Rogue Employment Smackdowns
I thought this one up over time.
In line at Duane Reade, the cashier ignores you. You push your items towards her, towards the scanner, but she refuses to break her conversation with the stock guy until she’s ready.
At Associated you approach a man carrying a crate and ask what aisle the pasta is in. He shrugs his shoulders. You’re not sure if he doesn’t speak English or if he’s just oblivious.
The waitress at your favorite diner brings you your order wrong for the second time. You inform her and she grabs your plate aggressively, marching away toward the kitchen and muttering under her breath.
“I can do your job better than you,” you think.
And maybe you can.
What if you could slap down an “I Can Do Your Job Better” form on the spot? You could prove your worthiness and snatch a job from the locked jaws of unemployment.
Looking for a job is hell and we need extra incentive. Especially when your resume is as extensive as you are proficient at bullshitting. New York City demands a lot from the unemployed. I’ve learned that you need to have five years experience, three professional letters of recommendation, four forms of identification, and yet preferably be an illegal immigrant, just to get a job as a dishwasher in this town.
An option to challenge each other’s work ethics could work here. New York is an extremely competitive city — it thrives on the rush that someone else might get there first, wherever there is. Strangely, the recent drop in the city’s unemployment rate, reported by The New York Times’s City Room blog, is due to less people looking for jobs. This is disturbing. If chutzpa were an energy source, New York could power the world off of one day’s supply alone.
Even so, the endless days on Craigslist can make you snap. Consistently walking into stores with optimism and confidence is onerous. I’ve spent time calculating and re-calculating how many blocks I can walk to and from a 10-hour shift without physically breaking down. Some people are waving their white flags and I can’t blame them. But the “I Can Do Your Job Better” competition can get us back on the job hunt.
Imagine printing out a dozen of these forms to carry with your resumes. Is everyone working hard at the coffee shop with the “Help Wanted” sign in the window? Just leave your resume. However, if you’ve been standing in the entranceway for five minutes while the solitary waiter is showing off his neck tattoos to the barista, quickly grab that challenge form.
Now settle down. Of course there will be restrictions. You can’t challenge someone just because you’re unemployed. You have to catch someone in the act of subpar performance. Use whatever tricks you have at your disposal — photos, videos, audio recordings, coerce them into vulgar language while their manager is in earshot. Do whatever it takes.
Also, professional positions are out of the discussion. Just because you believe that you have the ability to remove my appendix doesn’t mean you’re capable. And new employees have immunity for one month. Beyond that, they should know better.
The actual process is simple. Whatever the job, and if the manager accepts the challenge as legitimate, you will work a day alongside the challenged employee. Bring everything you have because you won’t get any training. If you shine, you get the job, and that lackluster employee is history.
For each failed attempt (and you will only get three attempts per month) you must pay the worker you challenged a full day’s wages and work a full day in their place. This sounds awful, but this whole job-stealing opportunity is purely a gamble. Either take it seriously or continue filling out applications.
My apologies to employed New Yorkers, but now it won’t only be managers and owners with their eyes on you. Your customers are going to be watching you with renewed vigor.
Unfortunately, it’s truly impossible to be a model employee at every moment. This new system will make you paranoid. Your life may begin to resemble something out of Kafka. But doesn’t New York do that to you already?
This little form will certainly create a lot of enemies. Whether your challenge is successful or not, the person you’re trying to get fired is going to be pissed. You might even be putting yourself in jeopardy of a violent reprisal. If that’s a deterrent, however, then this opportunity is obviously not for you. If you’ve got the cojones to try it, then be ready to handle some varied outcomes. (You also might want to make sure your target isn’t an ex-con.)