Philadelphia, Pa – July 2021
About a week after I got back from my four-day stint in Wildwood at my sister’s shore house I figured I should probably look for a job.
I had been on unemployment for over a year and a half and it was about to run out for good.
Back in March of 2020 when I was laid off from my hospitality job at a sports bar working 55 hours a week on my feet, I was happy to be off.
After working for 40 years I was happy to get a break. What began as a time of apprehension, quickly became a joy when I started getting $360 a week plus another $600 a week from the government which lasted 6 months. (Not to mention the $1200 stimulus checks I got!) Then they extended unemployment past that and still provided $300 extra per week so I was in good shape financially over the whole year and a half.
During that time I monetized this blog with WordPress ads, and Google AdSense, and acquired my own advertisers to promote their brands on my site. So there was that added income rolling in. I also published six books over that year and a half. Phicklephilly: One Man’s Journey to Find Love in Philadelphia, Phicklephilly II: He’s Found Love, But Can He Keep It?, Crazy Dating Stories, Sun Stories: Tales from a Tanning Salon, Angel with a Broken Wing, & Below The Wheel. So, royalties were rolling in from the sale of all of those books.
Back in April, I started cranking up some freelance writing assignments from different companies across the country. That brought me thousands of dollars and is still going on today. I was in great shape financially. I made more money and grew my investments during the pandemic than when I was working 55 hours a week in some terrible bar job.
I could see why once things started up again restaurants couldn’t find people who wanted to work. People were making great money on unemployment and all realized they could enjoy the summer and maybe find a vocation that was better than working in hospitality. It’s horrible, demanding work and I wouldn’t recommend that type of job to anyone.
It’s full of drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill people, illegal aliens, felons, and those who can’t get a job doing anything else. I was told by an executive in the hospitality industry that it attracts the very worst people. I had to agree with him. It’s a thankless, garbage life.
I decided I could never go back to anything like that but didn’t completely rule it out if I couldn’t find anything else at almost 60 years of age. But I was told by friends that they knew I’d get something because of my skills and personality.
During the pandemic, I decided that if I could find a little job to keep myself in step with humanity that was somewhere locally, I’d take it. Maybe something in retail in my neighborhood. But who knows?
About a week after I came back from Wildwood, I decided to look. I updated my resume and made a dozen copies at the local Kinkos over on 15th street. I applied to a few places on Craigslist and Indeed but didn’t hear anything.
The Last Week of July 2021
One day I walked over to the hardware store that’s a block and a half away from my house. I wanted to pick up a timer for some mini lights in my bedroom. While I was there I asked one of the guys working there if they were hiring. He said they were and to bring my resume in the next day. I did, and it was taken by one of the managers.
The next day I got a call from the owner and he asked me to come in and meet with the general manager the next day. I went in and met with him and was hired on the spot. I started that Friday and have been there ever since.
But here’s the thing… the same day I dropped my resume off at the hardware store I met with the owner of a local bar at 23rd and Sansom. He hired me on the spot as well. I told him I had managed a restaurant but never tended bar. He didn’t care but hired me anyway. I was shocked at my flood of good fortune.
I later had to decline the bar gig because I didn’t want to have to work until 2:30 in the morning. No way! Not doing that.
But the hardware gig is great. The guys I work with are nice and the whole vibe of the place is laid back. The work is easy and the customers are great. It’s nice to serve the community and help them with all of their household needs.
I was surprised how smooth my transition went from being unemployed for a year and a half to a nice job a block and a half from my house.
It’s been a great year of freedom and creativity, and now this cat has once again landed on his feet!
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