Friday, February 25, 2011

Competing for peanuts (but tasty peanuts)

Here's an interesting tale (at least I think it's interesting) about the state of our economy.

An organization I believe in has a couple of part-time openings. I have applied, even though it pays barely more than minimum wage. A few days ago, I participated in a group interview in which 12 of us candidates sat around a large table and were interviewed on numerous subjects by two managers.

This was the first time I ever had been involved in such a session. At first, I didn't like the idea, but as we got going I changed my mind. The interaction between each other (and the managers) allowed people to show more of themselves, to display listening skills and to exhibit originality when answering questions. For example, because I was the last to get a chance to answer the first question, I had to be different without making stuff up. It was a challenge, a nice mental test.

During the course of the hour, we were told that there had been more than 60 applicants, that we were the final dozen, that there were "two or three" openings and that some of us would be chosen to advance to the next level of interviews.

There was a lot of positive energy in the room. About 45 minutes in, I said to myself: "You know, I really like just about everybody in here, and I could see myself happily working with most of them."

Nevertheless, after the session ended, I was struck by how much each of us wanted one of these low-paying jobs. There were just-out-of-college kids wanting to start their adult lives, middle-aged folks like me wanting to make a positive impact in the community, longtime stay-at-home moms wanting to get back in the workforce, etc.

And, in today's financial climate, we were competing for relative peanuts.

To work for this particular organization, it has to be about more than the money. That's certainly the case for me. I like the idea of helping people and joining a team of like-minded, service-oriented people. And the flexible schedule would let me continue coaching and doing some of the other things that make me happy in my post-journalist life.

So I'm pleased to report that I just received word that I advanced to the next stage of interviews. Here's hoping I'll have my A-game.


  1. as someone who spent my entire life in the social service is rewarding but you will always get peanuts...good luck...

  2. Good for you. Having now been out for a year, I am finaly getting some phone interviews and have one face-to-face interview for a position next week. Good luck.

  3. Back at ya, Mike. And thanks, Brandon and Doug.

  4. Great news, Mike! Kinda scary that there are so many people going after so few jobs, but your positive approach toward life over the past few years has been inspiring.