Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Employment Journal, Part II

I only had a couple of hours to spend looking for work yesterday, so I limited my search to department stores on the theory that the larger stores might be more likely to need help. No such luck. I went to three different stores in two different malls and came home feeling slightly humiliated.

Things started badly at Store 1. After a fruitless search for either the manager's office or someone who could tell me where to find said office, I finally encountered an employee in the sock section. "Can you tell me where the manager's office might be?" I asked hopefully. She looked me over and quickly replied, "You won't be hired." Although I wasn't wearing a business suit I was fully clothed and my fly was not open, so I have no idea where that hostility came from. "I'd like to try anyway," I said, and she begrudgingly sent me on my way.

In the manager's office I waited 15 minutes for a 22 year-old to get off the phone and was handed an application. I filled it out while she made several more phone calls. The application asked for the address and phone number of my high school. I had no idea this was information that would be pertinent in life. When she got off the phone 20 minutes later, I handed her my application and asked if they were hiring. "I don't think so," she replied. "The manager will call you, maybe, but you should come back later in the summer when we hire for the holidays." OK, off to Store 2.

There, I easily found the office and was immediately handed an application. I again needed to know the address and phone number of my high school. This time I was also handed a true or false questionnaire: All merchandise on the premises is the property of Store 2 - true or false? I'm thinking I passed. I handed my materials to the man behind the counter and asked if they were hiring. He read over my application, looked at me, and said, "We don't handle headquarters. You have to apply to corporate." I told him I was looking for a job on the floor, to which he replied, "Oh?" Silence. He finally told me that they'd keep my application on file and someone might call me.

Store 3 was much the same, only this time I spoke with the actual store manager, who read my application and opined, "Well, you have lots of....experience. Are you sure you want to work here?" I explained that I just really needed a job. She in turn explained that Store 3 prefers to hire "career workers," and that it didn't look as if I'd want to make Store 3 my career. So I don't think I'll be hearing from her.

In short, I don't appear to be the kind of worker department stores are looking for, although I got the sense that they aren't looking for any kind of employee right now. I'll return to the malls and see if any of the smaller retailers are hiring at a later date. I won't have time to look for work today - my real jobs beckon - but later this week I think I'll give some restaurants a try.


tunsie said...

my girls do not like where and how this is going and they won't let me say anything on this post.tunsie

Beth said...

Since it's clear that operations like mall stores are really hurting in this economy, a person who really needs a job might be better off looking at McDonald's, etc. The clerks treating you cynically have most likely seen colleagues laid off lately.

Anonymous said...

I have always thought that an excellent career would be to have companies hire people in our age group to teach manners and customer service to the people in service oriented business. nothing worse than a rude 22 year old.