When Go-Getting Gets You Nowhere

You hear a lot about the bad economy and unemployment rate. Urban areas have been hard hit in so many sectors that it makes you queasy just thinking about trying to get a job these days. I’ve also always heard that God helps those that helps themselves, but apparently the Chicago Transit Authority doesn’t agree. Last week, this guy decided he wanted to do something productive, so he “borrowed” a bus driver’s uniform and drove a route for four hours. They only figured out he wasn’t on the payroll when he brougt his bus back to the depot and crashed it into another while parking.

So now the police are looking for this poor hero from an Ayn Rand novel. In the series premiere of Boardwalk Empire the other night, Michael Pitt says, “I just want an opportunity,” to which Steve Buscemi exclaims with exasperation, “This is America, isn’t it? Who’s stopping you!” Aside from laws against petty larceny, grand larceny, destruction of government property, impersonation of a government employee, and I’m guessing half a dozen traffic laws, nothing was stopping this guy.

This reminds me of some of the self-starters I’ve worked with in the past. If you find yourself in a role you don’t like in your organization, get good at something else — create the position you’d like to be doing and show that it has value, and sometimes people will let you transition to it. I’m not sure I’d just show up in an office and start filing papers, but hey? What can it hurt to try? Do they have a substitute bus driver program that he could enroll in?

I’ve been at the mercy of bus schedules before, and missed trains and planes because the meat cart didn’t show up. You see sedan taxis and short-bus airport and hotel shuttles menacing the general driving population, so now I’m wondering whether a commercial bus service isn’t a good idea to provide a little competition to the Metro. If they can get anyone who is as eager to come to work as this man, I’d ride … conspicuously absent from all the reports of this dude’s joyride were complaints from any of his customers. Granted, he need a little help learning to park, but that can be trained, right? In the meantime, I hope he doesn’t get arrested for his initiative.

On a side note, I’m fond of noting that I’m driving the bus to hell, and that it’s usually on my own initiative. It wouldn’t hurt to get paid for it.

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One Response to When Go-Getting Gets You Nowhere

  1. mom says:

    Your dad graduated from college with an English degree and a teaching certificate at a time of the largest percentage of teacher’s degrees being awarded in this country’s history, since it often provided a deferment from military service. In his home town, it did not give him a deferment and the military was actually considered a popular and patriotic career, so when he signed up for OCS he had to wait 8 months to start. He couldn’t get hired since he was due to leave in February, so he showed up in the high school office every morning, sat and waited to see whether a substitute would be required. He worked 4 days out of 5, more than twice the rate of inexperienced subs at the time. I’ve known 3 people in this county who got a job in the school system by showing up and volunteering for anything, while making it known that they were looking for work. And your cousin’s summer roommate created an unpaid internship for himself over the second half of the summer even though the office had hired as many students as they had planned to get by telling a congressman he really wanted to work (for nothing) and would be available for as many or as few hours as his office wanted.
    Two tricks, it seems to me: one, make sure an eventual job possibility exists or could be created, either where you are or somewhere which will appreciate your efforts and experience. Two, don’t try to push your way into a position for which the hiring organization could get into a lot of trouble if your training isn’t adequate (like the bus driver).

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