There comes a certain point, while jobhunting, that you start to wonder what the hell you've been doing. Case in point: I've worked primarily in bookstores over the last few years, barring horrible side jobs that pay badly and go nowhere. It's been my one fallback - I was all for something better (like that job at MoMA that fizzled) but I've really been keeping my eyes open for more bookstore gigs. It got to the point where I was, after being rejected from stuff left and right, assuming myself to be unemployable outside of the book market.
I also knew that The Strand, New York City's most well-known used bookstore (the phrase "18 miles of books" ring a bell?) hires without fail every year in April - the winter is a bad time for bookstores and April is when things start to loosen up and breathe again. Sure enough, an ad was posted in the Village Voice last week. So I dropped by last Tuesday, dropped off a resume and filled out an application.
The Strand has its ups and downs as far as employers go - it's a union shop, meaning it pays decently, and it's in the heart of the village, two blocks from Union Square and a stone's throw away from, well, everything, but it's dangerous - the place is a mess and those of us with anal-retentive tendencies would be thoroughly overwhelmed by their inability to find anything they were specifically looking for. It's also not air conditioned and extremely hot in the summer. Some have likened working in the basement during July and August to taking a protracted schvitz. At this point, that sounds wonderful. I'm a beggar, and I'm certainly not choosing.
And I waited. I was fairly certain that they would collect applications for a week and conduct interviews the week after, but I didn't KNOW that. For all I knew, they would've hired me on the spot if I was awesome enough. It was, without a doubt, the most nerve-wracking week I've had in a long time, and when you're living off of handouts and friends you're life is filled with extremely sucky weeks.
And I started to think, like I do, about what it would mean if a bookstore wouldn't hire me. And I started to think about that whole skill set that would once again prove to be utterly worthless. I started second-guessing myself, and getting extremely annoyed and worried. I started thinking about all the other shit I'd need to do (primarily being applying for jobs I REALLY didn't want - Starbucks springs to mind) to make a living wage. And things really, really started to suck.
Got a call today. Interview tomorrow at 3:30. Time to not blow this. here goes nothin'.