Tag Archives: job

VP of electronics departments

One of my friends from back home, this guy Nick, he spent the majority of his time goofing off, playing video games, smoking a lot of pot. He managed to get through high school, but he only lasted a semester at college before landing back in his parents’ house with no money, no prospects. He did clean his act up though, he cut back on the drugs and video games, he went down to Costco to apply for a job.


He was naturally a very nice person, and when he took the time to clean up, spending just a couple of extra minutes making sure to shave and present himself as a serious job-seeker, he had no trouble in hitting it off with the hiring manager at Costco. Nick was upfront about his previous lack of job experience, and the hiring manager saw a lot of himself at Nick’s age, and so he gave him a chance.

“We’re going to start you off at inventory,” they told Nick. But on his first day, the guy in charge of handing out the Costco uniforms couldn’t find a red vest. “I only have blue vests,” he handed one to Nick, and it being his first day, he had no idea the difference between blue and red vests, so he just took one and put it on.

Apparently it was a big deal though, because blue vests were reserved for floor managers and heads of individual departments. Nick put on his blue vest and, because he got there super early for his first day, decided to take a walk down the electronics aisle and check out the TVs and sound systems before he had to show up for his first assignment toward the back of the warehouse.

While he was looking at the latest in ultra-HD TVs and wireless speakers, some dude approached Nick and, mistaking him for an electronics salesperson, started quizzing him about product specifications. Lacking the self-awareness to realize how his situation could have been misrepresented, Nick freely answered all of the guy’s questions. None of his answers were based on any facts or research, rather, Nick started running his mouth about random stuff he’d read on tech blogs he’d occasionally read online.

The customer didn’t know anything about technology, and so not only did he not see through the bullshit in Nick’s answers, he actually walked away pretty impressed. Which was a huge stroke of good luck, because the customer turned out not to be a customer at all. He was some VP at Costco HQ who happened to be in the area for one of those regional meetings. He hadn’t intended to do any secret shopping, but he stopped by the store for one of those really cheap hotdog and churro combinations that Costco is so famous for and, while he digested his lunch, he found himself wandering through the store. That’s where he ran into Nick.

Unfortunately for Nick, his conversation in electronics with the unintentionally undercover VP took longer than expected and, as a result, he was late for his first shift at the back of the warehouse. When he did show up, something like ten or fifteen minutes late, the shift supervisor was furious. “And what are you doing wearing that blue vest?” he demanded. “You think this is a joke? Give me your vest and get out of here!”
Nick had no idea how things had turned out so wrong. Dejected, he took off his vest and tried to hurry through the parking lot, hoping to make it to his car before any unexpected emotional dams broke, causing a potentially public display of waterworks not really appropriate for a grown man in his late twenties who just got fired on his first day of work. Before he made it to his car though, the VP called out to him in the parking lot.

“Nick!” the VP said.

Nick turned around and saw the guy from the electronics aisle.

“Yeah?” Nick said.

“Where are you going?”

“How’d you know my name?”

“From inside. Your nametag?”

“Oh yeah, right.”

“Listen, Nick, I’m actually VP of operations for the region here at Costco, and I’ve got to tell you, I was really impressed with your handle on the electronics department back there. You ever think about going for a job in corporate?”

And Nick didn’t know what to say. None of this was really making sense. And he was still feeling the rush of very conflicting emotions bombarding his thoughts. The best he managed to get out was a, “Well, I don’t know … uh.”

The VP took out his card and said, “Listen, why don’t you stop by regional HQ tomorrow. I’d love to introduce you to the rest of the team.”

And seeing as how Nick just lost his job, he thought, what the hell? He might as well give it a shot. He showed up the next day and met with a whole bunch of VPs. He really didn’t know anything about business, nothing about profits or revenues or supplies and demands. He just showed up and started talking about the new Roku 3 and solid state hard drives, random topics that he’d remembered seeing headlines about on all of his favorite web sites.

The VPs ate it all up. They didn’t know anything about electronics either, but they weren’t at all familiar with the popular Internet sites, and so Nick’s ceaseless stream of trending technology talk filled the whole conference room with the fresh energy and buzz that only a youthful outsider could bring to the table. He was hired on the spot.

And the work was easy enough. The suppliers didn’t really need any input from a VP. They all knew which products were moving well, and merchandise like giant TVs and external hard drives basically sells itself. And so Nick found himself with a cushy office job, a fat paycheck, but a lot of time to kill during the day.

And so one day he was feeling particularly restless, he decided to check in on his old store, the place where he was almost gainfully employed for an entire day. He went to the food court, bought his hot dog and churro, and then took a walk past the electronics department. He looked at all of the TVs and speakers and, as he rounded a corner, he ran right into his old boss, the guy who fired him for slacking off and wearing the wrong vest. He was helping a customer, answering questions about square inches and dpi, all of this weird technology lingo that Nick was surprised he even knew. Maybe the job was starting to rub off on him. Maybe he knew more about electronics than he thought.

For a moment, he was consumed by the idea of flaunting his rank, by butting into the conversation and embarrassing this guy that had once cost him his job. But that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. And besides, if he got this guy in trouble, what if he eventually got fired? What if he one day stumbled upon his own promotion, and wound up in a position even higher than Nick’s?

No, he decided to take the high road, to walk away. But not before standing there a little too long, making a weird extended eye contact with the man wearing that blue vest. Nick thought, does he remember me? Did I make enough of a dent in his consciousness that day so that he now recognizes my face? Would he be surprised that I’m now technically his boss? Nick decided to walk away before the urge to get involved came back. He thought, maybe I’ll get another hot dog, and one of those giant sodas. And he turned around and walked away.

Hey Bill, are you reading this?

