june 2009

hat & tasselpng

as a counterpoint to how i started the month of may, i will start june with a triumph. may 2009 i finally graduated from “mission college”. not a very high performing GPA but in spite of myself i made it. the next task paying off my student loans.

it almost felt like a repeat of summer 2002 as it took time to finally find a job – although a temp job around the holidays of that year. now i had more time on my hands than i did while at school. though i was going to experience the pressure again that my mother wanted to place on me. she wanted me to get out there and go to work, however, finding a job takes time. no matter how often i pound the pavement.

when you think about it, at that point in time i had no anthony figure to guide me on a path towards finding a good job. he often imagined me going the posh law school route or perhaps banking. law school fine and go into law banking took more than what i thought i had during the course of summer 2009.

regardless, i received countless e-mail congrats from my mother’s coworkers and family. though i never responded to any of them. while i basked in my triumph, honestly i never wanted to be bothered with the communiques. many of those same people (i.e. family) were wondering how long was it going to take for me to finish.

one of those emails came from cousin natalie who called the house looking for mom. of course when that happened she had been at work and the next subject involved congratulating me. i was like “ok” not even trying to say thank you and then she turned around and asked “did you get my e-mail?”

wanting to cut this attempt at reaching out off quick i simply said that i got a lot of emails. that killed this right there and she didn’t know what else to do or say other than “ok, bye”. even worse she and her husband visited the house the next month after graduation to visit my mother i didn’t bother coming upstairs. my mother suggested i was scared of my family had an opinion and went with it.mcg

either way reality was beginning to set in. no more admiration of the women at “hillman college”. yeah there was always fb, but i won’t be able to check out the new batch. it’ll also be harder to connect with them if i no longer go to school down there. besides it took me a while to learn women like connections if you’re in no way connected to them even second had you have no chance at all.

in the meanwhile by the end of the year i would be employed. my mother had her opinion that i would’ve been better off finding a job through the alumni network whom i had little interest in joining. besides alumni organizations costs money and i had little. sadly i had to depend on my own experience at the time.

i didn’t start getting interviews until that fall – especially an early one with “fresh foods”. that was a bad one that i’ll admit today but thankfully it wasn’t the only one.

also found out about a theater about to open near downtown chicago that became “the show”. sent an e-mail to corporate and eventually got info on a job fair they held. also relied on the old temp college bookstore standby job at a community college on the west side. that kept me employed until “the show” was ready to open.

other than that i had some optimism regarding my college degree. hopefully this could open some doors as far as jobs. well i never realized i’d have some far more trying times…

april 2013

Amc-theatre

while i could turn this into an april fool’s post i’m playing this one straight.

in april 2013 i was ready to leave “the show” unfortunately the three early opportunities to have come up for me didn’t pan out. during this particular month i took a test for the local transit authority to become a station agent. it paid much better than the show at least $12/hr part time with benefits. sadly i didn’t get that job, i passed the test but couldn’t connect with them when they called me later.

also the previous month i had gotten a phone call from another theater of this national cinema chain. in february of that year i had interviewed from a theater right off the magnificient mile which did not result in a job offer. this was another fail and was further frustrated by some intervening events.

when they called me it was on a saturday night and at work. i had the next day off and didn’t call and waited until thursday to call them back. the person i needed to speak to wasn’t in, however, i was told in spite of the length of time it took for me to call them back to try back in the afternoon.

my friend anthony wanted me to meet with someone that afternoon though failed to tell me when. basically we spent most of our time downtown hanging out unbeknownst to me. i never told him that i needed to call these people from that national chain. we wound up going to his martial arts school for a meeting that never happened.

so on a friday night i worked early and intended to come home to make that call. except on my way back to the house my mother called me up from work insisting that i needed to go with her to get some bottled water from a neighboring suburb – because chicago has a tax on plastic bottles per bottle even in a pack. when all was said and done i was in no mood.

