1586 Danger Zone.

Staying employed is scary. At least in my experience. I always had a lot of trouble getting a job. Once I had it I did very well and was valued, but actually getting in was always extremely difficult. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my nervous nature in unfamiliar situations, maybe it’s those little tests they make you take, maybe I’m just an off putting monster, who can say? In any case, having so much trouble getting in the door made me terrified of getting fired. I know that must sound strange considering how flippant the cast tends to act about employment, but that’s always how other people seemed to be to me. Apart from a handful like myself the people I worked with were totally fine with just walking up the road and getting a new job. People who seemed like they should have a lot of trouble finding work bounced from job to job like it was the easiest thing in the world.
I was once told that a lot of my initial problems with the job I had the longest was the little personality test they make you do. You’re supposed to answer truthfully but they expect you to have had a drink, or at least tried drugs. My record was so squeaky clean and my moral code was so abnormally strict that they thought I was lying. Think about that for a minute. Can you see what that encourages? Yeah, a deck stacked against people who are actually truthful and safe. Qualities that should have been desirable were seen as a practical impossibility. Finding that out really irritated me. I even understand the logic behind it, flawed though it is. That was just one of the many things that disgusted me about corporate philosophy.
I worked with so many people who stole stuff. People who, according to their little test, were top picks for employment. They came to work buzzed, or high outright, and we all had to pick up the slack while being treated like we were also doing something wrong. I became very jaded about the whole setup after a few years and was quite vocal about it. The farther the power core gets from the ground floor of a business the more they desire direct control while simultaneously doing everything to prevent themselves from having it. The suits want all the money without having to put in the time on the floor to actually see what stores need to function. That’s why Wal-Mart is falling apart, why Blockbuster failed, and any number of other businesses that got too big to steer properly on the waters of commerce. If you treat your employees as valuable, rather than criminals, they’re way more likely to go the extra mile to make sure the business runs properly for you. It’s as simpler as that, but the accountants don’t see things that way. Humans are a resource that can be tossed aside at any moment. That’s why going into most stores is a chore rather than an enjoyable experience.


Man, I hear you. The guy who works hard and plays by the rules always gets screwed by the corporate types. I hadn’t really thought about those stupid personality tests much, but you’re probably on to something there. Heaven forbid somebody shouldn’t act like the white trash stereotype they expect.

Honestly, I think they prefer their employees stupid. Stupid tends to not ask any questions about THEIR stupid. Thus why you, and I, have problems finding jobs.

Man, I hate those placement tests. I got one where it was binary choices, but almost always both choices sucked. They were usually unrelated too. It would be something like: Are you more likely to do something that would get you fired or abandon your children in a volcano?

Welcome to the Dollar General Employment Questionnaire. Seriously, out of all the jobs I’ve applied for, that store had the weirdest online test.

The damned things are personality tests. Weirdly designed and frustrating to fill out personality tests.

How hard is it to add the option ‘none of the above’?

Also why costco is so successful with a 10% employee turnover rate in an industry that averages about 80%. They pay well, give benefits, sick and vacation time, and have good promotional opportunities for even part time workers. But damn if everyone else is screwed.

Same problem with those types of tests. First done with job test? Check! Nailed job test with 100%? Check! Personality test? Nope! We want to hire the one with no schooling, drinks a lot, and won’t care about the job.

It makes one jaded.

Even growing up. For the life of me, I couldn’t get a job as a teen. Friend on the other hand was bouncing from job to job, all of which, were just walked out on.

Even at my last job, 8 years in, being ready to get another week of paid vacation a long with not going out drinking with the bosses, had me on the list for lay offs. :/

So many time, this. I have also worked in retail well can definitely saw this being the case for myself and my fellow coworkers. The worst is when you go for the interview, ask you how you do the job, and then tell, “Sorry, but I do not think you’d fit in here due blah, blah, and blah.”. This is especially true in the cellular and tech support positions where they want you to rack up as many customers served at the cost of forming a good or great rapport with the customers and providing them with long-term solutions (phones and solutions) that work for them and not short-term solutions (plans sold and “band-aids”) that work for the company.

Dude my experience exactly. I can apply for like 100 jobs but get no calls. I wound up getting the job I have now through a temp agency and the company hired me on after more than a year.

I can understand why, though, we were having massive HR issues at the time. We went through like three HR people rather rapidly.

The thing that destroyed me during interviews for the longest time was explaining my absence of work. Now that was a vicious cycle.

