Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NaBloPoMo: work

If you can't think of anything else to blog about, you can always blog about work. I'm all Deuced out at the moment, so I'll blog about work.

All Americans fall within one of three categories: former Wal-Mart employees, current Wal-Mart employees, and future Wal-Mart employees. This is the story of how I moved from category two to category one.

George W. Bush's first term was a bad time for me, as it was a bad time for humanity in general. I had been laid off from three successive jobs, each one paying less than the one before. By November 2002 I was desperate enough to apply to Wal-Mart for work as a cashier. They hired me, and I moved from category three to category two.

The pay was bad, the benefits were bad, and the work environment was bad. After two years, I wanted out, but I didn't dare leave unless I knew I had somewhere else to go. So I started looking in the help wanted section of the classifieds. (For those of you under the age of 25, the "classifieds" were low-cost ads in the back of the newspaper, and job offers were posted in what was called the "help wanted" section. Before Craigslist, this was how people used to look for work.)

There was an ad from a local hotel looking to hire a night auditor, which is the clerk who mans the front desk during the graveyard shift and totals up the day's receipts. A night auditor had to have some accounting experience, and one of the jobs I had been laid off from had been an accounting clerk. The work was only part-time, two nights a week filling in for the regular night auditor, but the pay was much better than Wal-Mart, and I'd be getting my foot in the door. If the regular night auditor ever quit, I could take over for him and quit my job at Wal-Mart. A slim hope, but better than none, and hope is thin on the ground at Wal-Mart. I applied for the job, and the hotel hired me right away.

Six months later, Brian, the regular night auditor, announced that he was indeed leaving in the near future. I gave Wal-Mart two weeks' notice, and at the end of the first week Brian quit, so I spent one harrowing week working full-time at both jobs. I counted down the days, then the hours, then the minutes, and finally the seconds, and then I was done my last shift at Wal-Mart. I hung up my smock and walked away. I had graduated from category two to category one. I was free.

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