then on saturday exactly one week after the phone call i hoped to get to work early enough to make the call. my friend anthony wanted me to go back to his martial arts school to meet his business partner and it was a while before i returned home. then quickly got ready for work and drove my mother’s car to “the show”. so the dent in that plan was traffic coming into downtown chicago on cermak. by the time i had arrive to work there was little time for me to make that call.

after that i just said forget it. see this is what happens when i choose to procrastinate when i should just go for it. from this point forward began a long drought starting in march through roughly september where i had no interviews – hell no nibbles.

funny thing was that i had a nice stretch where i really had no serious issues with anyone at “the show”. yeah the female cliques of the time probably came up with something regarding me. for example a young lady wanted to drop some popcorn in a bin but because we already were having issues i wouldn’t move out the way and she just started talking shit about me for a good period of time with some of her like-minded coworkers. that’s the only one i can really think of.

recently i started to realize something. my friend anthony continues to hit me with it’s not the place it’s the people. he believes it even if i stick with it’s hard to separate the people from the place. unfortunately i’ve started to learn how “the place” brings out the worst in people. perhaps it’s as simple as how the people – management – chooses to run the place.

if there are conflicts between people over very small issues no matter what, and people are willing to start fights over it threaten people even get others to gang up on people there is a serious issue there. granted so many were so young but they really need a crash course on how to get along with people at work. it should take some time to get rid of people but with people willing to snipe their coworkers or just become problem employees they need a crash course of they need to go.

and just thing this month two years later, i found myself with a better job and hopefully better people at a better place. and on top that became a full-time employee with good benefits and paid time off. in time got my first raise ever!

however at that point in time, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

being on the other side of an interview

i did my interviewing today. i can’t really talk about the interview, but just draw upon my own experiences interviewing with for a management position. a difficult process but to be in the hot seat.

my first management interview as hinted here was for a management position at a locally owned movie house. while at first my observation was that it went well i was floored when it didn’t go my way. for a long time it was hard understanding what happened. it never occurred to me that i won’t get it.

then with today’s experience i know why. my second opportunity was with a national movie theater chain and i’ll just say that i blew it. i somewhat know why it didn’t happen for me, but it’s acceptable to me now that it didn’t happen. perhaps it wasn’t meant to considering the experience i was hoping to leave behind at “the show”.

finally, i consider my experience seeking a supervisor position at my current company in grocery. i didn’t do a very good job preparing although my understanding of the job is somewhat strong even if not entirely. i consider the fact that i came back from a vacation and the interview came so soon (a day) after returning to chicago that left little room to prepare.

so with the movie theater – even if i worked with people who questioned everything i did managers and colleagues – i knew that business. i worked for almost five years in a theater so surely something has sunk in even if i know nothing about financials i have an idea about operations. perhaps the leadership skills are untested, but it’s possible to learn them.

most of my interviews for manager or not was largely improvised, i “winged” it. most of the time i didn’t do me much good, but most of the time i relied on my own experience. if my experience is in retail or theaters that’s what i relied on to get through the interview.

on the other hand, what i’ve realized i failed to do in a few interviews is that i didn’t know what a particular company offered. i at two different points interviewed with two grocery stores. one of them was the company i currently work for – we’ll just call them “fresh foods”. the other company we’ll just call “finer foods”.

a few months after graduating from mission i interviewed with “fresh foods” and crashed and burned. years later i figured out why, i had no idea what that company had to offer. the first time i heard of them was on tv with news stories advertising their health care plans. essentially that’s all i knew and while i did attempt to talk of their product offerings i had little clue about them.

in other words i could’ve know the goodness of this company years before i joined and  i would’ve had good benefits and good pay long before joining “the show”. if this was a sure thing i only talked myself out of it. i talked and the manager i spoke to chose not to hire me.

after my recent experience now i know how to approach future interviews as a job seeker. regardless of whether or not i’m staying with my current company whom i hope to last 5 years or i choose another. preparation will be key and no more winging it. have some semblance of a plan.

