Getting a Job in a Nutshell
Currently quite relevant
People think I am crazy when I talk about this.
Every job in the history of the world.
THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR….LYING!
What? NO! This is a job for volunteering.
You want to work in a cafe, but don’t have any experience (thus they won’t hire you)? Volunteer at a cafe. You’ll then get experience in a cafe that you can put on a resume.
BAM! Experience needed to work at a cafe.
how many cafes in the us are looking for volunteers
Seriously let me address the above because it is some bullshit.
You are telling people to do work for free. Disregarding how they’re going to obtain food and shelter in the meantime.
Fun fact: The place you want to work? Will train you anyway. Even if you have all the experience in the world, they will generally make you go through training to fit the needs of their institution - how THEIR coffee machine works, how to make THEIR recipes, how to run THEIR register - because if you haven’t worked at that specific store before, you don’t know any of that.
So the idea that having a ton of experience at certain jobs is kind of bullshit. Making coffee isn’t something that requires critical analysis or wisdom or experience. You can lie about that shit.
The fact that jobs require you to have experience for entry-level shit is, indeed, a form of gate-keeping and needs to be dismantled. In the meantime, LIE.
Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
Lying is the absolute WORST thing you can do. If anybody finds out you lied about previous experience, that’s it, your professional career is OVER. This is ESPECIALLY true in the food service/culinary industry, because relatively speaking it is so small, and so tight knit, that if you fuck up, everybody in the industry in the area will know, and put you straight on the do-not-trust list. If you lied about having experience at Cafe Imagination to get a job at Cafe B, and your boss finds out, they’re not going to trust you, and they’re going to tell EVERYBODY.
Don’t kid yourself, they will check and confirm EVERY. SINGLE. THING you list. Every reference will be called, every indication of previous experience will be confirmed, and every single award and recognition will be checked.
And excuse me, but have you EVER operated an espresso machine? It is one of the most difficult aspects of running a cafe. Not everybody can make a latte, hell, a lot of people have a difficult time making basic COFFEE right. Maybe at Starbucks or Tim Hortons, where it’s all push-button : receive espresso, you’d be fine. A cafe, where you’ve got to grind the beans, clean the machines properly, measure water, steam milk, pour properly so you don’t make a mess is NOT the same thing, but the basics of any cafe operation are all the same. Any cafe you walk into will make espresso using pretty much the exact same method, just different technologies to do it.
Somebody looking to hire, even at entry level, would rather hire somebody they only have to spend a couple hours training on, rather than a day or longer. If you run Cafe X, and you have a choice of somebody with no experience, or somebody who volunteered at Cafe B for a week, who would you rather hire? The volunteer at least knows the basics of working behind the counter, you just have to quickly go over the operation of your machine, cash register, and your coffee-to-water ratio. The one with no experience will require a LOT more then that, and that costs time and money, which a cafe almost NEVER has. People seem to think that a cafe is a license to print money, it’s not, and whoever started that lie need to be hanged by their thumbs over a shark tank.
Also, volunteers? They have to be trained too. Whether you were hired or not, going through training is pretty much unpaid anyway. It figuratively makes NO difference if you volunteer at a place before applying for a job. No, volunteering won’t land you any income, but it WILL get you experience, and HAVING that experience will go a long way to getting and actual paying job.
Yes, the idea of forcing people to have previous experience to work an entry-level position is stupid, but that’s not the employer’s fault - they’re already losing money from so many different sources, that they usually can’t afford to train that many people. We’re talking about an industry where more than 5% profit gets you audited because you’re making way more than you should be. This is also an industry where fucking up can KILL PEOPLE.
The key point to remember here is that while volunteering isn’t the best thing (the best thing being a complete overhaul of capitalism as we know it), it’s better than lying, BECAUSE LYING IS THE WORST POSSIBLE THING.
DON’T. FUCKING. LIE!
I volunteered at a Pet Shop for about a month, and yeah, I’d rather had gotten paid there, but it helped me get experience to work with animals. Imagine if I had lied to get a job working with animals, I’d have been in way over my head. Experience is important, even if it’s just a little, it’s something to add to the resume. Lying gets you in trouble, not just for the people who hired you finding out (it’s pretty obvious when you don’t have the basic knowledge required, even if they train you, they’ll figure it out), but you can be a real danger to not only the customer, but to yourself and the people you work with.
