicants. If you're a children's toy store, even an educational, eco-friendly, organic, etc, etc, children's toy store and you require a cover letter, resume, and three references to even apply there, you may want to rethink your hiring strategy. Here are three simple requirements that would serve you better should you choose to pull your head out of your ass: Can you perform addition and subtraction with a reasonable degree of accuracy? Can you be polite to jerkface customers? Will you be honest with all monetary transactions? The answers to two out of three of these questions can be ascertained with a short quiz and a conversation. The third is a constant risk of all stores, and you should always be wary but also give the benefit of the doubt until you have reason to rescind such trust. Even if you're an uppity, ridiculous toy store that provides educational services and wants to be considered something greater, your storefront employees are there to sell toys and make people feel like coming back to spend more money. They aren't solving world hunger, they're just earning 8.25 an hour with no benefits.
* Except dating, but that's a whole different kind of worthless.
** I shit you not. The box made all three claims.
*** I do both better.
Labels: other people's work, work?