holiday season 2012

 

a very bizarre and bad year was finally ending. some conflicts really came up during the course of the year with a number of young women and a really unhinged crazy older guy. the young women only know their motives maybe they were trying to score some points or maybe it was just their natural inclination to cause conflict and drama. don’t know but 2012 seemed to be a year that attracted those types and they made their moves.

many of them didn’t last the whole year some quit probably tired of the job probably found other opportunities and some got fired. they scored their points and really got nothing for it and moved on. still their effects are still with me to this day even if i never have to see or speak to them ever again.

the older guy was a nutcase who often advertised at least with me his social media video channel. what i saw i didn’t like and unprofessionally began share that non-sense because he kind of irritated me and also found a way to score some social points on me. he had me somewhat confused and upset, but he being who he is still wasn’t in with anyone at the job. however, because of his mentality people actually thought him scary and i was the only one who messed with him.

one problem, i couldn’t always break through to him. my actions which i deeply regret today were to just be outright mean to him because while i tried to be indifferent to him he still like to try to have a conversation with me. i simply wasn’t going for it and he never immediately picked up on it. when i publicly went after him at work it was a show, but it only made him relevant. it also didn’t help when it was often instigated by a mischievous coworker and sometimes i started it regardless it helped me decide that i had everything to lose while he had nothing to gain or lose.

with that episode that is now my conclusion, this lonely and very deranged man was looking for relevance. he behaved like an internet troll and although i knew who he was i gave him the attention he needed. i should’ve just not fed the troll.

for going after him i was rewarded with a number of social media videos that has him mention my name. one got him fired by the end of the summer because he portrayed a superhero who cuts off my head. this is what a deranged person does and it took me going off on him one last time before he got fired and i was the subject of many other videos after that.

to be honest i took me a while to cool off from this. even worse people were wondering why i kept talking about it. they were right i should’ve shut up about it, but i wasn’t smart back then. in fact i would set this as a sign of clear frustration with my role at “the show” and finding myself taking it out on people i worked with. a pattern that didn’t change until i finally left.

also, i may add that those who wanted to look down on me as a person found nothing but excuses. the feud with mr. deranged may have knocked me down a peg in some peoples eyes no matter how i justified it. but there are other reasons but only the ones who engaged in their behaviors towards me know for sure.

this was why i really was looking forward to the management interview i had for a small theater chain. it would’ve been an escape and the interview went well but it wasn’t meant to be. on the surface my time at a premier downtown movie theater with no management experience made it easy for the owner i met with to cut me out of the process.

while it hurt and i dwelled on it for the next two years there were some other issues at play with that company. know that as it unfolded back then it should’ve dulled the pain a little bit during that difficult period of time.

also the house manager – the number 2 guy at the show – decided to “pinch” me for being late. the guy was a dick to be honest and promised to write me up the next day for my excessive tardies, he never did. and because i didn’t like his plan and how he decided to talk so tough I gave an attitude and he also decided to find things to pick about.

by the end of the year i had an interview with a bank that didn’t pan out. i don’t think i gave it my all when it came to a phone screen. but then i figured in the new year there will be other opportunities to find another job. by the end of 2012 there was still no immediate escape for me.

so the one escape i took near the holidays of that year was that i went to another downtown theater in a span of a week i saw two movies. i saw skyfall – james bond – which was something i was looking forward to. then i saw lincoln which was a biopic about abraham lincoln’s legislative campaign to free the slaves. to be honest i nodded off during the early part of that film and that theater was paaacked people really came out for this movie on new years eve.

that spring i paid my first visit there just to check out it – the movie was this means war. a coworker had worked there and said he was fired though he never said what he was fired for. i just decided to check out this facility and it was nice and different. seemingly “the show” seemed somewhat bland in comparison although it had an urban feel to it. the newest hip place to catch a movie compared to this other facility which had been open almost 10 years but still looked great.

to be honest i just wanted to make some comparisons and later on it was to determine if this was somewhere i wanted to work. the theater by my house i saw how they did things then i saw how this other theater did things. then compared that with “the show” just to observe mostly and of course catch a movie.

