It takes a nation of millions not to read them.

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Pay It Forward: A Maow Story #6

leave a comment »

A little after 10 a.m. Friday I received the sad news that Burns had passed away that morning, and right there in the breakroom at work, with a dozen or so co-workers milling about nearby, I became teary-eyed. Not crying exactly but just lachrymose enough that if someone glanced my way, they might have asked whether I was OK.

I pushed a tear away with my thumb and a moment later another arrived in its place. It persisted, and on my way back to work I had to will myself not to think of Burns so I could hold it together in front of customers and co-workers and get on with my day.

Burns was a 15-year-old orange tabby I followed on Twitter.

One of four, to be exact, whose human is a political writer I follow. A world-class journalist whose fine work is somehow overshadowed by the four (now three) orange tabbies with whom he and his wife share their lives. The Garfields, he calls them.

There’s a well-known science-fiction writer I follow primarily because of his four cats, the youngest of whom was a stray tuxedo kitten his family took in a year ago, who has blossomed into as charismatic a troublemaker as you would hope to find on social media.

Yet another cat I follow, on both Twitter and Instagram, this one a tortoiseshell — one of two rescue floofs who belong to a writer and criminologist in New England — is about to have surgery next week, and I have nervously awaited news of her health as her sad saga has unfolded. The surgery will cost her humans about $3,500, and they are rallying to raise the money however they can. And I feel that, because we’ve been there.

When Adriane’s Big Cat (aka B.C., whom I referred to affectionately as Suitcase) was ailing during our year in Sacramento, I was in no position to tell Adriane not to spend $1,200 or so on the surgery we hoped would save this creature who had been her companion for a decade or more. Sadly, the surgery revealed a larger underlying issue that would have required another surgery to correct, but ultimately we couldn’t justify the additional trauma that second surgery would cause him, with no promise that it would improve his quality of life. That second decision wasn’t about the money at all — though again, I couldn’t have said no — which is how you want it to be, if only for your own peace of mind.

When Maow became weaker and began to fail in the fall of 2017, I was fortunately in a position to throw money at the crisis — about $1,700 all told, after I took her to the emergency veterinary hospital. All it bought me was a few more days with her and the peace of mind that her regular vet had denied me, but it was worth it. And I would do it again. I can’t imagine not doing it.

That Friday night, when Maow was taken from me to have her vital stats collected and to be assigned her kennel, I stood at reception as other humans checked in their pets — I remember a bulldog and a golden retriever, though I can’t recall their names or illnesses now, but in particular I remember an older gray tabby who experienced so much pain when he pooped that he would leap straight up into the air. Which is hilarious for about three seconds, until you look into that poor cat’s eyes and see the concern etched into its human’s face, which was exactly as troubled as my own. And though my entire weekend was a sad, slow march toward letting go of Maow, I worried about all three of those pets and wondered about their care and progress all weekend.

That’s one of many final gifts Maow gave me: affection and concern for the pets of people I don’t even know.

Rest assured, then, that if I do know you — even if I’m unable to express it adequately at the time — I am standing beside you in spirit as you care for a sick or dying pet, and I’m very likely an emotional wreck about it. Because I’ve been there, and every minute of that harrowing last weekend still plays inside me on a loop.

Written by Shepcat

July 12, 2019 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Continuing Series, Life, Love

Tagged with

Things I Won’t Miss About My Old Job Now That I’ve Transitioned to a New Position

leave a comment »

People who say, “Wow, you’re really getting a workout today, huh?” when they’re part of the reason I’m getting a workout today.

People who tell me they’re sorry they can’t help me load their vehicle because they’ve got a bad back/recently had back surgery when they’re the reason I have a bad back/will someday require back surgery.

People who unbox/unpackage their purchase in the parking lot and leave the box/packaging behind for me to deal with.

People with no sense of spatial relations who buy items too large to fit in their cars.

People who buy large items or large quantities without first having removed all the shit they’ve been carting around in their trunk.

People whose cars would accommodate the large item or large quantities they purchased if they hadn’t brought every member of their family with them.

People who forget where they parked.

People who point out from a distance, “That’s me over there, the white Toyota van,” as though I can do anything for them until we both reach the vehicle and they open it for me.

People with no sense of their vehicle’s dimensions beyond the driver’s seat and steering column, as regards their inability to navigate it into/out of a parking space.

People too lazy to walk the 10 additional steps to the corral who just leave their shopping cart in an adjacent parking space or propped up on a landscaped median.

