Thursday, February 18, 2010

The beginning

Without going into the details of why, I will start by saying that I find myself unemployed during the worst recession in my lifetime (I am 51). I have now been unemployed almost five months and have had no success in getting a job in any of the fields I have previously worked (and for which I was well qualified and well paid). With multiple degrees and various certifications, and having applied for every job that met my salary requirements, I have had only three interviews and no job offers.

I believe strongly that all able-bodied people should work for a living and I would only ask for assistance from the government if it was the difference between my children eating or not*. My kids are all adults now and taking care of themselves, and though my husband and I are definitely stressed over my lack of income, we not only wouldn't qualify for assistance, it is against my nature to ask. *It should be noted that I am not opposed to government aide for those who need it.

I do not believe there is any job that is "beneath me" so when my son challenged me to apply at Walmart I had to take him up on it or explain why not. This is a journal of that experience. Do I think I am unique in that I am willing to do a minimum wage job for which I may be over-educated and over-qualified (though in reality I have absolutely no experience in retail so am completely unqualified)? No. Do I think many people are actually doing it? I don't know. I don't even know yet if I have the job so this may end before I even begin.

Yesterday I had an interview at a Walmart Neighborhood Store (grocery store). I was interviewed by three people and was told that if I pass my drug screen and my criminal background check I will be offered a job in the produce section. The hiring manager is aware that I have no experience at this but that I am willing to learn and work hard. I will be told my hourly wage when/if I agree to take the job. It is part time, which was explained to me will be from 16 to 33 hours a week. I will have no benefits. He did note that if a full time position opens it is possible for me to move into it.

This morning I submitted my urine for a drug screen and I found it fascinating. The technology used by the clinic was awesome and the safeguards to ensure that my urine wasn't tampered with were well done while still leaving me my dignity. The testing itself was started via instrumentation while I watched and the results were then automatically emailed to the Walmart manager via the instrument's software within 30-40 minutes. Very nice system and I wondered how expensive it was. Being a Navy veteran, I have done my fair share of drug screens but this is the first as a civilian and the first in which I didn't have someone actually watch me urinate. Seriously awesome experience.

Because I don't drive and my husband was at work, I took the bus to the clinic for the drug screen. The clinic is just across the street from the Walmart so the bus trip was a good way to confirm that I can get to work via the bus if necessary. It was a nice trip; had my kindle so I wasn't bored and there was only one transfer. It took about 30 minutes to get there. Getting out of the house was rather refreshing.

I am looking forward to working at the Walmart Neighborhood Store in the produce section and will update when there is new information.

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