I quit my retail job when I was around 19 and started college. I didn’t work once while in college and graduated with a degree. The first few jobs I applied for I got the same question from every employer, “It says here you last worked at right aid over 4 years ago, can you explain this gap?”. I then proceed the same thing I explained earlier. I didn’t think much of it because I thought my reason is valid until one HR brings up that it isn’t a valid excuse and ask me why I didn’t seek work during school. I was called lazy by that same employer for defending myself, I was flabbergasted.

I proceed to spend another year job searching and mooching off my parents, it was bad times. I even blamed my lack of experience and from advice given to me in an interview I worked pretty hard patting out my portfolio by contributing to tons of projects on github. In that year I had over 600 contribution! Despite this my resume just looked worse because now I haven’t had a job in 5 1/2 years.

To shorten such a lengthy post, it’s a few years later and I’m working now. The most hilarious thing is that I never got a job anywhere I applied. I actually got emailed by someone on github who wanted to hire me. After that project I haven’t had issues with getting a job, I’ve gotten 2 other jobs in the last 5 years and without too much trouble.

It’s ridiculous, my resume didn’t change much, but I had one small job with a client and suddenly I am the most employable person. My resume, my experience, my portfolio didn’t matter. The fact that I had a connection was worth infinitely more.

tl;dr: Try not to have gaps in your employment, even if you hate your job make friends not enemies, connections are incredibly important.

I have to one hundred percent agree with you. It’s the situation I’m in right now. I have two jobs right now, one with a certain nation wide general store chain, the other with a very local pizza chain. I’ll give you two guesses which one treats me like I’m hiding three bodies and several thousand in stolen goods, and which one doesn’t.

WOW, I never thought about the personality test thing. I hadn’t drunk or done any drugs either, but I ain’t gona lie and said that I had. How weird. Then again, at the time, I had longer hair and a scruffy beard, so perhaps I looked like the stoner type while marking down that I hadn’t done any drugs? Ugh. Who knows. First impressions, I guess.

Doesn’t matter now, ’cause I’m still at my library job, and honestly: Nina is right! It’s hard to get in there! Mostly because of people like me who stay there FOREVER. I actually started there back in high school – I had been searching out second jobs in college, but kept my foot in the library because I freakin’ LOVE the place. When it was all over, I just slunk back to the library like I was defeated, but you now what? They’re all friends there. They found me more hours. Things for me to do. I mean, I’m not a librarian (and I guess I could go back and get more schooling to be one, but the thought of more school sends shivers down my spine) but I’m not ashamed of the work. I like books, I like keeping things in order, I can tolerate working the desk, and, like I said: It’s pretty much been the same people for years and years, so you kinda get a family going there.

So, basically: Nina’s got her work cut out for her.

You’re telling me that my years of being a goody-two-shoes who doesn’t drink, do drugs, or even SWEAR actually may have kept me from getting a job?!? Years ago, I applied to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and had to take one of these personality tests. I got turned down. And now I’m angry about it. I’ve heard of being overqualified, but this is RIDICULOUS.

I’ve never gotten a job I’ve applied for. I was asked to try a job, and see if I wanted to do it. I didn’t, but there was nothing else available. That was thirteen years, three companies, and nine bosses ago (more or less-basically everybody else is my boss). Still the same job. Health issues may change that however.
You should really try the Corona (salve not the beer-though that might help you forget your troubles). It worked wonders for my cracked hands and cuticles.

I failed countless personality tests for that same reason. I actually got grilled by the person who said they wanted to hire me but the test rejected me, she told me “for God’s sake just lie” I walked out.

Discouraging stories all around, and I can’t say I’m surprised considering my experience with corporate life, both at a dot com during the tech boom days and afterwards through the present in another industry. Sure the benefits are good, but the working environment and the lack of room for advancement (even for pay) counter that upside. With the terrible economy it’s an employer’s market, so finding a new job is not appealing even if I was comfortable interviewing (makes me nervous). Heck, I have a friend with both a Bachelor’s and a law degree (plus work experience) who’s been trying to find a decent job (his current one is shaky at best) for over two years and he’s lucky if he even gets an emailed rejection notice six weeks after applying for a position.

To quote an old webcomic (8-bit Theater?): “*sigh* Times are tough.”

Jackie, love the comic and enjoy the comments.

I feel that the way that corporations treat people is largely due to many if not most of the management or at least upper management has never done the jobs that are ‘in the trenches’ so to speak. Oh some of them may have played at it but they’ll not have had the full experience of it BEING their job.
It’s too many ‘educated’ folks that have no practical experience at all or as I call them, bean counters. Not all of them are accounts these days but it’s the same ideal, the front line folks don’t matter, you’ll just replace them when they get worn down or fed up.

