As long as I was draft eligible, no employer with what might be called career jobs was going to look at me. I could be snatched by the US Army at any moment. No sooner was anxiety about being drafted relieved, than it was replaced by an anxiety about what to do with myself in an ontological and economic sense. I wanted money to get out of the hole, and I wanted a job with prospects. I didn’t think about going back to school because that cost money and my recent endeavors in the realm of higher education had proven a bust.
I didn’t turn to human resources because I had been there already during my period of unemployment. The unemployment office seemed to have notices only for the unemployable. “Real” jobs were advertised in the newspapers. But I wasn’t an engineer and I wasn’t in business; and men were not yet frequently hired for secretarial work. I turned hither and thither and found nowhere to turn.
My father had “contacts” only in the world of concrete, brick, and block. We had further no family in the area that might have pointed me in a particular employment direct. My mother, who did not drive and was a possible illegal alien, had zero contacts having not worked a paying job since WWII. We had no family in the area. I knew that the children of some wealthy and influential people had gone to the college where I had gone, but I had failed to meet any of them. They all were in fraternities and sororities; and I wasn’t. They all went skiing; I never have. I had gone to a tiny school. The names of everyone in my graduating class could be put on the back of a t-shirt, and I had apparently only met a hand full.
In an act of desperation, I went to one of those places that finds a job for you and then takes all of your salary for the first two weeks. I filled out the forms and within a week they called to say I had an interview. This threw me into a panic. I figured that I should wear appropriate clothing for the interview but I had none. No suit, no dress slacks, no dress jacket, no tie, no shoes. Underwear? Yes, I had that, as long as I was not required to strip and pee on demand. So I borrowed stuff from my father, my brothers, and shoes from somebody that pinched.
I cut my hair; shaved my beard, and feeling about as awkward as a person could in my assembled ensemble did the interview. A week or so later, I got a call saying I had been hired as an assistant manager in training at a Newberry’s Department Store. I would get a salary and be set on a career track towards becoming one day the manager of my own Newberry’s Department Store
Knowing what I now know about myself, I can only think that I must have been still severely mentally disturbed when I said, “When do I start?”