The two-year anniversary of my formal resignation from teaching passed without comment a couple of weeks ago. It took six months of looking before I found the job I have now, and I basically have not stopped looking for work since then, as I’ve never really felt like furniture sales are a viable long-term career for me. The hours are killing me, in particular; I can count the number of weekends I’ve had with my family in the last two years on one hand, and there are still multiple days a week where I don’t see my son at all in between dropping him off at school in the morning and putting him to bed immediately when I get home at night. Plus, while I am actually pretty good at my job– I was #61 in the company in overall sales for the year, and this is a company with over 250 stores– the economy is slowly starting to collapse and I really don’t like working for commission. We get paid on delivery, not on initial sale, and right now a huge percentage of the stuff I’ve sold in the last few months is still backordered to March.
To wit: I made less than minimum wage this week. I have two Master’s degrees, and I made less than minimum wage for the 42 hours that I was at work this week. My boss is barely 30 and my two assistant managers are both in their mid-twenties. I have already been offered chances to move up to management but the simple fact is I honestly don’t want it, because every time I wargame it out it becomes clear that it would actually lead to less money for more hours and more responsibility, and … nah. I can keep calling the kid who is young enough to be my son “boss” instead. It’s just not that big of a deal.
I’ve applied for several dozen different jobs in the 19 months or so since I started at my current job. I’ve had, I think, two interviews. I did not have a second interview for either position and heard through the grapevine that one of the jobs ended up going to a relative of one of the people who interviewed me, which was fun. I’m at the point where I’m so deadly tired of writing cover letters that I’m having to scan them carefully for sarcasm before sending them out, and I was so annoyed by a rejection later that I got today that said they’d “evaluated my skills” that I was halfway through a go fuck yourself, you assholes sort of response before I got control of myself.
You didn’t “evaluate my skills,” you fucks. You glanced at a cover letter and a resume and didn’t immediately see the boxes you wanted checked so you moved on. If your letter had said that, I wouldn’t be pissed off. But I wouldn’t have applied for your job if I didn’t have the skills to do it. I assure you that my skills are fine.
Most of y’all know that “Luther Siler” is a pen name. I had perfectly good reasons to take some steps to conceal my identity when I started the blog, but while I’m not considering abandoning the name (I’ve written six books as this dude, and have an actual network of real people who only know me by that name) it’s occurred to me that if I really want a different job, this blog and my Twitter following probably legitimately do represent my best networking opportunity for finding one, and I haven’t used it at all because I’ve always wanted to keep Luther’s and “my” lives separate. I may need to reevaluate this conceit, is what I’m saying here. Because this furniture selling thing is really getting old, and I don’t seem to be having any luck finding any alternate work as me.
Somewhat related anecdote: we have a Saturday morning meeting every week as a staff, since everyone works on Saturdays, and this week we did this little team building exercise involving our goals and fears. One of my co-workers noticed that I more or less dropped out of the exercise entirely when the “write about your fears” bit came up, and asked me about it later in the day.
I told him the truth: that damn near all of my legitimate fears right now involve being stuck selling furniture forever, and that I hadn’t really thought that sharing that little detail with the rest of my co-workers was the smartest way to start my day.