People too lazy to walk the three or fewer additional steps required to couple their shopping cart to the train of carts already in the corral.

People who just shove the second cart in the general direction of the corral, which encourages everyone who follows to do the same until there are 10 uncoupled carts in the corral pointing every which way.

People who peel the sticker off something they’ve purchased and wrap it around the handle of their shopping cart like they’re 5 or something.

People who dickishly wrap the child restraint around the handle of the shopping cart and click it in place.

People who use shopping carts as trash receptacles.

People who use the parking lot as a trash receptacle.

People who use the parking lot as an ashtray.

People who use shopping carts and/or the parking lot as diaper hampers.

People who bring their trash from home or feed their family of five then throw all their fast-food trash in our receptacles.

People who apparently drink a 12-pack of beer on our lot and leave behind their empties.

People who throw excessively heavy and/or sharp, jagged or otherwise pointy objects into the trash receptacles, threatening the integrity of the already-thin plastic can liners.

People who buy beverages too big for their bladders and throw the remainder in the trash so it can spill all over the place when their straw inevitably punctures the can liner.

People who are strangling our planet by drinking bottled water but can’t even finish off 16.9 ounces of water from the plastic bottles that are strangling our planet.


Written by Shepcat

June 30, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Life, Work

A Madeleine — #1 in a Series

leave a comment »

Friday afternoon as I waited in the chair for my oral surgeon to arrive for my follow-up, U2 played over the sound system of the dental practice.

In that moment I was transported back nearly 31 years to the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, where I celebrated my 21st birthday with my brother, Dustan, and my friends Andre and Michele. The evening’s main attraction: Bobcat Goldthwait.

Bobcat was in his prime in 1988, at the height of his popularity and the peak of his distinctive and singular comedic prowess. On this night he is characteristically manic, his screeching, howling, wailing voice playing to the back of the house. (We’re at a table somewhere in the middle, on the main floor.) Bobcat is rabid and hilarious, and you can barely catch your breath from laughter before he ricochets off in another direction. Then more laughter, more struggling to breathe, glancing at your friends to confirm that they’re experiencing the same giddy disbelief.

After a wild hourlong set, Bobcat, sweat-soaked and seemingly exhausted, bellows a thank-you to the crowd and exits the stage. The lights dim.

Long, sustained applause, catcalls and whistles from the audience. As an encore some comics will come out and do a little crowd work or have another tight, self-contained 3 to 5 minutes of material to reel off before they say a final goodnight. But you can’t imagine a comic of Bobcat’s vocal intensity and erratic physicality having anything left in the tank after the set we’ve just witnessed. Still, the crowd roars.

A minute passes, maybe more. The crowd won’t relent. Then suddenly a blue spotlight faintly illuminates the mic stand at center stage.

The crowd roars louder.

The familiar strains of a song begin to play over the sound system.

Enter Bobcat, first in silhouette, then bathed in the blue glow. He has removed the shirt that he sweated through during his set, and above the waist he is wearing only a tight black leather vest, his bare arms exposed. His stringy shoulder-length hair is now slicked back into a tight, precise ponytail. The stage lights come up a bit. He begins to sing.

See the stone set in your eyes / See the thorn twist in your side / I’ll wait for you …

The crowd goes insane.

Sleight of hand and twist of fate / On a bed of nails she makes me wait / And I wait, without you …

He is no longer pudgy, sweaty, frenetic Bobcat, the guy from One Crazy Summer and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. Right there in front of our eyes, he has become Bono — brooding, magnetic, self-assured — performing a dead solid perfect “With or Without You.”

And you give / And you give / And you give yourself away …

And he’s not lip-synching, either. He is fucking nailing it, every note, his voice crying out, hitting every crescendo. It’s beautiful, heart-wrenching, an absolutely mesmerizing 4 minutes of performance art.

I can’t live / With or without you / With or without you …

And then the music fades out. And he’s gone. And just like that, the house lights come up, and a thousand or so people are left to disperse toward the exits, puzzling over the transcendence of what we just witnessed together.

Written by Shepcat

June 7, 2019 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Continuing Series, Kansas City, Life

Tagged with

The Myth of Brand Loyalty

leave a comment »

“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” — Michael Corleone

I’m done with Starbucks.

For now, anyway. Unless and until they hire me to work at corporate HQ down in SoDo. Because I’m not above selling out if someone makes me a compelling offer.

But I’m done with throwing my money at the Siren. At least until the next time I need caffeine in an airport where she’s the only game in town.

