Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Middle Son still unemployed

He's applied at a number of places, I'm told, and he's clearly a bit defensive about it. Just the other night, when Oldest Son -- the one with two jobs, but both unpaid -- began gooning Middle Son about his jobless state, the volume level increased and the quality of language decreased to the point where, next day, the neighbor made a point of asking my Long Suffering Spouse, "Is everything OK?"

But Middle Son has raised a number of obstacles to obtaining employment: He can't work evenings and maybe not even in the late afternoons because the weight room at his school is only open then. And he's slated to pitch on weekends for a team in the summer league his college coach has put together. This Sunday's doubleheader was cancelled at the last minute -- so I begin to question the necessity of scheduling around these things.

And Middle Son would apparently be willing to work around these scheduling difficulties, too, for the right kind of money: Last week he answered an ad that promised employment at $1,000 to $1,200 a week. The ad did not specify what sort of work might be required for this princely sum, but Middle Son was invited to interview for the position when he called to inquire.

The job was near Midway Airport; we live near O'Hare -- but for that kind of money, Middle Son was willing to travel. After his interview, I asked what Middle Son would be doing.

"Driving an SUV," he said, "delivering stereo equipment." He explained that the job would be five days a week, 10 hours a day, from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm.

"Where?" I asked.

"I don't know."

"Does this job just involve delivery or do you sell the equipment as well?"

"I don't know."

"What kind of equipment is it?"

"I don't know."

"To what sorts of places would you be delivering this equipment?"

"I don't know."

The interview continued a while longer yet, but the pattern did not change. Long Suffering Spouse said, "This sounds like a scam to me."

"Of course it's a scam," I replied, if for no other reason than no real employer would turn an 18-year old loose driving any vehicle in the City of Chicago, much less an SUV, but Middle Son wanted to return the next morning for the start of his three day "training." He left the house early in the morning to make certain he'd be on time. Ninety minutes later, he was on his way home.

"It was a scam," Middle Son said. "It was a sales job.... They told us we'd be starting our own business...."

The college coach has since offered Middle Son an exciting opportunity in the field of telemarketing. Middle Son is increasingly tempted, but still hopes to find something on his own.

I suggested that something in the fast food industry might be in order: He could work the early morning hours that he says he wants and still put together enough hours in a week to earn some meaningful spending money for the coming school year. He certainly has vast experience as a product tester. Moreover, I told him, when he's rich and famous he can be part of a national ad campaign touting his first successful foray into the world of work.

But Middle Son said he would rather call business people like me and endure the abuse we dish out to telemarketers who routinely interrupt our days than be spattered with a little bit of french fry grease. I told him I don't like calling people I know, much less strangers; I'd much rather push a mop and pail around the floor while wearing a silly paper hat. "Well, that's how we're different, Dad," Middle Son said.

Homework assignment: Which would you choose? Telemarketer? Or entry level fast food drone?

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