See this is the part where I could totally say that I worked as a Barista for most of my college years, at Cafe Borders and at Au Bon Pain and at Starbucks… and that I got my first cafe job by saying ‘yes, I have totally worked in cafes before’ when I, in fact, had not (I had only previously worked clothing retail and as a lifeguard, a job that actually required training and certification and ACTUALLY had an element of public safety and legitimate responsibility involved, which making coffee generally does not - if you can fuck up coffee so bad that it’s fatal, you have some kind of horrid superpowers).
But that’s not really worth my time, as you are clearly far more invested in this discussion than I am, as evidenced by your willingness to write a giant rant about it.
Ahahaha people think you should VOLUNTEER for fucking FOOD SERVICE and RETAIL.
Like are they out of their fucking minds.
Do they not understand these are jobs no one wants to do. These are jobs people do to eat. These are jobs that do not pay enough to also cover rent on an apartment in the same geographic region as the job. These are industries that exploit and abuse their workers, that don’t give you your legally mandated breaks, that have to be constantly watched for labor violations like pressuring you to work off the clock, that wage emotional warfare on their employees. I’ve worked these jobs and been reduced to tears by my managers, and many other people I know have as well, when this was completely unnecessary. If they know you’re in even more financial distress than your co-workers, they will use this leverage to abuse you even more.
And you want me…to what, GIVE FREEBIES to these people?
When FREE LABOR is the industry standard, that’s exploitation. That’s not okay. You don’t get to fucking excuse it with capitalist pressure on the businesses because guess what, WORKERS HAVE ECONOMIC PRESSURES TOO. And workers are JUSTIFIED in doing whatever it takes, a fuck of a lot more than a business is. I care a lot less about a business’s bottom line than I do about people being able to feed their kids. Oh but the POOR BUSINESS having to take a WHOLE DAY to train someone, that’s so much worse than creating an environment where the lowest-paid workers are expected to WORK FOR FREE and there’s such a pool of disposable labor businesses can cite capitalist morality again and just exploit one after the other and hire no one.
There’s just so many things wrong with this whole concept, I…I can’t even. I’ll lie, cheat and steal before I put a business’s interests before my own, because EVERY TIME I am dead last in their considerations. I know it’s their dream to not have to pay their workers at all, and they keep trying to figure out how to make that happen legally. Like fuck I’m going to give that to them.
First of all: #fwiw if you are financially stable and want to donate your time to a good cause that’s just grand #but do not wreck an already fucked-up economy for the desperate by volunteering for entry-level labor #MAKE that cafe fucking pay someone #a cafe is not a good cause #a soup kitchen is a good cause #go volunteer there.
Secondly: it is a trip and a half that this trend of “free labor until you are deserving of pay, apprentice! now go fetch me my mead” is a Thing and it is a Thing increasing in frequency and across the job spectrum. Alos a trip is that it’s a Thing that’s particularly being hailed, via American puritanical “suffering is nobility” + bootstraps rhetoric + a good dose of weirdly internalized Mr. Miyagi mysticism, as an “alternative”/”non-traditional” route to “legitimate” employment/a real “career” (vs. the “jobs” us regular schmos are stuck with) vs. academia— which, a) still pretty aggressively polices what types of labor are considered “skilled”/”real” labor and what routes to that labor are considered “appropriate”, and b) seems blissfully unaware and/or deliberately misleading in that “working for free” is hardly one path that doesn’t exist in the other.
See also: white collar “women’s” labor, female-majority internship positions, gender disparity in paid vs. unpaid internships in the white-collar world, etc., etc.
As the economy’s gotten worse, the kind of minimum wage (if that), previously-viewed-as-“unskilled,” undesirable jobs have become increasingly… desirable. Including by folks who would generally have other options, and who, for one reason or another, convinced themselves that they’re ironically slumming it by taking those positions, and then rebranding them as coveted niche craftsmans’ fields by appointing themselves (who else?) as gatekeepers of the fucking Golden Arches. While I can appreciate the comedy inherent in those logical gymnastics, that shit becomes a lot less funny when it’s my livelihood that gets shunted off in the changeover as waiters “with experience” cheerily sing along to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” where I bought all my uniforms save one pair of work pants when my six-plus year old khakis breathed their threadbare last.
Thirdly: Meanwhile people also go around spreading myths about food service as so tightly knit that you will be caught if you lie on your resume, omg you are so screwed you’ll never work in this town again, and so on and so forth. Well, yeah, if you lie about being a fucking cook, sure. If you lie about having washed dishes professionally? No one gives a single fuck. An actual black mark in food service is, like, stealing other people’s tips, or arson. Not so much? Not actually knowing how to roll silverware.
