Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Enjobbified - sort of

It seems that it's easier to get jobs that don't require your employer to pay you. Obvious, I suppose. So first I got a job selling comedy tickets. I found this on craigslist, where it was advertised in a misleading way: it said that the job involved promoting award-winning restaurants. There's no mention of selling tickets for shit middle-of-nowhere unimportant comedy clubs. This job involves standing in the street stopping susceptible-looking people and trying to persuade them to buy tickets. It's horrid. So I gave up after about four hours.

Then I got a job selling cutlery, and it had a better pay structure: each time you do a demo, you get $17.25 plus commission - as opposed to the 50%-of-sales commisson with no basic pay with the comedy tickets. I decided against that because you're supposed to sell to your parents' friends and acquaintances and I don't know any grown-ups on this continent, so it wouldn't have worked well.

Thirdly, I saw an ad on the street that was looking for flyer distributors. Easy work, bad pay, I thought, so I decided to give it a go. I like bad pay, me. So I went, clean shirt and shiny shoes on, resume in hand, chin up. When I got to the address, I stopped dead. There were thirty people in a queue out the door and down the street from the address. It's just handing out flyers! It'll pay like $7 an hour! What are all these people doing? That was discouraging: if there's this much competition for a rubbish job, what chance have I of getting a proper job?

Anyway, I queued up and got in eventually. 150 had showed up, but they seemed prepared for us: they had a hall full of chairs set up. So this guy gets up and starts telling us about motivation and energy and sales. What relevance does this have to flyer-distributing? Then, they show us a video. It says things like "Never before have market forces combined to create the perfect storm of economic conditions to allow such an opportunity. It may never happen again." Having done two years of economics in college, I could confidently state that it was complete cock. At the end it said "copyright 2004", and that got alarm bells ringing for even the less-well-educated (most people there). If it was "never again" five years ago, what is it now?

Turns out that a shady company called Prepaid Legal was hiring sellers and had fabricated the flyer distribution job to get people in the room. I waited until someone was in the middle of one of their little speeches and then I walked out.

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