Category Archives: Increase Revenue

Pedi-Cab Chronicles

Day 13 | $24,666 paid | $66,051 till freedom

This is a low-quality post in terms of actual story-telling, but I will push forward with what I have to say anyway since tonight was fairly eventful and I want to get it down before I forget it all.

Observations from My First Night of Pedi-Cabbing

  • The owner convinced me it would be a good idea to ride without my shirt to get more attention and therefore make better money. I was treated like a piece of meat all night long, and while it was  funny, flattering, and novel at first, it quickly grew old.
  • Some drunk girl I gave a ride to literally humped my bike seat. Awkward. Her friend pinched my nipples. Hard.
  • I will wear a shirt next time I go out.
  • I got comfortable calling out to complete strangers, and I did it quite a bit.
  • But out of the seven rides I gave, not a single one of them was from “hustling.” Four of them were from just parking in a spot and sitting in the trailer and waiting for a fare. The othe three were for riding along the road, not saying anything.
  • I’m done hustling.
  • I hate just parking in a spot and sitting in the trailer. I feel so lazy. I’d rather be giving rides the entire time and making as much money if I were to give rides only half the time and sit around the other half.
  • I was riding around for an hour with no fares, growing more and more frustrated, ten seconds away from getting on my bike and riding back to the depot to quit, when three people came up to me asking me for a ride. They turned out to be really cool. I took them to get hot dogs and then dropped them off at Chinatown.
  • Giving rides to three drunk and wild dudes from New York who each weighed at least 200 pounds and want me to race their two friends in another pedi-cab is exhausting. I lost. But I still got a great tip.
  • I broke only three traffic laws tonight.
  • I rode my bike 14 miles.
  • I gave 7  rides to 15 people.
  • I gave a ride to a couple of girls even though they warned me that they didn’t have the cash and wouldn’t be able to pay me anything. I figured that I needed the practice.
  • Other pedi-cab drivers are friendly. Most of them all seem a little off in some way.
  • I made some new friends.
  • In 4.5 hours, I grossed $107 and netted $72 after the trailer rental. That’s $16/hr. (Which would be tax-free if it weren’t for this blog!)
  • All the pedi-cabbies I talked to agreed that tonight was slow.
  • I’m exhausted. It’s now 3:36 AM.
  • I had a good time overall. It didn’t  feel like work.
  • I’ll do it again–next Friday and Saturday if I can get on the schedule.
  • I’m concerned that it won’t be as lucrative as I was led to believe.

The best part…

  • I ended up making $10 more than Joel, my trainer from last night, even though we worked the same hours.
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My Comfort Zone. I’m Outside of It.

Day 12 | $24,666 paid | $66,051 till freedom

Pedi-cabbing and I have a funny relationship. I used to be the guy who would tailgate pedi-cabs with my car on my way to the bar, wishing they would go faster than 10 mph and not take up the entire lane so I could park my car and start partying. Coming out of the club at the end of the night with my buddies, I’d look at them sitting on their bikes, waiting for somebody to pay them money to give them a ride. They seemed so subservient. It’s embarrassing and more than a little awkward for me to admit this, but for the sake of maintaining the transparency that I have tried to establish in this blog, I will: I judged them. While I was having a blast with my friends, spending money freely on drinks, they were out there working for $10 fares, doing very, very difficult servant-like manual labor.

Besides the tailgating, I’ve had direct interaction with pedi-cabbies on only two other occassions. Once, when I was 22, I was getting a ride in a trailer with two of my friends and the pedi-cab driver was not moving at what I considered a sufficient rate of speed. So I got out of the trailer while it was moving, got behind it, and pushed it. I thought I was helping him out, but now that I’m on the other side, I realize that I wasn’t. The other interaction occured about four months ago, when I bet my friends who had hailed a pedi-cab that I would beat them from Ranch to Qua, a half-mile away, by running. I had already gotten a drink at the bar by the time they walked in.