And increasingly, Starbucks is the only game in this town. It’s a coffee town. It’s a company town. Their town.

But as I write this, I’m drinking my last venti latte for a while.

I just cleared the last 96 cents off the Starbucks app on my phone.

I’m out of reasons to need them anymore and looking for an alternative supplier in my general vicinity. (I had one, but they’re gone now. More on that shortly.)

I’ve been a faithful of patron of the Siren — and coffeehouse culture in general; I am equally if not more supportive of independent coffeehouses — since my first Starbucks latte at the Beverly Connection in West Hollywood roughly a quarter century ago. During that time I’ve poured untold thousands of dollars into the company coffers and whiled away countless hours in their stores and on their patios.

Is there better coffee to be had out there in the world? Almost certainly. And I’ve heard all the arguments about how it’s corporate and soulless and overpriced and “not even good coffee.” It’s actually better-than-average coffee, but perhaps its consistency is more important than its quality, because for 25 years I’ve been able to walk into any Starbucks from Los Angeles to Kansas City to Chicago to New York and points in between and get the same reassuringly familiar cup of coffee every single time. And that matters to someone like me, for whom the ritual of one’s daily cup is as necessary as the contents of that cup.

But over the past year, Starbucks has been slowly pushing me away. And yes, while the decisions they’ve made have been strictly for business reasons, it’s hard not to feel as though they’ve been passive-aggressively letting me know that my business isn’t as important to their bottom line anymore.

It began when I learned that they were discontinuing the single-origin Ethiopian coffee that had been my preferred home brew for several years. (Despite my otherwise unrefined palate, I have long been an ardent and discerning consumer of African coffees in general and Ethiopian coffees in particular. It’s said to be the birthplace of coffee, in fact.) The reason I was a gold card holder at all was because, working from home and drinking a pot of coffee a day, I bought so many pounds of whole-bean Ethiopia that I racked up reward stars right and left. And now they were discontinuing not only that mainstay but its reliable backup, their single-origin Kenya, as well. Meaning no African coffees at all except for their Premium Select or Passport Series or Starbucks Reserve offerings, sold in smaller bags at more exorbitant prices.

This Is Just to Say,png

And that’s fine. It’s not like I can’t find another purveyor or roaster to sell me Ethiopian coffee. It’s just that I had grown accustomed to the ubiquity and convenience of Starbucks. Which is how they get you. Until they decide they don’t need you anymore.

Then this past Christmas, my mom put a few $5 Starbucks gift cards in my stocking, whereupon I discovered that, since the last time I had handled a gift card, Starbucks had changed its app so that you could no longer add the value of a gift card to your own existing gold card. You could still reload your existing card with money but not with other gift cards. Which just seems petty as fuck. Why would you remove that particular convenience from an app that millions of people use? It’s not an improvement or enhancement, so they must not want to credit you with stars you didn’t pay for out of your own pocket.

So now I’ve got four separate cards with four separate balances loaded onto my phone, meaning that over the course of my last few visits I’ve had to cycle through a couple of them during a single transaction. That is, until today, when I burned the last 96 cents off the last card.

And truly, the gift cards were the only reason I had been dropping into Starbucks at all of late, because there was an indie coffeehouse nearby that I had patronized regularly since my move to this area — quiet, comfortable, with a courteous staff and a consistently delicious latte.

Until yesterday, when I drove past it for the first time in a couple of months — due to both my work schedule and the route I regularly drive to work — to discover that it had been bought out. By Starbucks.

Those motherfuckers.

This is why I can’t have nice things. (Well, this, and other extenuating circumstances, as it turns out.)

So Starbucks bought my indie oasis and turned it into a drive-thru/walk-in–only operation with no indoor seating. (I know this because it’s where I chose to close out that last gift card, for reasons having to do with both curiosity and a sense of narrative closure.) And I’m left to search for a new hangout and a new supplier if I intend to be a citizen of the world and a habitué of coffeehouse culture as I’ve been for the last quarter century.

Otherwise, there’s always my balcony and my books and my own company and my own coffee, brewed as I like it, right here in my own refuge, my own private oasis, far from the corporate interests who have made it clear that my loyalty isn’t that important to them anymore and that they were never loyal to me to begin with.

Written by Shepcat

May 24, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Life, The PNW

Tagged with


leave a comment »

To: You, the Filthy, Disgusting Citizens of America
Re: Your use of public trash receptacles

Listen up, scumbags.

