Yep, that’s the sad truth… I’m going to put Mental Cigaretttes on hiatus for a bit.

Short version: I have a new job in NYC and it’s an actual writing gig. The upshot is I’m going to be working in something I’m passionate about, where I’ll be paid to pick up women, to be my boss’ wingman, and to write! It’s a wonderful opportunity, and that segues nicely into why I’m not going to be posting here for  a bit – I’m under a pretty bulletproof NDA to not write about, talk about, or otherwise spread nasty rumors about the project I’m a part of.

Considering that the last time I was doing something I absolutely adored I fucked it all up by writing about it without permission, I’d be a grand idiot to make that mistake twice. For that, and for other reasons, I won’t be writing here for a while.

Don’t fret – when I come back there will be a wonderful story to be had, I promise!


Now enjoy some gibberish ûsíñg my sick new spañish keyboard! ßð↓µðn“” ßðđ ĸ ¢ßæ½ł{ →€nł @€ĸjjħÆı‘Ħ®Jı¢⅝±⅞ª©>ĦJ au revoir!


Job Hunting

April 17, 2010

Today’s topic is job hunting.
Job hunting can suck a hard one.

I don’t really understand what employers are looking for, but I definitely don’t have it.  I have a few guesses at what they’re looking for – maximal work for minimum pay, fanatical devotion, one guy was asking for masseuse training of his personal assistant – but by and large this whole job hunt is a shot in the blackness.  Or really, a machine-gun volley into the pitch dark night judging by the volume of applications I’ve been tossing out lately.

Why was this so much easier in Central America?

For all of the technology, effort, and wording that goes into these online job boards, automated application processing servers, and fine-tuned exacting postings, I would have hoped for a lot more in the way of results.  I got my last two jobs in a matter of days simply by going door to door and asking people whether they knew of anyone hiring.  Bear in mind this was in unknown towns, in Spanish mostly.   Sure, I tried getting jobs online through message boards and traveler forums, but hardly anyone I ever sent a resume to or wrote a nice letter even gave me the courtesy of a reply.  Jobs came from personal connections, friendships made, cigarettes shared at the right moment. The formal job channels just don’t seem to work as well as the informal.

I wager the same is true here in the US, but I really wouldn’t know, because I don’t know even where to begin.  There aren’t really business districts here, just shopping centers, and that’s exactly where the informal strategy doesn’t work.  Going door to door at local restaurants was fun for an afternoon, but after a handful of instances I gave that up right quick.  Why?

Q: Hi, do you have any open positions?

A: Umm, No.
This No is a very special no, because it comes with a glaring  stink-eye, the sort you give your dog when he rubs his ass on the carpet or a homeless bum who dares show his face around decent company.  It’s the sort of look that is designed to say “fuck off asshole lowlife shitface dirtbag” but instead just tells me that this is not the sort of place I want to be working.  I get it.  I understand.  New employees means competition, lower wages for you, another mouth to feed off the dwindling money trough.  It’s not a hard equation, but it definitely doesn’t encourage me to keep barking up that tree.

I’m not pretty enough to get a job in retail or bartending.  At least those industries are honest enough to admit they’re looking for “attractive young females” who are willing to submit a recent headshot.  Drag, because I’m pretty good at that sort of mindless stuff.

I think part of this comes back to my resume – people read “Central America” and think “crazy third world hellhole” which leads them to immediately discount anything I did there.  “No way is running a bar in Guatemala at all relevant to anything here!”  Bigger than that is the competition here – there are a hundred or more applicants to any position, and many of them are 30 years old with ten or twelve years relevant experience.  My adventure stories and run-around lifestyle is a liability compared to their stability and reliable work history.

A philosophy degree, a pile of odd jobs, and nothing much more than that – not a winning recipe to get hired.  Not when 20% of young people in the area aren’t employed.  Not when a solid 10% of the working population of the country is out of work.  Not when I still would rather do something meaningful like write poetry or tell stories than scrub floors for minimum wage.  I think I broke myself for this whole normal life thing, and while a big part of me is ok with that, the pocketbook isn’t.  Hence why I’m sitting on the couch on a Saturday night instead of heading out for a night on the town.

You know what though?  I had my fun, this is the part where I pay my dues.  All else fails, I still have the nuclear option – I’ll just buy a sailboat and flee.  That’s a good life decision, right guys?

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