this established a pattern that lasted until i finally quit the business in fall 2014. instead of taking advantage of free movie tickets i chose to go to another theater to catch a movie. i just saw no reason to catch a show at a place i was finding myself largely at odds with. so when i left this place and had to go back to work at “the show” it was back to reality.

either way after the holidays and after several disappointments with my beginning job search i had to deal with a little more frustration for the next year and 10 months…

November 2013

the month before a coworker anthony suddenly quit “the show”. he had found a security job and one of his postings had been at a grocery store which later announced they were leaving the chicago area. i actually visited him at a nearby store when i got off from my job one evening to speak to him.

he had been campaigning for a security job for parts of that year. been wanting a union job and didn’t mind the odd hours of security. he really fell in for the pay and benefits in addition to not seeing any bosses during the course of his shift.

unfortunately this job didn’t last long i learned he was there according to him for seven months and i learned this after leaving the theater a year later. he had found two other jobs the next year and attempted to help me get on at both places.

i want to note that he put that local theater management job on my radar when i wouldn’t have been confident in getting the job. i was confident at the interview unfortunately however the owner made her decision it went opposition of i would get the job.

in any case he was keen on getting me to do security with him. as much as i may hate customer service in some respects i’ll pick my poison. the idea of working alone at night doing security didn’t appeal to me. i made that clear to him and he didn’t seem to like that as i was stagnant where i was at “the show”.

a few weeks after he quit, we talked on the phone and i was saying negative things about the theater. he shot off a quick, “you like it there”. he noted my lack of progress in getting out of that place and just used it against me. finally he just said “i’ve given you leads and you won’t take advantage of them you’re going to find what you’re looking for”. he was saying he wasn’t going to help me out anymore.

by this i was taken aback and somewhat upset because i don’t know where this was coming from. at this point i was in the middle of a streak where i get interviews but no job. at that point when anthony quit, the streak of no interviews had finally ended as i had no more interviews during that spring and summer.

in the meanwhile, as i found possible jobs my lack of progress made it easier for anthony to start blowing me off with the basic no keep looking you’ll find what you’re looking for line. later when he decides to call me to beg for money, his behavior towards me made it easier for me to decide not to take his calls for a while.

before that whole episode i had one interview at a suburban movie theater and had anthony inquire as to who are the key people at two other theaters as i knew he had the gift of gab to find this information out. he did that but only after beating me up for just engaging me in tough talk letting me know if i didn’t follow this up we just won’t talk much about jobs anymore. he was being tough but i was offended by this behavior.

either way things would begin to work out, i just didn’t know it at the time. for another year almost i had to stay in a frustrating situation for a little while longer.

the prolonged job hunt

i wrote about the first interview i had to kick off the two year long job hunt. often i make it seem like there were a lot of interviews and there weren’t. the reality is that there were a few more no’s than i had expected.

it all started with the small chain movie theater that i wrote about over the summer where i interviewed to be a manager. my disappointment and dwelling on that situation. the dwelling made easier because after an interview i kept getting NO job offers…

after the theater manager position fell through the next interview was for a bank teller at a major bank. really it was a phone interview and i felt as if this was an OK interview this was a no.

the next interview was for a major movie theater chain. another OK interview even though in 20/20 hindsight perhaps i turned my interviewers off. as much as i hoped this would end an emerging drought and after an attempt to follow up this was a no!

that would be my last interview until the end of the summer. there were other phone calls from employers and i sent applications. even took a test for the local transit authority but i never connected with them ultimately. as i continued working at “the show” i was getting nothing for my troubles.

there were some people i worked with who stupidly speculated that i wasn’t leaving. my friend anthony was even getting worried that i wasn’t getting any interviews and others had been. he was measuring my lack of success to others who were getting some success. and he attempted to give me some leads that i never pursued because i hadn’t been that interested to be honest.

then by that fall i got two interviews quick. another phone interview for an electronics store and that was a no. i was contradictory in that i apparently applied for an overnight stock position. wasn’t keen on that so it didn’t happen.

