Day 4 | $0 paid | $90,717 till freedom
I just got back from an interview at a local pedi-cab rental place. The guy who interviewed me, we’ll call him John, was working out in the shop, fixing some pedi-cabs, wearing an off-white v-neck undershirt and some grease-stained jeans. His thick-rimmed glasses and very full beard made me think he was going for a hipster look. I’d put him at about 30.
I went there directly from work, wearing black slacks and a green tucked-in LaCoste polo, and I think he was a bit put off. I don’t know if he took me for an undercover auditor or what, secretly investigating his certification process, but my clothes, combined with way I grilled him about the paperwork required–driving record, criminal record, defensive driving, then go apply for a chauffeur’s license–was probably enough to make him think twice about my actual desire to drive a pedi-cab. But my desire to get it right was serious and legitimate–I really don’t want to miss any steps in this important process. The sooner I’m pedi-cabbing, the better.
I asked John about the level of saturation in the pedi-cab market. He replied that it’s getting pretty busy, but he regularly goes out on a weekend night and has no problem pulling down “a bill, a bill 75.” He then proceeded to tell me that if I haven’t broken a “bill or bill 50″ by the end of my first month of pedi-cabbing, then I’m doing something wrong, and this line of work probably isn’t for me. I felt just the slightest bit of judgment in his tone, as if an Excel jockey and Fortune 50 inbox fighter might be out of his element riding a pedi-cab around the streets of downtown Austin, trying desperately to make a respectable earning.
On my way out, I walked past another applicant who was tatted up and far more dressed down than I was. I doubt he got the whole “doing something wrong and this line of work probably isn’t for him” spiel.
When I got back to my car at the end of the meeting, I realized that John hadn’t asked me any questions, other than the validity of my license. And since I just had an interview at work yesterday for a different day job, I naturally started drawing comparisons between the two interviews. And yes, John did call today’s meeting an “interview,” so I’m going to go there.
Today’s interview took place in a warehouse/garage surrounded by a barbed wire fence, the interviewer was wearing jeans and an undershirt, the interview lasted about ten minutes, and I wasn’t asked any questions. Yesterday’s interview took place in a conference room that I was escorted to by the hiring manager’s receptionist, the interviewer was wearing slacks and a polo, the interview lasted a full hour, and I was grilled with behavioral questions–tell me about yourself, why do you want this role, why should we hire you, tell me about a time you thought creatively, tell me about a time when you had a positive impact on customer experience, tell me about a time you led a group to achieve results, etc.
I mean, I get it–John doesn’t really care about me since he’s getting paid no matter what when I pay the $35 for the pedi-cab. I guess I just question his use of the word “interview.”
Anyway, I think I got the pedi-cab job, but I’m not sure…I didn’t get an exploding offer letter detailing my salary, signing bonus, stock options, and relocation package to move closer to downtown. On the plus side, we did shake hands and he did say I could come back and rent a pedi-cab from him. So, I think I got a job! Yay!
Weekend Delivery Man
Still no word on the weekend delivery man job. I think I will dedicate this weekend to going after a different weekend day job. Maybe I’ll leave the resume out of my cover letters going forward.
So I was searching Craigslist under the “gigs” category, and I ran across what I thought would be a hell of an opportunity.
Title: Hiring Gladiators. $1000 (Austin)
Description: Hiring men built like an American gladiator ages 18-39 with lots of muscle weight between 175 lb and 230 lb. Apply with photos showing your muscle if interested.
Um, AWESOME. American Gladiators? Are you kidding me! That show melted my freaking face off when I watched it back in the day. Those dudes got to joust each other, run through obstacle courses, get shot at, and shoot guns. And you’re saying I can get paid to do that? One thousand flipping dollars? I am IN. Where do I sign? I immediately shot a couple pics over from the last time I was out on Lake Travis.
Less than five minutes later, I got an email back.
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2011 11:45 PM
Subject: Re: Hiring Gladiators. $1000 (Austin)
This is an erotic project. If you are still interested, please send some full nude photos showing your front, side and rear views.
Oh, that kind of gladiator. I see.
But you know, this raises a very important question of morality. It also conjures up stereotypical images of a college girl stripping on a pole “for her tuition.” I mean, if a girl is attractive and takes care of herself, is she going to go down to Joe’s Crab Shack and make $8/hr, or is she going to go to Joe’s Sugar Shack and make $80/hr? Obviously, it depends on the girl and her background. My cab driver from the other night told me he bumped into his ex-girlfriend the other day. She told him that after they broke up, she had become an escort, making $250/hr, and that she would never again work a job where she makes seven bucks an hour.
Anyway, here’s where I’m going with this: I’ve had a couple of strangers come up to me at the gym, compliment me on my physique, and ask about my diet and work-out routine. In fact, the very first comment on this entire blog was from a homosexual buddy of mine who suggested I consider porn or escorting to pay off the loans. I think he was only half-joking. So, yes, I could do something of a more “physical” nature and make $1,000 bucks to show some skin. 90 days of that and I would be in the clear. And I could continue to live large, go out with friends, keep my stocks and IRA, and have a roommate. Digging deeper into Craigslist gigs and reading only slightly between the lines reveals a lot of similar opportunities. The money is there, waiting to be had.
The thing is, I don’t struggle with this alternative at all. This isn’t something that keeps me up at night–the question of whether or not I should do this kind of gig–it doesn’t even represent a decision point for me. It’s a very bold and very clear “No, thank you.” But for some people who have gotten themselves into a mountain of debt, it appears to be the only answer. And honestly, I do kind of get that now.