And now I’m pedi-cabbing on the weekends to pay off my Harvard loans. Ah, the irony.

Tonight was the mandatory training ride, and I was towing a pedi-cab trailer while following a pedi-cab driver whom we’ll call Joel. Out of all the employees at the company, he’s been there the longest–a year. Apparently retention is horrible like that at all the pedi-cab places because the job is so taxing and people burn out so quickly. There is supposedly money to be made, but most people can’t phsyically keep up with it for long.

We went past a pretty hot nightspot called Roial, and Joel pointed at it and told me, “Lots of clientele at this place with lots of money. You’ll make good tips if you can pick up people here.” I wanted to tell him, “Yeah, that place is sweet, I go there every weekend,” but it didn’t seem apropos.  Then he followed up with, “Another good spot is the W. Lots of money, lots of high-end clientele.” I could have said, “Yeah, my buddy was in town three weekends ago and he had a suite there and invited me over for a pool party.” Again, I just felt that that reply would have seemed out of place, so I held back.

It turns out you have to hustle in this line of business to make any money. Joel’s version of hustling was yelling out loudly, “Pedi-cab! Pedi-cab!” Then he’d make this weird whistling noise with his lips, let out some whoops, and repeat the entire process. I was embarrassed for him, and embarrassed to be seen with him. I wanted to tell him, “Shh! Somebody might hear you! Keep it down!” But apparently that’s what you have to do to be successful. I had heard from a couple pedi-cab drivers that you have to hustle to make money, but when I saw it in action, when I saw what Joel was doing, I almost turned around and rode back to my car, figuring that I could sell my bike at a $200 loss and find something better to do.

I’m beginning to think that I might not be cut out for this after all. After training was over, Joel encouraged me to go out and try to find people to give rides to. I declined, and went home, using the excuse of a 7 AM meeting tomorrow to bail out.  Truth be told, I was terrified of riding that pedi-cab by myself and approaching random people for rides. What if they don’t like me? What if they reject me? On my way back to the rental place, I passed a lot of people walking along the sidewalk, but I couldn’t bring myself to do what Joel had done so well–ask them how they were doing. According to Joel, it was that simple. He told me not to ask people if they want a ride because as he explained it, “All the pedi-cabbies are asking people if they want a ride. Be different. Set yourself apart. Asking them how they’re doing gets a conversation going, it leads to their tellling you what they’re up to, at which point you can offer a ride. These people are so used to being asked for rides that they automatically say no when they hear you ask. So don’t ask them if they want a ride. Ask them how they’re doing.”

On my way back to the rental place, I was faced with numerous opportunities to ask people how they were doing, but I couldn’t do it. I was way too shy. I would look at them, the words would be on the tip of my tongue, I’d open my mouth to utter the words, but then I would suddenly freeze up. A part of me was shy, but a part of me also knew that if I were walking down the street, I wouldn’t want to be asked how I was doing by some random dude on a bike.

Or would I? I don’t know…thinking about it now, it seems kind of innocuous. Maybe Joel’s on to something.

It’s funny, but when I drink downtown, I have no problem making a ton of new friends when I’m out. Maybe I’ll bring some liquid courage in that flask and pedi-cab drunk…

I worked at a pizzeria right before I took the job bagging groceries when I was 14 years old, and part of my job was to take orders over the phone. I was so shy, though, that whenever the phone rang, I would run away from it and find something better to do–even if it was just scraping pans–letting somebody else take the call. I would watch them take the call, and I’d even listen in with another phone to get pointers. Everybody made it look easy, but just the thought of talking to a stranger killed me.

One day, we were working a skeleton crew and there weren’t enough people to do all the jobs, let alone do my phone job for me, too. If the phone rang and I didn’t pick it up, we would lose a sale. The first time the phone rang, I was nowhere to be found and the supervisor yelled at me when he eventually found me.  