In March I obtained employment with a major national retailer, in a role whose duties include emptying the trash cans posted at the entrances and exits of the store every evening. I don’t plan to make this a long-term bullet on my résumé, and I don’t presume to speak for the everyday heroes of municipal sanitation and janitorial services who have quite literally seen some shit and who almost certainly deserve more than they’re being paid.

But I am here to speak for the wage-earners who deal with your casual, thoughtless, careless attitude toward any of your trash that anyone but you has to deal with. And that includes kids in fast-food and convenience jobs who are getting paid about half of what I’m making. And no, you don’t get to use “It’s good for them, builds character” as your bullshit defense for making their menial jobs more insufferable.

No one’s asking you to do their job for them, only to do your small part to make their job less of a shitshow. Be a mensch. Use your head. Be part of the solution. It requires less time and effort than you imagine.

And so, a few things for you to consider and file away for future reference:

The Bags
A lesson in simple economics: When Hefty or Glad markets any of their durable, super-strong, high-quality garbage bags for home use, they are selling you, the domestic consumer, security, because they know you are willing to pay for it. And all you’re hoping to do is successfully transport your trash 40 feet to the end of the driveway and not offend your neighbors or the HOA.

Companies aren’t like that. Companies are constantly looking for corners and costs to cut so they can provide more value to their shareholders. So when they purchase garbage bags in bulk quantities, 50 to a perforated roll, 36 rolls to a case, they’ll sacrifice half a mil or more in thickness here and there, because paying a lower unit cost by a few cents now will save them dollars down the line. So the industrial-size bags used by industry aren’t exactly industrial-strength — they’re voluminous enough to hold a lot of trash in theory but not strong enough in actuality to hold the kind of trash industrial-strength maggots like you, their customers, tend to throw away on their premises.

Extreme examples: On a recent shift, some asshole threw an unpackaged circular-saw blade into one of our trash cans. Obliterated the fucking bag, which fortunately wasn’t full when I discovered it and therefore easily swapped out. No, the bag that was full — just moments later — was the one into the bottom of which someone (probably a co-worker) had thrown shards of broken glass which, under pressure from above, completely trapdoored the bag when I lifted it, sending the shards everywhere and requiring me to rebag the broken bag of garbage and double-bag the glass I swept up, the latter of which should have been done to begin with.

Speaking as one who deals with the literal fallout of your misplaced faith in or disregard for thin, cheap plastic: Truly, we won’t mind if you just place any sharp, pointy, heavy or oversize items beside or behind the receptacle if it is safe to do so. We’ll deal with it accordingly and thank you for not springing a trap on us in the form of another mess we have to clean up.

Your Beverages
This is a not-so-extreme example, because it occurs in virtually every bag of trash I’ve handled since I started this job.

Stop throwing your unfinished beverages in the trash. Liquid adds weight and density to the confines of the bag, and in many instances it isn’t going to stay in its cup, which means it goes directly to the bottom of a bag which is otherwise primed to burst at one weak point or another. Here are a few handy guidelines:

  1. Stop buying beverages larger than your bladder or which you have no intention of finishing. When a fast-food joint or convenience store offers you a ludicrous amount of liquid at a low price, stop thinking about value and ask instead, “How thirsty am I, really?”
  2. Pour out any beverage you don’t or can’t finish, preferably in an area that people don’t have to walk through. Pour it out in the parking lot, in the street, near a curb, on a landscaped median. Better yet, if you’re near an open area free of people, pets or cars, throw it, scatter the liquid and ice rather than creating a puddle someone might walk through. Do this so you can just throw away an empty cup.
  3. Remove your lid and straw and throw them away separately. Particularly your straw. Throw a straw in the trash, and its full length flexes and bends against the pressure of the other trash in the bag. Leave one-third or one-fourth of a straw sticking out the top of a secured cup lid, and it becomes a spike that will inevitably puncture the bag and spill liquid and God knows what else everywhere.
  4. Breaking down your cup to its component parts (and crushing your cup) is also more space-efficient.
  5. Speaking of which, bottled water — which you shouldn’t be drinking as much as you do, because plastic, however much convenience it adds to our lives, is contributing to the slow-motion destruction of our environment, and your municipal water is typically cleaner and more delicious than you imagine — is often sold in crushable bottles that collapse to take up less space. So crush them after you empty them, or if at all possible, hold onto them to recycle later. Soda cans, too.
  6. I mention that last point because, for all their good intentions and talk of conservation and sustainability initiatives, companies like my employer don’t always have the space and resources on site to accommodate proper, comprehensive recycling. We’re sending a lot of stuff to landfills that you might more easily recycle at home through municipal services that your tax and public-utility dollars already pay for.