Likewise, unless you specify on your resume that your new employer can ask your old ones for a reference, pretty much all they’re supposed to do is confirm your dates of employment.
Which brings me around to subpoint one: people lie on those things all the damn time. For much higher stakes than $7 an hour after taxes, because, hey, you might get fired, but you’re trying to put food on the table until then, and at least you can collect unemployment after if shit goes south. And more people don’t get caught than do, being real.
Subpoint two is that when/if that is the case, nepotism and craftily falsified information on resumes works wonders in job acquisition. You got a cousin with a different last name than you? Cool, they’re a former employer. Their sister got married and changed her name? All the better, now you got two. Oh, snap, and your brother just got promoted to a managerial position? Have him keep an eye out for entry level jobs and within a year or so he can pull strings to get you promoted into his old job, too.
And I find myself caring about that less and less as I get older, if only because when the price for lying is so much a potential risk, and more of an ethics issue that you may be able to fudge your way out of at that— particularly in entry-level fields— and the alternative is a $0 price point on your time and labor? Spin that fucking roulette wheel, my money’s on black, son.
And I’m adding this as an entire separate point, even though it’s a response to overly job-specific derailing, but fourthly: don’t make me fucking laugh about barista positions as “elite.” I want one. I want the fuck out of one. I miss the work, I miss the tips, I miss the free coffee, and I miss that the place where I worked was relatively chill. Unfortunately for me, it’s a nice job to have, in a setting that’s also associated with the academic èlite, artist types, high-minded bourgeoisie, and prices excluding (or alienating) most social “Undesirables” from setting foot inside— and other people (remember those surprised-to-be-in-a-depression hipsters I mentioned?) have cottoned on to that as well.
Volunteers quickly become a liability in the morning rush, just in comped drinks and dropped scones and too much whipped cream alone, let alone if they injure themselves or if money should go missing, or even in the man-hours it takes away from one of your paid employee’s productivity in hawk-eying the new kid’s work. One of my coworkers? The one who ended up stalking me? Harassed my other coworkers for months to hire him as a barista in training, and, yeah, he pulled shitty espresso— most everybody does when they start out, and if it comes down to it, those are quick corrections that can be made if you’re observant enough— but his main issue was wasting food, giving shit to his friends for free/at a discount/off-menu because, hey, those ingredients are expensive and you’re fucking up inventory, and that he didn’t want to fucking clean at the end of the night. A hundred dollars went missing when he was cashiering, and one night he was counting out his drawer before the café closed and walked away from it with customers still in the shop. He lied to people and was a bully. That wasn’t because he was a new barista. It was because he felt entitled to a job he didn’t actually want to do on the basis of his hanging out a lot.
In fact, I was hired at the same time as him— with zero food prep experience, but plenty of cashiering work under my belt, and I drilled coffee recipes every day because I couldn’t afford to be fired, and I aggressively Googled and Wikipediaed and YouTubed and faked it as hard as I could until I knew what I was talking about. I was fast with change and most folks can’t taste dead shots in a glorified caramel milkshake, anyway, and I charmed my ass off and busted my chops, and, yeah, that was with nepotism involved, plus that I was willing and available to work Sundays and ass-long no-tipping closing shifts. In a mom and pop shop where nothing was push-button easy.
LIE. LIE. LIE. I would rather you lie at a chain store, especially if they’re taking this kind of attitude and they are a push-button operation, but seriously: if it comes down to it, you trained on different equipment, your recipes were different, your beans and syrups were different, your POS was actually touchscreen and this is an analog register, you worked at a Dunkin Donuts and did just press a button to steam milk, we called that drink a different name, you’re having an off day (believe it or not, even with experience, shit happens, hence the old applauding at bussers when they drop dishes joke). So you spill a carafe of coffee. That’s not a fireable offense, and even if it was, you have a job to be fired from, so you’re still one step ahead of “unemployed and unemployable.”
Whatever you do, don’t make other people their money for free (esp. when they may v. well also deny you any tips on the basis of your non-employment).
Miss me with that.
yeeeeep. when i was working at regal cinemas they kept asking if i wanted to be a projectionist and i always said no bc regal calls projectionists ‘booth managers’ because managers don’t have union mandated starting wages at double or better than minimum wage. being a proj would have been an extra //twenty five cents an hour// with the added responsibility that if anything goes wrong in the booths //it is your responsibility//. fuuuuuuck that.