I was basically out of my comfort zone. After I took my first four or five phone calls that day, I got into a groove, and I actually got good at it–my orders were always accurate, and I became really good at pricing orders on the fly so the customer wouldn’t have to wait a long time for their total charge. And then a funny thing happened–I started enjoying it. I started to like interacting with the  customers, and then I started looking forward to the phone ringing.

With this pedi-cab gig, I  just have to get out of my comfort zone. I have to take that plunge. I have to  get used to talking to random people walking down the street. I have to stop thinking that I’m below everybody as a pedi-cabbie. I have a service to perform, and I know that I can perform the service well. I just have to get over myself and get out of my comfort zone. I have to believe in myself.

I think the real secret here is that I just have to chill out with this thing and have fun. I’m putting a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to get out there and absolutely kill it and pull down $200+ a night, but nobody is going to want to get a ride from me if I’m super serious and super intense. I’m realizing that a huge part of pedi-cabbing is being approachable, and potential riders want an easy-going pedi-cab driver who’s laid back and just looking to have fun. Fun first, money follows. I have to stop thinking of customers as fares, and start thinking in terms of just helping people get to where they’re going. I think that’s where Joel’s whole “How are you doing?” tactic originates from. Did I mention that he’s actually a genius? I have to find a way to take my focus off of the money, even though that is the single reason I’m doing this. Actually, if I remember one of my first posts correctly, the other benefits were health and that it takes me out of the bars where I waste money. I’ll focus on those.

In my day job, I don’t interact with customers, but in my future job–if I get the promotion (more to come on that in a bit), then I’ll interact with customers, albeit business-to-business, since I’ll be in a strategic alliance/joint venture position. That’s a special skill set–the ability to interact and sell ideas and things and services and interact well with customers. It’s more difficult, in my opinion, than working with internal business partners and trying to influence them. It’s funny, but I know I’m going to do well at this new job because we’ll all be professionals talking about tech, something I’m very familar with. But for some reason, something about pedi-cabbing is shaking my confidence. It’s very bizarre.

Tonight was free–there was no trailer rental fee. When I show up tomorrow at 9 PM, I’ll pay $35 to rent a trailer, so I’ll start in the red. My goal is to take home $150 tomorrow night, net of the rental. Can I do it? Will I force myself to pick up that phone when it rings? First things first–I have to put the financial target out of my mind and just have fun.

Roommate Status
The potential roommate visited today with her uncle. She was cool and we got along well. It’s crazy–she got her MBA from a great school and has a ton of debt to pay down, so that’s why she’s going the room rental route. I was happy to see that she was driving a car that probably cost around $5k. I’m a fan of this girl already–she knows what it takes t pay down debt. I’ll be even more impressed if she gets a second job and doesn’t spend all of her money downtown. I’ll definitely recommend both actions to her.

She told me her uncle thinks she should should live in a gated apartment complex for the sake of her safety, but she doesn’t think she can afford it. When her uncle was out of earshot, she told me that she’s going to look at other apartment complexes, but it will be just to placate him and she plans on signing with me. I will hear back from her on Tuesday wether it’s a go or no-go, and if it’s a go, she’ll move in on Friday. I hope she comes through. I want this room rented. Based on the numerous responses to the ad, however, I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem with that if she falls through. It would just be nice to rent it to her since she seems cool and is planning on staying at least six months.

Promotion Status
The hiring manager assured me today that I will get an offer letter either tomorrow or Monday, so the hiring freeze will not affect the hiring decision. I was thrilled to hear that.

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Loyal Steed

Day 8 | $0 paid | $90,717 till freedom

I bought a new Trek FX 7.2 from Bicycle Sport Shop on Lamar and am one very significant step closer to being a pedi-cab driver. It cost $519 excluding tax, and I saved $30–it was originally $549–by going with last year’s model which Trek left basically unchanged for 2012. It’s a hybrid, so unlike a mountain bike, it has a rigid front fork  that is lighter and will conserve more energy than a suspension fork, it has smooth tires that will roll better than knobbies, and it has higher gears so I can top out at a higher speed. And unlike a roadbike, it has v-brakes for better stopping power, a stronger aluminum frame that (hopefully) won’t crack, and lower gears for climbing hills more easily.