Of course, all of this assumes that you insensate savages even bother to use the trash receptacles at all. As many of you as not use parking lots as trash cans and ashtrays, and while, as of this writing, I haven’t seen ours used as a toilet per se, one of you jagoffs left a soiled diaper in a shopping cart the other day, just roiling out in the noonday sun. Which, oddly, made me recalibrate my anger toward the dipshit who left a full, open, single-serve dish of uneaten coleslaw just sitting there on the apron in front of a parking space one day.

Also — and I can’t think of a better way to put this — don’t leave behind garbage that has no logical reason to be in the venue where you discard it. I realize that at the most basic level, it’s all just run-of-the-mill garbage, but don’t force me to consider questions of motive and opportunity like I’ve come across your trash at a crime scene.

Did the perp(s) who left a six-pack of Stella Artois empties really come to our parking lot just to knock back a few brews?

And who discarded a half-eaten rotisserie chicken (in its lidded container, thankfully) in the small trash can at one of our checkout registers inside the store? Who does something like that in public, in a durable-goods establishment that is nowhere near a restaurant, grocery store or mall food court? I mean, I see a lot of drive-thru fast-food refuse in our trash cans, and I get that: Someone grabs a burger and fries while running errands and tosses their containers when they reach our store. But a rotisserie-ass chicken from a grocery deli? Who in pluperfect fuck are you?

And another thing: Stop smoking. At the very least, stop smoking in public. It’s fucking disgusting. It’s slowly killing you. And at minimum it’s grossly offensive to the rest of us you’re also slowly killing with your secondhand smoke. And you toss the butts everywhere, and guess what: They’re not biodegradable. So just fucking stop it, OK? Asphyxiate yourself at home, litter your own driveway, and leave the rest of us out of your end-of-life planning.

I wrote recently about the dignity of work and my sense that no job should be beneath me if it means earning a steady wage and paying my rent until something bigger, better and more suitable to my talents and experience comes along. And I believe that. All things being equal, even collecting your garbage wouldn’t be so awful if I could just tie off a bag, replace it with an empty bag, and cart the full bag away without repercussions.

But you thoughtless, vile troglodytes need to consider the dignity of the people doing that work, picture them on the receiving end of that trash bag. Better yet, picture yourself on the receiving end. Maybe you imagine that I’m overthinking — idealizing — something as lowly, menial and literally disposable as garbage. But do my job for three days (or three weeks, or three months) and you’ll overthink it too.

If you think about it all, that’d be a good start.

Written by Shepcat

May 9, 2019 at 1:28 am

Posted in Life, Work

A Tale of Two Men

leave a comment »

Monday I met a gentleman, 75 years old, who was aging-movie-star handsome — I mean disarmingly, unsettlingly so. Lean, angular, with thinning silver hair combed straight back, and a neatly trimmed mustache on a face lined only at the corners of his clear blue eyes. His was the face of a man who had never smoked, had never drunk to excess, and, most importantly, had discovered the importance of a sunscreen and moisturizing regimen years before any of his peers caught on.

He bent my ear for a few minutes and as he spoke I tried to place who he reminded me of, but I still can’t summon a proper analog. Maybe … some combination of Christopher Plummer and Terence Stamp, but thinner, wiry, and assuming that combination had aged as well as Paul Newman while maintaining Richard Farnsworth’s pleasant, easygoing demeanor. I don’t know. That’s all I’ve got. He’s a cipher.

Most striking about this man, though, were his hands. In the starkest contrast to his face, these were the most gnarled, abused hands I have ever seen. I have the delicate hands of a typist that aspire to be the hands of a boxer, but I’ve known men whose hands display the wear and weather of lives spent performing manual labor — of houses built, of cars repaired, of freight loaded; taut, calloused, sandpapery — and none of them had hands like this man’s.

This gentleman had been an aerospace machinist for 33 years, half of that at Boeing. His fingers and nail beds were darkened in a way that implied not that he had been working on something greasy or dirty that morning but that he had resigned himself years ago to never being able to scrub away the stain of his labor. Most of his knuckles were split open, like dark craters at the joints of his fingers. His hands didn’t look like they had operated or repaired machines for three decades so much as engaged them in fierce mortal combat.

