Did I Do The Right Thing

justme4nowSeptember 1, 2009

I have been out of work for 8 months and have applied for over 200 job openings.

Depression was starting to set in.

I FINALLY got an offer for a job .. It was from Wal-Mart.

Long story short: I am going from a 40,000 dollar a year job to a job that pays 7.90 an hour.

I am feeling even more depressed AND Guilty.

In this economy, I am guessing that I should feel Lucky to now have a chance at any work at all?

BTW: I SWEAR that on one of the Many papers that I had to sign in accepting the Wal-Mart job, One of them said 9 dollars an hour for the position that I am filling but when the lady said "Is 7.90 an hour okay" .. I didn't flinch and said yes!

I just want a job.

Thank You for allowing me this time with you.

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I'm sure it's very difficult but try to think about good things the future could hold for you. If you have a positive attitude, work hard and go above and beyond the minimum requirements of your job I bet you could move up quickly from that $7.90 an hour job. Anything is possible!! There's a book (and I guess a movie) called How Starbucks Saved My Life. It's a true story about how an executive went from a six figure income to cleaning toilets at Starbucks. You might find it inspiring. Hang in there!!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 10:16PM
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Thank You for your response.

I have heard so many bad stories from people who work or have worked for wal-mart that I am kind of worried.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 10:49PM
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Justme4now, remember that it is (supposedly) easier to find a job when you already have one. Think of the Walmart gig as a lucky break in a bad economy that will tide you over until something better comes along.

A few weeks ago I was at Dunkin Donuts. They are all family owned and run around here, usually by immigrant families. In walks a WASPy kind of a guy asking for an application for work. The owner didn't even have any, and it took him a minute to figure out what the guy was asking him for. It was clear he has never hired anyone off of the street. I felt so bad for the unemployed guy. It is SO unlikely that such a place would have an opening for a non-family worker in this area. There is always family or extended family or a friend of an extended family member to hire. I mean, this guy does not even speak the same language as the owner and other people who work there.

My friend got a job at a Popeye's chicken that opened recently. She gets 9 hours a week of work, and that is after working for several months. The manager has a policy that no one should ask for more hours because there aren't any available.

I hope it goes well at Walmart for you. There are signs that things may bet getting better....

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 1:20AM
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Thank You

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 2:48AM
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justme - one more thought for you. I've learned something very important by observing two people who have been close to me almost my whole life.

One is an eternal optimist who genuinely believes anything is possible and strives for things I've thought were ludicrous. He's also encouraged me to strive for crazy things. He has achieved many things I thought were impossible and I have too - because of he has inspired me to believe I can.

The other person I know is the eternal skeptic and pessimist. Always focused on the negative about herself and others and all the reasons why good things can't possibly happen, why challenges can't be overcome and laundry lists of all the bad things that will happen. Great things don't happen for this person and it's because she doesn't believe they will.

You have to know what you want for yourself - believe it will happen - and work passionately to make it so. Walmart is an enormous company with huge career opportunities - they can be yours if you believe they can. Or if your vision for your future is somewhere else, then shoot for that and Walmart will just be a stepping stone to get there.

I make a lot of decisions about who gets hired, who gets promoted, etc. People who are positive, work hard, and go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the job stand out above others and they get noticed. You CAN make your future what you want it to be!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 6:58PM
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I worked for Wal-Mart for almost five years as a second, part-time job. It really wasn't that bad at all. I'm sure a lot of it depends on management at each individual store, but at ours if you actually showed up on time, did your job and didn't have a horrible attitude with customers or fellow associates then you were left alone and treated well. Granted, I worked in the back offices where there wasn't really close supervision.

In my experience, most of the people who harped on how awful it was to work there were the people with the biggest sense of entitlement. When asked to do something they would cop an attitude or say they weren't being paid enough to do what was asked of them. And what they were asked to do was part of their job description and wasn't off the clock or whatever. They complained that they were treated like children, and they were because they were acting like children.

At my store if you just did the minimum requirements of your job you were treated well. And if you took the slightest initiative to go above and beyond the requirements of your job you were guaranteed an outstanding review and your compensation adjusted accordingly. I don't know what job you'll be working, but if you don't like it there is usually a pretty high turnover. If you do your job well it should be relatively easy to transfer within the store to another job that opens up that you might like better if you've proven that you're a decent worker.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 12:07AM
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I think you did do the right thing and if you do the best job you can do, while keeping an eye on the future, you will be on the right track.
Give yourself a short break from the daily job search and congratulate yourself for being hired.
In a couple of weeks, resume your search and you may find that it is not nearly as stressful and depressing.
Take good care!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 12:54PM
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Msventoux has a point about there being opportunities at WalMart. Through his six months of unemployment, my DH kept saying, "If I want to live in Bentonville Arkansas, I could get a job tomorrow." DH is a computer programmer/analyst/developer, and WalMart was hiring a lot. If your usual line of work is not one that WalMart could use, you may be able to use "no worker left behind" benefits for re-education in an up-and-coming field WHILE you are working at WalMart. Then, if your new field is one that WalMart can use, you already have a record there as a good worker and you may move more easily into a more professional position within the company. If your former line of work was affected by off-shore outsourcing or competition from manufacturing in less expensive countries, you may qualify for educational benefits. Have you checked into this at your unemployment office?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 10:47PM
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Thank You All for your responses and for your support.
I will let you know how things work out.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 7:44PM
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There is a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called "Nickel and Dimed". It reminds me of your story.

