Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Some weeks ago I made the decision to purchase a vehicle with my economic relief check from the government. Remember the one-time twelve hundred dollar (or less) check the government gave to us while carving literally trillions of dollars out of the budget for the corporations on the ultra-wealthy? I’ve written of the vehicle before; it’s the first one I’ve had in a while as the previous car I had was repossessed. I decided I didn’t want a payment, so the goal was to purchase a vehicle that I could buy outright for the government relief check.
For twelve hundred dollars you can’t expect much, but my vehicle far surpassed my hopes. It was less than the government surplus (this is what happens when you give money to the people who need it; we spend it and pump it back into the economy as opposed to giving it to the wealthy who hoard it to increase their personal wealth), but needed work. After putting in enough work to make it reliable and safe it cost maybe a couple of hundred dollars more than the check. But she’s mine, outright, and because I bought it with the Coronavirus check I call her “Corrine”.
Earlier this year, I lost an opportunity for a little bit of income for a second adjunct chemistry position because I didn’t have a vehicle to travel the forty or so minute commute. My lost income didn’t hurt nearly as much as knowing that I couldn’t help these students in need. My thinking is that with a reliable vehicle, I wouldn’t have to turn away opportunities.
One opportunity did come along. Well, two, really. Let’s start with the one that won’t go anywhere. See, I’ve been getting regular emails from an individual who is basically a resume consultant. For a couple of months, he’s been sending emails, promising interview requests, talking about landing the six-figure job. Finally, I decided to respond to one of these emails. He asked that I send him my resume for a free review. And, sure enough, he reviewed it, and for free. Of course, the idea is that he went so far then tried to get me to pay for the rest of the way, but what he said in his review is that I’m not getting interviews because I’m old.
Yeah, no kidding. His words were actual “age discrimination”, but changes to my resume won’t make me magically younger (unless I were willing to lie, which I’m not), so why would I spend a hundred and fifty bucks for changes that won’t make a difference? No thank you.
The other was an individual who reached out to ask to interview me for a position in her company. I’ve gotten requests like this before; typically, they’re things like insurance or recruitment, where I have to pay to get trained, pay for leads, and pay a percentage of money I bring in. If I were young, these might be viable options; it seems to be the way business is going, basically refusing to hire anybody, but rather having people go into business for themselves and give profits and payments to the larger organization. I have a problem with paying money to get the tools I need to do the work.
This one is a little bit different. This is a private company hired by the government to collect data for one of their agencies. The information is, of course, kept confidential, but they need field agents to reach out to potential respondents. It’s something like a door-to-door sales position, except there is nothing that I’m selling, so my income will not be based on sales. This means a more reliable regular income (they ask for a commitment of at least twenty-five hours a week), and I won’t have to build up my business to begin making money.
Fortunately, this opportunity (with which the interview process seems to be proceeding quickly and well) should dovetail nicely with my adjunct faculty position. My teaching is primarily in the morning (and I could restrict it to be so) while this position is primarily evenings and weekends. The idea is to make appointments with households at times that are most convenient for them. The bad news is, like the adjunct position, it is a “long-term” part-time temporary position. That means low pay (but probably more than I’m making teaching), and no benefits. Of course. And I’ve been in a position in the past where I’ve worked two part-time jobs, and the reality is that two part-time jobs do not equal one full-time job. And it hardly utilizes my past experiences and education. None the less, it’s a start. I guess this will tide me over until I’m standing at a mega store entrance saying “Welcome, git yer stuff and git out!”