First, I just found this comic a week ago and now I’m caught up. I love the writing and the characters.

Second, I can tell you about the view from the other side. I’ve been an inventory accountant and cost accountant for the past 20 years, including a stint doing IT and general accounting, most of it in manufacturing and wholesale. I did one stint for 3 years in high end retail and I’ve NEVER had to take a personality test… in fact, they’re severely frowned upon in the finance world. You figure out if the person will work during the interview, that’s why you talk to multiple people multiple times before an offer will be made. In today’s business climate, networking is worth 10 times more than your resume, education and background put together. It’s about who you know, who knows you, and whether or not they will vouch for your ability to get the job done.

I get emails or phone calls almost daily via LinkedIn asking to interview for a job somewhere, either here in Atlanta, or elsewhere. If I was willing to pull up stakes or do a long commute, I could have my pick of a dozen job offers to chose from. It’s all about my resume and skills… at this point. Twenty years ago though, I was unemployed, having just been fired as a mailroom clerk at a broker/dealer. I had no money, was living off the charity my parents sent me, and had a failed college attempt on my resume. I got my first job on the ladder of my career because my sister-in-law’s father knew me, knew how smart I was, and figured all I needed was a break, some proper guidance, and a challenge. I had the skills to get where I am today, but I had to have a lot of luck and some great timing as well. I went back to school and got my accounting degree while working 47 hours a week. If I was trying to do it all now, I don’t know that I would make it.

Most big corporations are top heavy, and I’ve worked for a couple. They were also Fortune 500 companies at the same time, so something was working. I’ve always found that hiring smart, hard working people and giving them the tools to succeed led to the most success for the company. Problem is, the higher up you go, the more they play games and cover their own ass. HR people have agendas, and when you keep fishing in the same lousy pond, you get the same dead fish. It takes a lot of hard work and tooting your own horn to get noticed by the right people, and then it still takes luck.

My advice? Don’t burn bridges… ever. Use every connection you know to open any doors you can. That one door you keep trying to get in may not ever be opened to you, and you may miss several that did open along the way.

Well, take my story, for instance. (This JUST happened Monday.)

In May, I applied for an internship at a nearby Air Force Base as a civilian maintainer. I’m still in school to get my license that will allow me to work on aircraft and sign them off. In fact, I had to send documentation to prove that I am enrolled in school this semester.

It has taken this long to get much feedback from the HR and get all of my ducks in a row. Oddly enough, there was no interview process. I guess they figure if you can get past all of the red tape to get this far, the interview is just a formality. Normally, that’s kind of cool. In this case, it actually would have been beneficial to have an interview.

On Tuesday, the person who would have been my supervisor told me I’d be on the T-38 side. (YES! Sweet little supersonic trainer. The fighter variant was used as a stand-in for the MiGs in Top Gun.) He also told me to show up at 8:00am the next day to start my standardization training, which will last a month.

I go to school at 7:30am. I’m 13 weeks out from graduating, and maybe a little longer for tests to get my license. I’ll be able to apply for an actual job then, not just an internship. I had to take a day off from school to even go through the orientation process. That’s normally not a big deal, but the FAA has very specific rules for schools about missing time. I’m going to HAVE to make that time up. You don’t just skip school if you’re taking any kind of aviation courses. You could be making straight “A”s, but if you miss too much time, you’re taking that class again.

They were not ready for me to tell them I was still a student. HR was not talking with the maintenance heads at all. They knew my schedule, but they didn’t pass it on. All they had to do was get a few people to come on night shift for a month, and I would have been okay.

No one was ready.

I had to walk away from getting my foot in the door on a civil service job. An internship was ONLY getting my foot in the door. As easy as it should be, it can also be really hard to get into civil service jobs. The red tape… It’s all over the place!

Yes, I could have done the internship and gone to school at night. They only run one class at a time at night, and I don’t know what classes they have running. It could take a year to get them all done. Sticking with it for 13 more months is just a better option right now.

There is good news, though:
– I have a better understanding of how HR works because of this process.
– I did it once. I should be able to do it again.
– It will give me a little more time to start applying to other places around the state.
– I will have some time to find an avionics job. Avionics is more my speed.

So, yeah. Jobs can be irritating. I’m going to have to start reading Robert Kiyosaki books once I get done with school so I can find another way to make money. It would be so much better to work for myself.

On the note of “libraries dying”, public libraries have had their funding drastically cut over and over again since the 2nd year of Obama’s first term.

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