Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blue-light special

posted Fri, 17 Nov 2006

I had my interview at the store yesterday. I had to complete their online application first. Even though I had already completed an online application online from my house to apply. If I were in charge, this would be one of the areas where I would improve things, but I am now a flunky, not an in-charge person, as the HR manager (Millicent) was quite quick to remind me in every way, from our initial conversation where she pointed out that this was an hourly position and not salaried (yes, I knew that – I had clicked on the darn job description, read it and then clicked on “Apply now,” hadn’t I?), to when we were tidying up the details of when I would do the paperwork.

But I had to complete the second online application, then wait to be interviewed. I had debated about the appropriate outfit for this interview – khakis and a sweater? Skirt and blouse? I couldn’t decide, so settled on a suit, deciding overkill couldn’t hurt. Besides, I didn’t feel like ironing any pants.

After I was through talking to Randy, I had to talk to Millicent again. “You need to come back on Monday at 9:00 to complete your paperwork,” she said. “Bring proof of citizenship.” “We could do it now if you want,” I suggested. “I have my passport.” She glared at me. “Monday at 9:00. Then Monday from 4:00 to 6:00 for orientation.” I knew better to question her again. I don’t need a reputation as a troublemaker.

Lucky for me I wore a suit. Who knew that the last bastion of formal business dressing was retail? Once Millicent handed me over to Randy, I thought I might be OK. Randy was impeccably dressed in a suit and tie. Millicent was wearing a pantsuit, but hers was polyester-esque. Randy’s was silk and worsted wool. Randy’s shoes were polished. His tie was beautiful. It was clear that the guy values looking nice.

He looked at my application. I had been forced to list salary information. He looked back at me. “What did you used to do at your old job?” he asked. “Why aren’t you there any more?”

I explained. Then he asked why I wanted a job at the store. “I’ve got bills,” I told him. “I need to make money. As much as I can.”

We talked for an hour – about shoes, about the test on the first online application, about shoplifting, about customer service, about loyalty programs, about whether I could sell shoes (I could, but turned out the commission job he had in mind wasn’t a seasonal job after all), about how he started as a seasonal part-timer and now he runs a couple of departments and about how demeaning unemployment is for anyone with a work ethic. He’s the first person I’ve spoken to about unemployment who shares my sentiments.

“Just a second,” he said, as he stepped out of the room. When he returned, he said, “I know you said you’d rather be in housewares, but they don’t pay as much, so how about better sportswear? That’s nine dollars an hour. That’s the highest I can get you.”

I like Randy.

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