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Help me be NOT poor.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


One week ago, I didn't think I would have a place to live and I thought I might be in the beginning stages of an eviction.  I've since raised enough in PayPal donations through the PayPal button to the right of this post to be able to pay for December & January's rent.

I'm trying to remain positive but new frustrations make getting out of this mess seem less likely.

I applied to many places in the past week.  I applied to Starbucks, both retail and corporate.  The great thing about Starbucks' retail online app is that you can apply for multiple positions at once in a cluster of locations in an area.  Costco uses the same online application software, so I have, with 2 online applications, applied for over a dozen positions.

My expertise is in food and the food industry(not restaurant industry), so I have applied to positions in several companies and several positions in one food company.

To date, I have had a phone interview with one company and several rejection emails from another.  That is it.  I reach a point where I run out of things to do on my end.  At a certain point, I have to depend on someone to hire me.  Hell, at some point, I have to be lucky enough to get just a phone interview.  The truth is that nobody has to give me a moment, a thought, or a chance.

Then the panic sets in...

Am I unemployable?  Is my resume bad enough that there are always going to be other people that get interviews ahead of me?  My resume makes me look a lot worse than I really am as an employee.  I'm smart, I have skills, and I'm a fast learner, quickly absorbing technical knowledge.  But as I tried to start a career after college, I embarked on an odyssey of finding a good job/person fit.

What normally happens is that I run out of time/money and I am forced to say yes to the next opportunity, regardless of if it's right for me.  I took a position in 2008 with Cargill to work in their feed mill.  Cargill is a great company, but my training was in food science and operations, not necessarily mechanical engineering or management in a feed mill.  Boo hoo, right?  I know...  I took the job because Cargill has 54 different business units and I was assured by a corp recruiter that I could get into a different area of the company if my training to be a Plant Manager of a feed mill didn't go well.  That wasn't the case, and after trying(and failing) to catch on in a different business unit, I left.  Cargill was nice enough to give me a month and a half to try to find another position, after which, we would part ways.  Unfortunately, Cargill has a very decentralized HR, and were unable to pluck me from one area and put me in another.

That lasted 5 months.

My odyssey continued with several other jobs where the company was bad or the training program was bad, and in between, I worked lower level jobs to sustain myself until the next opportunity.  So this will be the part where people comment, telling me it's my fault, and to a certain extent, that's true. The question is whether the punishment for being brutally honest about my job/person fit is a life sentence or something I can overcome.  I will not apologize and do not regret being picky about a career position.  If I'm going to work somewhere every day until I retire, then it's going to be doing something I have a passion for and wake up every day wanting to do.

I tried to get into the creative end with marketing and the prospects there seem even worse.  I'm great with ideas, well spoken, and well written.  I thought that I should have no problem being a copywriter... except that I didn't go to school to be a copy writer... except that I didn't work an unpaid internship doing copywriting... except that every copywriting opening starts at 3-5 years of experience in copywriting.

I found the same thing to be true of the ad world.  You can't get a start in advertising... I know this sounds insane, but you have to have always been there to get a foot in the door.  There are no entry level ad jobs.

I like writing and even have a standing offer for freelance writing work, but at $40 a published submission, it's more a hobby than a job.  To make matters worse, I have a computer that keeps shutting down as I get into anything like writing or a long online application.

I have a Late 2006 Intel iMac that I got when I was still at Ohio State.  It's about 7 and a half years old and really starting to show it's age.  To make matters worse, these particular iMacs have a known issue with the soldered on graphics card, where the screen will go black or the computer will overheat.  If my computer freezes while I type this sentence, then blogger will have my progress saved and I can return after waiting for the computer to cool off.  If my computer freezes while in the middle of a long application, I will have to start over, in many cases.

I only asked for the bare minimum amount of PayPal donations to pay rent.  I didn't want to overly rely on online solicitations for all my bills.  But if you like my writing or if you're a fan of Mac OS, I would be willing to accept donations that would help me get another iMac.

I'm probably as likely to get enough donations for that as I am to get hired on somewhere... Either way, I hope I'm wrong.


  1. Hey Sam,
    Keep your head up! It's not your fault, as it's tough job market right now for any industry. I think it's respectable that you don't settle for less. I wish I could do the same but I have a family to support. Like you, I'm working on my BS in food science and business. I'm grateful that in the area I live there are many food companies so getting work hasn't been difficult but I've yet to find something I'm super passionate about. It's funny you mention copywriting as I started to look into that but quickly realized that there are tons of people with many years of experience trying to do freelance copywriting work. I think you should take that freelance gig though as it will at least get you something extra to put in your portfolio. I tried sites like elance but there are millions competing for a handful of jobs ><. Anyway, I hope things work out for you soon. It seems like you have a lot to offer. When I was searching for work I used and also craigslist. If you're ever interested in getting some more exposure and would like to do a guest post on Science Meets Food (or be a contributing author), please let me know. We need more content to maintain our readership growth.


  2. Sam,

    After 37 years in the banking industry I was out of a job in December of 1986. I was a trust operations manager, a very specialized job. I took any job I could get when I was out of work. The first job I took was working on a business woman's estate, while she was on business trips, keeping her garden in shape. Pulling weeds, planting plants, laying mulch at $8.45 an hour, quite a drop from my $38,750 bank salary. Then I saw an opening for a weekend night auditor job at the Hampton Inn at $9.00 an hour. I took that job and had two jobs. Eventually that job turned into a full time job (evenings and weekends) and I also got asked to work at a local bank part-time. I quit the gardening job and for two years I worked two jobs (the bank and the hotel) and saved a lot of money. I wasn't concerned about a "career path" but just working. I'm not blaming you for your situation but what I can tell you is that I had fellow co-workers who held out for a job similar to their previous job at a HIGHER salary. They never did get their higher salary jobs. Both are dead now. Probably a coincidence but I think the stress of holding out for that "career path" higher salary job contributed to their early deaths. I'm still working, part-time, at 72 and will continue to do so as long as I can. My point is to consider widening your job possibilities other than your desired career path, you will find that you will work again. Most employers are more willing to hire someone who is working than not working. The longer you don't work the more difficult it will be to get a job. I know for the many years I used to interview and hire people in my position as a trust operations manager I would always take the applicant who was working over the one who wasn't working. Maybe it was unfair but that's what I did and I'm sure other prospective employers also do. Just some advice from someone who has been in your position. Good luck.

  3. Hi there! Just wanted to say, that we are right there with you. If only we could make money for our blog posts, we'd have a viable "work from home" job and a way to lift ourselves out. It sounds strange to say that I enjoy reading about you being poor, but all I mean by that is you write well and it makes me feel a little better to read about someone on a similar journey to myself. Here's to hoping that I get to read about your success, and write about my own. i wish you the best of luck!