Today is Labor Day, the day made to celebrate the hard work of “laborers” all over America. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September, at a time that is perfect for anyone needing a rest from their busy summer schedule. I love having the ability to enjoy a national day off, but unfortunately there are many people who have to work on this great holiday. There are some jobs that are completely essential to running this society correctly, so I understand the idea of having them work today, but many people in non essential jobs should definitely have this day as a break. The class of job that I am referring to is the dreaded retail job. Retail work is the way of life for almost 1/4th of Americans, and this number seems to be growing exponentially. There was a time that I worked retail for a while, and I can honestly say that retail work, while it does pay, may be the thing I actually detest the most. I remember working a few retail jobs while I was in college, and just enjoying the fact that I had some spending money, but when I worked a bit of retail after graduation, I knew that it was definitely not for me. There was a time when retail work was seen as a temporary solution, or as a job for teenagers, but in this economy it has become a staple for many people and families. I understand that many need to work retail, I just wish retail companies wouldn’t exploit their employees. On this day that marks the necessity of our country’s labor force, many people have to work extended hours in order to satisfy company goals. Retail workers today are not always treated very fairly, and they have very little job security. I know that all companies are not the same, and that retail was not built to be a long term career, but I find it absurd that so little has changed in the world of retail over the years. I have never been one to call for unionization, and I don’t think retail workers should even be in a union, I just think that more changes should be made to make work more fair for retail workers. Labor Day celebrates the work of our country’s citizens, hopefully one day, retail will be more regulated to allow for better treatment of their overworked workforce.
Today, I started a new job in the city, and while I am still somewhat convinced that I will not end up living in New York for long, the city always seems to have a way of keeping me around. It has been a while since I worked in Manhattan, and now my days of driving and enjoying the relative serenity of the Bronx are going to be limited to weekends. Whenever you start something new there are obvious apprehensions, but with time and patience things can quickly become the usual, and that is the great thing about adaptation. Adaptation is the ability to get acclimated to a new situation in such a way that the stresses that were once problems are now handled with ease. I understand that it is difficult to get used to a new home or job, but when you consider the fact that humans are not the only creatures that go through active adaptation, it makes the whole process seem less difficult. One of the most common examples of adaptation in the wild can be seen in many forms of plants. Most plants grow towards the sun in order to increase their light intake, this usually involves bending and stretching to a location with better coverage, a tactic plants in brighter circumstances wouldn’t need to employ. Adaptation is not exactly a necessary trait in humans, but in order to survive a difficult situation it must be part of a persons working repertoire. Right now, it may seem like I have less time to blog daily, but I’m sure that I will be able to adapt to my new schedule shortly and get back on a pace in which I am better accustomed.
Today, I had an interview with a growing startup company in New York, and since this was not my first interview with a startup, I was able to noticed great similarities in how these companies operate. Everyone is aware of the Internet beast that is Google, and how they treat their employees, but many are unaware of just how many companies try to emulate the “culture” of Google. In a startup company, culture is everything, and that basically starts with who you are. These companies are looking to hire people who they can be friends with outside of work, as well as people who will work well with the team. Aside from culture, history is a big part of getting to know a startup, the employees of these companies have usually grown within the company and watched the company grow. Whenever I asked an interviewer about their time with the company and its changes, they seemed to answer the question with the same vigor and affection one would use when describing their childhood puppy. It is easy to see that the employees of these companies love where they work, and they are intent on making sure everyone who walks into those doors will fit into the family that they have become. I am confident that I did well in the interview, but for those who may have an upcoming interview with a startup, I will leave a few nuggets of advice. The first thing needed to ace an interview is to do your research, this should be a given with any interview, but delve a bit deeper with startup research. The HR managers are looking for someone who fits, and is capable of loving the company as much as they do, so the new hire should at least care enough to check out the company blog. The next bit of advice goes along with researching the company, and it can go a long way in your ability to nail the job, that is to know how to dress for the interview. The best advice I can give is to ask the recruiter or hiring contact what you should wear, there is really no shame in doing so, and you will usually be told to go with a corporate casual or casual look. I understand that common procedure dictates wearing a nice suit or business attire, but many managers may give negative marks for not knowing the culture of the company, purely based on clothing. The best and final advice I can give anyone applying for a startup job is to be yourself. As long as you are genuine and excited to be part of what a company is building, they will generally be glad to allow you to join their work family.