I added a bell because the pedi-cab drivers said I need it to get customers’ attention.

I think I might have overanalyzed my bell choice a bit–I was trying to figure out what bell would sound the most inviting to potential customers as I ride up behind them without being either 1) creepy, or 2) completely emasculating. I’m convinced that there has to be some sort of marketing study that has analyzed bell sounds and found the ones that optimize take-up rate. Unfortunately, I don’t know where to get that data. I probably spent about ten whole minutes testing the huge selection of bells at the shop and irritating the hell out of every single customer within earshot–which would have meant every single customer in the store because the bells were loud and the store was fairly small. Sorry I’m not sorry, folks–this is my livelihood! My livelihood!!!

I also added bar-ends–they’ll be helpful during out-of-the-saddle hill climbs.

I also added a couple of inner tubes just in case. Having an operations background–I supervised a team of 25 material handlers in a computer assembly plant as my first job out of undergrad–I know that equipment downtime can make or break a shift.

Out-the-door costs totaled $600 (including tax).

The Cost of Pedi-Cabbing
Up-front fixed costs
• Bike and accessories: $600
• Criminal background report: $35
• Defensive driving (since I got a ticket within the past 6 months): $25
• Driving history: $12
• Another set of bar-ends because I stripped the threads on the first set: $20

Total pedi-cab fixed cost investment: $692

Variable costs
• $35 trailer rental on Fri/Sat ($10 Sun-Mon, $20 Thurs)
• Brake pads: $TBD
• Chain lube: $TBD
• Energy bars: $2/ea

Income: $100-150/weekend night + $TBD for special events (e.g., games, ACL, etc.)

There will also be a salvage value (net of depreciation) that I will hope to capture next July. $200, maybe?

Payback Period
If I make $200/weekend, it will take me three and a half weeks to pay back the bike before I start generating positive cash flow. I’ve heard that game days can be lucrative, and that during the three-day ACL event, pedi-cab drivers can make $600/day. I really hope that’s true, as my original calculations assumed pedi-cabbing would be only a $500 investment and I overshot that by $200.

Why New?
Tom, the pedi-cab driver I quizzed two nights ago, told me he bought his bike for $70. Let me see if I can make a pre-emptive strike on any of the flack I’m sure to get in the comments section for getting a brand new bike at $519. 🙂

I went new because I wasn’t finding what I wanted on Craigslist. I wanted a hybrid bike for the reasons already mentioned in the beginning, and there were about three hybrid bikes to choose from on Craigslist which were either in poor condition, the wrong size, or not priced to move.

I’m going to be using this pedi-cab to pull human lives. Having everything in working order–especially the brakes–is critical. If I plow into an intersection and get into an accident because I bought a bike that had bad brakes, that’s on me. (And I could technically get away with–oddly enough, the city inspects trailers but not the bikes.) Sure, a brake job might be only $50 to $100. But what condition is the chain in on these CL bikes? The cables? Cogs? Hubs? Are the wheels true? Pulling a trailer full of people is going to put a lot of stress on the bike, and I want to start from a good place.

I’m going to be using this pedi-cab to pull 300+ pounds of weight for five+ hours at a time. If it’s not the right size, I could get hurt–knee and wrist ergo injuries come to mind–and spend thousands of dollars in medical bills to fix injuries resulting from a mistake that could have been prevented with $500.

Why $500? Cheap vs. Frugal vs. Excessive
I had a tough time finding the proper definitions of “cheap” and “frugal” online that will help express what I want to convey, but I feel like the entire bike decision came down to a choice between being cheap or being frugal. I could have been cheap, spent $70, and regretted it later (no offense, Tom). Or, I could have spent $1,000+ and bought way too much bike–truth be told, I came very close to buying a bike for $800 because it had disc brakes.