the next interview was for another retail store in downtown chicago. i had to go through a phone screen, a phone interview, and finally an interview at the store. all that and by the time of the in-store interview i was speaking with two young women who seemed neutral. hoping for the best this added to the no’s that was beginning to rack up!

my last interview that year was for a major movie theater chain. unfortunately while hoping for the best the interviewers were again neutral and i never heard from them again. i was at the point where i needed a way out from “the show” and the search got prolonged.

so how many was that. management, bank, theater, electronics, retail, theater so six total in the years 2012 and 2013. things would heat up in 2014 and by that fall i got a job offer!

i had one interview with a grocery chain that was expanding and opening new stores in the chicago area. the person who interviewed me again had been neutral and probably didn’t understand what i had applied for. this was where i went through some steps to score an in person interview. unfortunately never heard from them again.

then my friend anthony arranged for me to speak to a manager at another one of his jobs at a retail store which i quickly took advantage of. got screened and even though anthony said i will definitely hear from them i never got a phone call from them and the screen honesty ended suddenly as if that manager realized he wasn’t interested.

then suddenly i started getting interest from banks. the worst interview was with a local bank that where i had a family connection as a close relative had a management position at the bank. they sent me to a bank across the city to interview unfortunately an early morning and it took some time to get there. enough time where i made sure to call to not make my relative look bad. the interviewer still found a way to give me shit for it indicating that they weren’t impressed because i came late for interview. i never heard from that person again.

btw, not very important but i learned the interviewer had been let go….wtf???

anyway the other interviews were for national bank companies. as far as those go i went 1 for 5 at this point. i did get a job at a bank although not anywhere near downtown as i hoped i would. i would be in the neighborhood not too far from home.

the last interview was for a management position at a major theater chain. a huge surprise and gave me some confidence although i didn’t get it. perhaps i didn’t speak the language of the two general managers i interviewed with. so while i struggled at the bank i still fantasized about getting that position even though it wasn’t going to happen.

so in 2014 how many interviews six banks, one each for grocery, retail, and theater. So nine more interviews for a grand total of 15 actual interviews or screens. I did get other phone calls but they don’t count because they didn’t result in interviews. although there were some interesting stories with some of them.

either way even if it took me a few months after leaving “the show” to find my groove i finally did and happily.

 

college graduate “job”…

job_hunt

how jack v got the job at “the show”

it was almost simple as how i got my current job at a grocery store and my recent part-time job at another company. i applied like you usually would but i chose a much more indirect way to get the job.

now as i’ve stated i learned how to find a job real quick and that was to apply with college bookstores. which i did not long before interviewing with “the show” before they opened. and in fact my first post college job was actually with a college bookstore…surprise, surprise.

through a real estate website i found out about a movie theater about to open near downtown chicago. i found the corporate website and sent an e-mail indicating my interest. for a while i heard nothing until eventually i got an e-mail from them letting me know of a job fair which i attended.

ultimately i got the job with them although it was a while before i heard back from them. orientation was so disorganized and i compared them with another company in the same theater business years later. new hire paperwork seemed to have taken a long time and one of the managers handed me a phone to ask some questions that asked about whether or not i had received government assistance. it was annoying but i got through it. other than that not a very smooth experience.

it didn’t help that i had to do this halfway across town in an unfamiliar area and do so in the evening. thankfully this was only for a brief time and soon i’d be doing far more at the facility where i will be working.

in the meanwhile i’m working at the college bookstore until i get my actual schedule from “the show”. it seems to be an acquired skill, but speaking up is one way to insure you get what you want from any situation. i e-mailed them about any extra hours and they finally gave me my schedule.

it was time to quit that college bookstore job. it was a cool job to have worked there like any job it seemed particularly difficult our manager briefed us on how even though many students use government assistance to attend they still have a sense of entitlement to textbooks they didn’t exactly pay for.

still this job prepped me for the future long-term assignment at the theater. it didn’t prepare me for everything but at least i had some more experience under my belt before having to quit this job. was glad no more early mornings and transfers and much closer to downtown chicago.