No. 6: Stories: Dead-end Job

We’ve all had them, right? The job that was supposed to be temporary. Or the job that promised more than it gave.
This week’s stories explore the realities of such employment opportunities. Aaron Berkowitz’s Assistant brings us the anxieties of being stuck in a position that is unrewarding. In Joseph Randolph’s Gold Rush, we read about a review about a marketing firm that is not what it seems. And in Debbie Felio’s story Staying the Course, we see what happens when your supervisor has too much sway over your perception.


Aaron Berkowitz

There’s no promotion coming. They promoted last year—you didn’t even get an interview. They pay you to speak, but didn’t want to listen. The words in your head became angry. Where were you going? They know you don’t have options. You could quit. You picture what you would say to them if you didn’t need the money, healthcare. You suffered while waiting for the phone ring; no sleep, muscle aches, cold extremities, upset stomach. You eat less, no hunger, save money. Walk home in cold to save the bus fare. Taste the gravel exhaust, cheap cigarettes you swallow in seven-minute meditations. It’s not fair, never was. You love what you do. Feeling plastic keys beneath fingertips, ink drying on the underside of your left hand, the stained lines of palm should tell you something about what’s to come. You picture the future you think you want—work hard, it’ll come. Come early, stay late, talk to those who need talking to. You help them say what they want, even though they protest they have no idea what they want. You want recognition, opportunity. Right? It’s right there, you see others grab it, wonder how hard you should pull. Pull it towards you; you only have the hand over hand. Strain. Hold on harder, without this you only have yourself. You should have left months ago. Take the left, exit onto different asphalt. You’ll have a new license, all the road behind you. Surely people are looking for your skills. Look harder. Look more. What more can you want but an idea? You don’t even know what you would without excuses, if success came, you only know you need to change. For now, you stay.


Gold Rush
Joseph Randolph

Gold Rush Enterprises, located at 3502 Scotts Ln, Philadelphia, PA
Business Details:
Hours Regular Hours
Mon-Sun Open 24 Hours
Neighborhoods North Philadelphia, Allegheny West
Categories Marketing Programs & Services, Marketing Consultants


Gold Rush is another one of those “marketing” chop shops that lure gullible and/or desperate young people by describing their jobs as “sports marketing” while in reality, they hire grunts to do door-to-door sales. This company is another one of those door-to-door solicitation enterprises that describes itself as a “sports marketing company” to drum up interest among high school dropouts, college kids and recent grads. They make lots of grand promises and hype themselves with lots of meaningless business jargon, but at the end of the day, they’re looking for grunts to knock on hundreds of doors a day and hassle people into buying junk like “discount” phone plans. Often, their activities are illegal, violating local anti-solicitation laws while misrepresenting the products they’re selling.

Additionally, while the owners of this company style themselves as “one of America’s premier outsourced sales and consulting firms,” one has to wonder why one of the nation’s supposed top firms employs high school graduates as “human resources managers” and sales leaders. These are kids operating a sales system one step removed from a pyramid scam—when they send their grunts out to hassle people into buying things, they keep more than half of the money as commission. The more grunts going door-to-door, the more money they make. This is why they will try to hire anyone with a pulse, and why they are always trying to hire more people.

Lastly, the owners of this company have changed the company’s name several times and will continue to change the name as potential customers and employees catch on to the type of business they operate. This tells you all you need to know about the integrity of this business. Most companies are focused on building their brand and reputation, while these Gold Rush 1849 kids rename their company every time they burn their reputation to the ground. It’s just part of normal business for them. Avoid these people.


Free weed and percocet. Sorry for quitting after two days. If I’m going to get arrested for being high, it’s not going to be for trying to convince old people to switch to a shitty energy supplier.


Staying the Course
Debbie Felio
He thought he had it made. A beautiful home, a prospering farm, a barn full of animals, servants, a few close friends, a wife and the typical ten kids including 7 sons. He was sure he was a lucky man.
Until it all began to change.
Animals and servants were killed in a hostile takeover, crops and other animals were burned, children were all killed in a freak windstorm when the house collapsed. The news of one catastrophe was hardly finished when the news of the next came. And then he began developing sores over his body. Within a day or two, all that was left was a sick wife and the few friends who were quick to come around asking “What happened?” “What did you do?” and they all sat around suggesting possibilities of where and why things fell apart. Even his wife got in on it and insisted, “Figure it out and fix it!”
“This isn’t my fault – it’s something else,” he said, and set off to see the supervisor and submit his complaints.
“Who do you think you are?” the supervisor responded. “Who created this company and hasn’t it provided you with better than you imagined? Do you think you’re the only one with problems? Do you think you know so much that you could handle this better? Then go right ahead and set out on your own. Or stay the course and see how things turn out.”
He thought for a moment, knowing he lacked the knowledge and the resources to make it on his on, and that path would go nowhere. So he responded, “I’ll persevere and stay. I believe you are able to make it good again, and I know that by myself, I am just a dead end Job!”
Tiffany Key
Tomorrow she was going to quit.
This was what she had been telling herself since 2008. The mantra looped in her mind when a pile of applications was placed on her desk at five-thirty. She rubbed the words over her frustration like a balm when her assistants were promoted, sometimes even within the same department where they delivered their revenge as her supervisor. The worst blow was when they were kind to her, inviting her out for pity drinks where they would smugly pay the bill and ask after the husband whom they knew she no longer had.

Tomorrow she was going to quit.

Rachel had only been there two weeks when she got a salary raise and a corner office with Venetian blinds that could be lowered all the way, unlike her own with the tattered cord that only allowed the blinds to cover the top half of the window. This meant that people were always stooping down to see if she was in her office and, because of the angle of her desk, they spied her legs first. She used to wear skirts everyday but after she saw a crude rendering of her legs on her assistant’s yellow legal pad, she switched to slacks. It was not her fault that her calves and thighs were crisscrossed with purple varicose veins. It was just what happened after twenty years of being trapped behind the same desk for twelve hours a day. Tomorrow she was going to quit.There were probably about three thousand applications sitting in her inbox. Three thousand women who wanted to work for her company because they had heard about the quick promotions, the outstanding salary. Some of them had even heard about the termination policy and yet they thought they could beat the odds. They all thought they were exceptional, Rachel and the others who rose so quickly in the ranks. Her job was to sort through and find the ones that met the company’s requirements. The women needed to be single with no children. They needed to be educated but not beyond a two-year degree. They needed to have bad credit and preferably a house in lien or a car repossessed. They needed to be desperate but egotistical. It was not an easy job but she managed to fulfill the company’s quota, week after week. Month after month, year after goddamn year.

Tomorrow she was going to quit.

In the beginning, when she discovered what the women were being promoted into, she was horrified. She swore she would never return. But then femininity laws became stricter and there was really no other place to work. So she let management know that she knew and after she signed a non-disclosure agreement, she was allowed to keep her tiny office and her modest paycheck, indefinitely. She was safe from promotion though not safe from her conscious, no matter how faint it had become. Tomorrow she was going to quit.


One response to “No. 6: Stories: Dead-end Job”

  1. Francisco Ezequiel Avatar
    Francisco Ezequiel

    I liked “Staying the Course.” The whole time I’m think of Job from the bible. Don’t know if that was intentional but it was great anway.

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