I think the $519 purchase was a sound one. A cheap person buys the cheapest thing they can find without regard to anything other than the cost of that object or service at that point in time. A frugal person buys the thing that might cost a little more, but will ultimately deliver greater value in the long run than whatever is cheapest at that moment. Hemorrhaging $600 on the bike when I’m facing such an audacious goal was not easy, but I think it was a better decision than spending only $70.

Why Now?
This was a time-sensitive purchase decision. I couldn’t patiently wait for a deal to come along, or even wait to order something online. I have to train with the pedi-cab company this week if I want to be hired on and assured of getting on their ACL schedule, where $600/day opportunities supposedly exist.

$1200 Parts Bike
I bought a full-carbon roadbike on Craigslist for $1200 last October as my main mode of transportation when my license was suspended for three months for accumulating four moving violations within 12 months. I haven’t gotten a chance to ride it as much as I would have liked to this summer because of the ridiculous heat, and now that it’s going to start cooling down, I was looking forward to putting some mileage on it.

Today, sadly, it became a parts bike, and I won’t be riding it until I’m done pedi-cabbing in ten months, when it will be July. And if next July is anything like this past July, it’ll be too hot to ride it again, and I’ll have to wait till the fall. Woe is me!

Step one of taking the roadbike out of commission was transferring its pedals to the pedi-cab bike. That way, I can wear special shoes that clip into the pedals so that I can apply pressure on upward strokes as well as downward strokes, basically increasing the efficiency and doubling and smoothing the power application. I also transferred the tire pump, water bottles and cages, headlight, computer (to track distance), and the bike bag to hold the innertubes and a small tool set.

Nickels and Dimes
I reviewed the bike receipt today–not for the blog, but out of curiosity. I literally can’t remember the last time I actually took the time to review a receipt. Anyway, I’m glad I did because the cashier charged me $549 for the bike. I called the shop, they confirmed the mistake, and told me to come in for a refund. I live up north, the shop is downtown, and I have a very full day. What a PITA! The old me would have said screw it, not worth my time, keep your lousy 30 bucks. Not the new me! Off to the shop I went.

It turns out I had to go back to the shop, anyway. While I was putting one of the bar-ends on the handlebars, I over-torqued the bolt and ended up stripping the threads and ruining the $20 set. I flipped out! 20 bucks is basically the equivalent of two or three pedi-cab rides downtown, I already have a fair amount of money sunk into the bike, and with that amateur mistake, I’m only extending an already long payback period. The old me would have not have made a big deal about that and minimized it by equating it to about three drinks downtown. The new me was not so understanding…

Next Steps
I’m picking up my criminal background report tomorrow, then calling up the pedi-cab place to get signed. I hope to train on Thursday and start pedi-cabbing on Friday.

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Room for Rent

Day 6 | $0 paid | $90,717 till freedom

Now accepting applications to be my roommate!

$550/month for a fully furnished room of a 2,000 sqft 3br/2ba home, including all utilities (electricity/gas/water/wireless).

I think it’s a fair price, considering the competitoin and the overall value. I said in an earlier post, Brass Tacks, that I wanted to get $650/mo for $6,500 potential upside, but after looking at the market, I can’t go higher than $550. So already my assumptions in my original hustle plan are breaking down.

Here are a couple shots of the room.

I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t facing the proposition of having a roommate with complete and utter trepidation. That being said, it’s not like I’ve had negative roommate experiences that justify my current attitude. I lived with five guys and a girl for two years in undergrad in a small house off campus, and I had the time of my life. We all had something in common–we were all on the rowing team–so we had a common bond, it united us, it kept us all on the same schedule, and it helped with logistics and training. There was absolutely zero drama in the house. We were chill and we genuinely liked each other and spending time with each other.

A bunch of rowers lived next door, and one of them used to write words in maple syrup on our concrete back stoop as a practical joke. That back stoop led directly into my bedroom. More than one morning was spent scrubbing the syrup away. It really, really irritated me, and I looked forward to getting my own place so I wouldn’t have to deal with that nonsense.