I erred on the side of holding his piercing, youthful gaze just so he wouldn’t catch me staring in wonder at his hands. What little I pieced together about his life in our few minutes together — “I wanted to do something different, but my wife kept having kids” is the line that stuck with me — were details that I could almost reconcile with his leading-man-in-twilight face. But there’s an entire biography that someone should write about that man’s hands.

Written by Shepcat

April 9, 2019 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Life, The PNW

The Dignity of Work

leave a comment »

Last Saturday night on the swing shift I singlehandedly — my hands, my arms, my back, no mechanized or human assistance — loaded 27,000 pounds of freight onto two outbound trailers.

That’s a sentence I never imagined I’d write. That’s an accomplishment that can never be taken away from me. But it nearly broke me.

After only three days on a job billed as “light industrial work,” I quit the following Monday because, at 51, a generally sedentary person coming off a year-plus of unemployment, my body would need more than a Sunday to recover from the physical toll exacted by that volume of manual labor.

I’ve been blessed with a college education and a professional life spent alternately in office settings, on a studio lot, and in the comfort of my own home. While I’ve often quipped that I’m the laziest person in my family, I also have my father’s work ethic encoded in my DNA, and I’ve never thought of myself as looking down on manual labor. I’ve even done a little of it in the past, but not enough to prepare me for the situation I entered last week, a little misguided and misinformed, when after a long layoff I decided to reach out for any kind of work I could obtain to be back among the gainfully employed again.

It’s an idea I began taking more seriously last fall when actor Geoffrey Owens, formerly of The Cosby Show, was “outed” by the Daily Mail and Fox News for taking a job at Trader Joe’s to make ends meet between his acting and teaching gigs, sparking a national conversation about the dignity of work. Shortly thereafter, my brother took a seasonal job with UPS, assisting a driver on a daily delivery route, to help pay the bills during a fallow period in his own line of work.

I know I should have explored these other, blue-collar options sooner. The main reason I didn’t is that at my age, I may be entering last-chance territory in terms of finding the kind of job at which I excel, at which I have experience, and which I might see myself doing for the rest of my professional life. During this search I have already been shunned for being “overqualified,” which is another way of being told either that I’m too old or that I might expect a higher salary than an employer is willing to pay when they can hire someone younger on the cheap.1

So I felt fortunate, at the time, to have landed that so-called light-industrial job before real panic could ensue about my finances and day-to-day necessities. Again, though, I was unprepared for the reality of the work itself, and while I adjusted and adapted quickly to the environment, it still proved to be work that I was not cut out to do, for reasons both physical and temperamental.

“A man’s got to know his limitations,” goes an old Clint Eastwood line. And there were a couple of occasions on those three nights of work when I consciously pushed myself beyond mine because I wanted to finish the task at hand and make it to the end of the shift. In the end I don’t think my value to the employer would have exceeded those limitations, to the extent that I felt I was doing the job well but too deliberately to be appreciated. It’s work that emphasizes speed and strength more than contributions like my math skills and attention to detail, so I probably did us both a favor by showing myself the door before they did.

As of this writing, I’m awaiting an interview for a white-collar job that I applied for around the same time. I try not to get my hopes up about these things, even though I need to work as much as the next person, but it would certainly help matters if I could land that job and the salary and benefits it offers.

And if not that job, perhaps there’s another one on the not-too-distant horizon — even a blue-collar job — to which my abilities are better suited. Because I can say now, with a little more clarity and credibility than I might have summoned a few weeks ago, that every job matters in this country and moves us all forward — one person, one family, one community at a time — toward the quality of life we all deserve if we work hard and hold up our end of the contract … and employers hold up theirs.
1 As someone who spends a lot of time scouring job listings online, this is a particular bugbear of mine (there ought to be a law, in fact): Employers, just tell us up front how much you intend or are willing to pay, and let us, the job seeker, decide whether that represents a sufficient living wage for work we might apply for. Then let us stand or fall on our merits alone.

There’s an old line about job interviews: The first person to mention money loses the negotiation. So when advertising for a job, an employer puts a prospective applicant at an immediate disadvantage by asking for their “salary requirements” or “expected compensation,” when it’s just a way for lazy human resources departments to shrink the stack of résumés they have to consider for a particular opening. If you want someone cheap, say so, in no uncertain terms. Employers have all the power to begin with. Don’t put people struggling in a competitive job market in the position of undervaluing their own skills and expertise so they can underbid other applicants for a job you’re too coy, too lazy and too cheap to promote honestly.

End of rant.

Written by Shepcat

February 4, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Life, The PNW, Work