Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You want a job....?

People have told me for years (teachers, employers, my parents) that I have an outstanding work ethic. This has always somewhat perplexed me, given that I view myself as lazy, unmotivated and as someone who hates working more than pretty much anything in the world. My ideal job would be to get paid $18 an hour to read the internet and drink coffee and not have to speak to anyone. Whenever I have a job all I do is complain, and I often have a very bad attitude at work, even towards my bosses.

But in the last couple of jobs I've had, some of that praise has started to make sense viewed in the context of comparing me to most other people, who are not only completely incompetent most of the time, but also lack basic personality skills (managing to speak beyond mono-syllables) and often just don't show up for work.

Even in these dire economic times, I've lately been witness to some shocking displays of well, not necessarily incomptence, maybe, but some kind of thoughtlessness. At my place of employment, despite being retail, it's not incredibly easy to get hired. I work primarily at the customer service desk, so I see everyone that comes in the store, and in the last couple of weeks I've had various people come in for interviews, but not know who called them, who they're supposed to interview with, or what time, exactly, they're supposed to be there. Or they show up in flip-flops.

It's kind of extraordinary.

Yesterday this guy came in about 1, and said he had an interview, but he didn't know if it was at 2 or 2:30. Was it a group interview or a one-on-one interview? He wasn't sure, but thought it was the group interview.

So I call the woman who's in charge of those, and she says, "No, there are no group interviews today. Besides, ours are always at 2:30, never at 2."

So I ask the guy who called him about the interview. Naturally, he doesn't remember. I throw out some names. One of them kind of rings a bell, but he's not sure.

So I call upstairs to the operator who's supposed to have a fairly good grasp of what's going on. The guy up there transfers the interviewee to R____, the woman who probably called him, but her voice-mail picks up and the guy leaves a message. I ask who he was transferred to, I say, "Was it R_____?" His reply? "I don't remember."

You don't remember? You just left her a voice-message 20 seconds ago and you already don't remember who it was??

After a few more rounds of calls, and even a call to the south store, which is, in fact, having a group interview that day at 2, but the guy still thinks he's supposed to be at the north store, he finally leaves and says, "Oh well, I guess we'll figure it out later."

Someone else came in the other day (in flip-flops and torn jeans) for an interview that was supposed to be at the south store, and with whom she also couldn't remember. Don't these people write anything down or pay attention to what people who are potentiallly interested in giving them jobs are saying to them?

So yes, I guess compared to people like this (and the examples go far beyond just these two, trust me), I have a pretty good work ethic.

1 comment:

Tom Drew said...

What's even better is conducting interviews with these people, especially when they turn out to be regular customers that annoy the piss out of you, and who you wouldn't have agreed to interview if you could put a name and a face together.

I wasn't present for this, but a friend of mine once interviewed a 40-ish homeless man for a job at Hastings. One of her traditional questions was, "Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from looking at your application."

Most people would talk about a pet, or charity work, or a hobby. This guy said, "I'm still a virgin."

I believe the interview was concluded shortly thereafter.