When I graduated and moved down to Austin into a one bedroom apartment, I thought I would be glad to be living alone–after all, I enjoy peace and quiet and privacy, and I didn’t like scrubbing syrup off my stoop. But I wasn’t glad at all, and truth be told, I missed those maple syrup messages like hell. I was miserable. I missed the companionship. At our place in Ann Arbor, there was always somebody around to talk to, always somebody watching TV or cooking or eating something in the kitchen. I missed the random drive-bys from my roommates. I really, really missed the house parties.

We threw some epic bashes, and got several noise violations. Several hours before the party, we would put all the furniture away–usually in my room since it was the only bedroom on the first floor, then we’d got kegs. Soon, the house would be packed the house shoulder-to-shoulder with friends and strangers and we’d paly the worst techno music ever, mosh like crazy in the living room, and generally blow it out. The next mornings were spent cleaning up countless red plastic cups around the house and yard and steam-cleaning the carpet, creating the dirtiest, most foul-looking water ever.

One post-party morning, we found that somebody, probably in a drunken stupor, had somehow fallen and managed to wrench the shower spigot at a downward angle so that water couldn’t flow–they had effectively crimped the copper tubing that comes out of the wall. Because we didn’t have a soldering gun and couldn’t afford a plumber, we had to use our female roommate’s creme brulee torch to melt the solder around the copper tube to free it and replace it.

Anyway, it turns out I missed all of those shenanigans. So after a year of living alone, I rented the room out of a colleague’s house who also rented rooms to two ther guys. It turns out that living with teammates in a house is far, far different experience than sharing a living space with other professionals. Maybe it was just those guys–maybe other people have had different experiences–but there was not a whole lot of camaraderie. There wasn’t a lot of drama, either–after all, we’re dudes–but it didn’t have the same feel at all. We just kind of ignored each other.

I lived there for a year then went off to HBS, lived alone for two years on campus, then returned to Austin and continued living alone.

I’ve turned into the kind of guy who likes his space. I like blasting my music really, really loudly in the mornings and at night–so loud that my neighbors have complained (but only once). I walk around without a shirt on all the time–think Mark Wahlberg in Date Night. (I mean, I don’t look like him, but you know what I mean.) I wake up in the mornings and I don’t want to talk to anyone. My friends and I have a drink or two here before we go out, and sometimes we after-party here, too. I guess that’ll have to come to a screeching halt when I get a roommate. Oh, wait, I’ll be pedi-cabbing on the weekends, so it will be a non-issue.  Ugh.

Life with a roommate is going to be difficult. It will mean sacrifice. I will screen carefully, but somebody who wants to pay off $90k in ten months can’t really be too choosy about their revenue sources. But life with a roommmate might be really fun. If they’re cool, clean, aren’t always home, then it could be relativley painless.

I posted the ad ten minutes ago and just got a call from Sarah. She just finished grad school and is relocating to Austin to work in the Finance Development Program at Dell. She wants to scope 0ut Austin and ramp up at work before finding a more permanent situation, so she’s looking for a place for six to eight months. She’s going to come check out the place when she gets to Austin next week. I never considered having a female roommate. I mean, that sounds…dangerous, and fraught with potential drama. But she seemed cool on the phone, so we’ll do the interview and see where it goes.

..and I just got a call from Mark who wants to check it out. He’s forty, divorced, living in South Austin but works in Pflugerville, and wants to shorten his commute. Two hits in thirty minutes. Not bad. I guess the price is right. Hopefully these candidates are, too.

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I Think I Got a Job

Day 4 | $0 paid | $90,717 till freedom

Human Chariot
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.

To Gladiate
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.
Compensation: $1000

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.

From: <undisclosed>@aim.com
Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2011 11:45 PM
To: <undisclosed>@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Hiring Gladiators. $1000 (Austin)

Hi,

This is an erotic project. If you are still interested, please send some full nude photos showing your front, side and rear views.

Patrick

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.

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