"Determined to find out how anyone could make ends meet on $7 an hour, she left behind her middle class life as a journalist except for $1000 in start-up funds, a car and her laptop computer to try to sustain herself as a low-skilled worker for a month at a time. In 1999 and 2000, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress in Key West, Fla., as a cleaning woman and a nursing home aide in Portland, Maine, and in a Wal-Mart in Minneapolis, Minn."......

If you were making 40k a year, you undoubtedly have some skills you could probably use in other areas. What sort of work would you LIKE to be doing? What State are you in? Mentioning where you live might help readers come up with suggestions for alternatives to wal-mart.

Jobs are scare, but they are out there. Are there any temp agencies in your area? I always found them good for getting your foot in the door, getting some training and seeing if you'd a workplace and/or the people. At one time I worked part time at two different places so I could use my spare time to find something that paid more. Plus, if I were laid off at one place, I still had some income coming in from the other.

Do you have a family to support or just yourself? Do you prefer to work with people or things? If you like working with people then there is always a need for services for the growing boomer population. Many of these people are going to want care in their own homes as well as transportation to the grocery store, doctors appts, etc. If not, there are always admin jobs that don't require you to have to deal with the public so much.

Have you ever wanted to travel? There are folks who like to hire companions to keep them company so they don't have to travel alone.

How about care-taking? Some people have more than one home. They need a warm body on the premises for maintenance, security, and pet care when the owners are away.

I guess what I'm getting at is that there ARE alternatives to wal-mart if you look hard enough. Its good that they hired you. Showing that you are willing to work no matter what the position means you are motivated. I know I'd be more inclined to hire someone who isn't ashamed to do what it takes to pay the bills.

Links that might be useful:

Nickel and Dimed

The Caretaker Gazette

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 6:32PM
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Some people can make $30 an hour and still complain. I also worked for Walmart and it was not bad at all. The only bad thing I saw was the dept managers were really over work at the store where I worked. I was a test scanner so I know how economical it is to shop there as much as you can. They do have insurance, maybe not the best, but better than none, that unemployed people have.

Try to think positive. I tell myself "this to shall pass."

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 7:36PM
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Having any job is better than sitting at home with nothing to do. People biologically need to have a reason to wake up in the morning. We need routines. Getting up at a certain time, going to bed at a certain time, working, volunteering, hobbies, etc.

Without this, people tend to go into depression or worse. Many retirees with nothing to do, especially men, just die. Their brains, noticing the lack of anything to do, tell the body that it's finished - time to pack it up.

So don't think, oh it's a crappy-paying job at Walmart or whatever. Think of it as keeping your mind and body healthy. You can continue to look for better work, but in the meantime, get up in the morning and SMILE!

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 7:06PM
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justme4now - how are things going? Let us know.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 1:22PM
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Back in the early 1990s I was out of my primary job track for nearly a year.

It's horrible.

The organization that laid me off was one to which I was personally very devoted, and it ended up being very psychologically devastating for me.

I ended up in a deep depression. The fact that my marriage was beginning to break up at the same time certainly didn't help.

I slowly got back into my primary job track by working temporary jobs. It wasn't easy, and it took awhile before I got back to where I thought I should be.

But, now, I'm with a company that views me as a valuable asset. I got the job more or less as a fluke, just answering an ad in the Washington Post. Best move I ever made.

It will happen to you.

It won't be easy, it will be difficult to see, but it will happen.

Words of advice.

If you are having problems with depression, see your physician. I waited too long, and had a very hard recovery. Depression is a serious illness, and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Another thing I did that helped with perspective was volunteered to help those even worse off than I was.

It's easy to feel absolutely alone in situations like this, and as if you're the only person to whom this is happening. Volunteering helps keep those thoughts at bay.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 1:52PM
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The OP is only going to earn $316 per week before taxes for a full-time schedule. Better than nothing, but yikes. Hope he/she is surviving.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 2:17PM
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Justme4now and others, a resource that is out there n these difficult times is called Angel Food Ministries. You go their web site (below) and enter your zip code. If there is a place that participates in their program nearby, they will give you the contact info. This is the deal: you pay $30 in advance and two weeks later you go pick up a box of food. You get about $60 worth of food. They also now have prepared meals. For $28 they give you 10 heat-and-serve meals. There are other packages you can buy, too - fruit and veggie boxes, meats for the barbecue, even allergy-free food packages. You get some biblical readings in your box, but otherwise, there is no requirement that you participate in any religious practices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Angel Food Ministries.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 10:44PM
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