Dear Bill Simmons:

Man, sometimes I feel like I’m never going to get a job at Grantland. Like, I’ll keep writing you these open letters every week, but that’s as far as my one-sided relationship with you is going to go. But I don’t know what else to do. Maybe a year or so ago, I wrote a real letter to you, to Grantland. I went to the web site and went to the “Contact Us” page and there was an email address to the editors. And I don’t remember what I wrote exactly, but it was all professional, like, “Dear editors: This is a very serious inquiry seriously inquiring about writing for Grantland,” blah blah blah.


And look, I know that you probably get way too much email to respond to, I get it. So I’m not mad or anything, it’s not like I take it as a personal snub. But it’s incredibly frustrating, to want something so bad, to want to be a professional writer, just throwing yourself out there on the Internet, over and over again, never getting any sort of response.

It’s like, even these letters, this whatever it is that I’m doing on my blog every week. Dear Bill Simmons: please give me a job. And then I go onto Twitter and tweet you a copy of the link, knowing that you get tons of tweets, that there’s no way you’re able to even view every tweet you receive, let alone consider a response.

But I don’t know what else to do. And it’s you, it’s Gawker, it’s all of these other professional high-trafficked web sites that publish all sorts of cool stories written by authors who, when I click on their profiles, they all look like they’re my age, like it shouldn’t be totally inconceivable that I could be doing what they’re doing.

It’s a tough job, getting a cool job, a job where you get to make stuff and write stuff and somehow earn money from it, enough money that you could theoretically support yourself. So far I think I’ve made about seventeen dollars from my writing. I don’t know how you do it, Bill, how you’ve built this media empire all based on your words, writing about sports, about pop culture, about stuff that you love.

Man, this is a pretty boring letter so far, I’m aware of that. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t think of anything to say right now. Last week I wrote about how I’d start from the bottom and work my way up. That was pretty cool, at least, it was cool in the way that I didn’t really have to think about it as I wrote it. The words just kind of flowed through me from somewhere else.

But right now, man, it’s really a struggle to get these sentences into paragraphs. You must be able to relate, right? I mean, you’ve done it, you’ve made it as a writer. What do you do when you can’t think of anything to write about? I’ve read all sorts of stuff on the topic, and most advice from professional writers always boils down to the inspiration/perspiration argument, that talent is cheap but work is hard.

And yeah, it’s hard to get this letter out there, I don’t know what to say, I’m feeling each week like I’m making a fool out of myself, desperately invoking your name on the Internet, like you’re magically going to swoop down from cyberspace and elevate my status from professional waiter to professional writer.

But isn’t that the kind of guy you want working for you at Grantland? Just think, I’m not afraid of my own self-imposed Internet writing deadlines. I need to write a letter to you every week. Why? I don’t know. I just made up a deadline and ran with it. Can you imagine what I’d do for you? For Grantland? Give me a deadline, and I’ll stick to it. I’ll get something out. I’ll perspire all over the place.

I guess that’s all I’ve got. Not very entertaining, I know, but sometimes you’ve just got to be willing to write something bad in hopes of eventually being able to maybe write something good. In the meantime, please read this letter from last week, the one I was telling you about just before. Also this letter, about a dream I had where you and I both went to space. That was a pretty cool one.

-Rob G.

I’ll burn every bridge that I cross

Don’t burn your bridges? Fuck that, I want to burn every bridge that I cross. I want to go to work and storm out of there in a big huff, a huge, “You know what I really think?” type of berserker rage, my finger pointing every which way, “That’s what I really think!” I’m causing a huge scene, I’m flailing my arms around, plates of food dropping on the floor, the manager goes to call security, “somebody get the cops, he’s out of control.”


I’ll swing around to the dining room, I’ll take a bite out of some guy’s hamburger, sure, they’ll eventually drag me out of there, whatever man, you’ve got to sedate me? Whatever, bring it on, chain me up and throw me in front of that judge, “Listen son, you’re obviously very disturbed, so the state’s going to go ahead and offer you a choice: hard time in prison, or a treatment facility a couple hours north of the city …”

And I’ll cut him off, I’ll burn that bridge to the ground even before I cross it, I’ll be like, “Hey asshole, don’t call me son, OK? You’re not my dad. And what, you think I’m interested in your plea bargain? Get the hell out of here. You’re a joke. This system’s a joke.” And they’ll have to wheel me out of there, I’ll be screaming the whole time, little specks of foam flying out of the corners of my mouth.

After the sentencing I’ll be in prison orientation, maybe some public advocate will try to appeal to my more reasonable side. But I don’t have a more reasonable side, so he’ll be wasting his breath telling me all about how, “You might be able to shave a couple of years off of your term if you show a little good behavior.”

Good behavior? This guy won’t have any idea who he’s dealing with. I’ll play nice, for a while anyway, I’ll tell him every time he revisits my case or comes to check up on me, I’ll be like, “I’m being really well-behaved. Just ask any of the guards or the warden. I’m like the model of a well-behaved prisoner.”

And he might be skeptical at first, because honestly, it’ll be hard to hide my smile, that sinister grin just waiting for him to offer me the slightest inkling of trust. It’ll take a little bit, but I’ll wait, a couple of weeks, how often do those guys visit the inmates, once a month? More than that?

Finally he’ll feel like he might be getting through to me, I’ll contact his office and tell the  secretary that I need to see the advocate. He’ll show up to the meeting room and I’ll ask him, “Hey man, did you get my letter?” And he’ll say, “Letter? I don’t think so. When did you send me a letter?” And I’ll look down and say, “Oh … I guess I forgot to …” and then I’ll slam my foot down on top of his foot, like as hard as I can, and I’ll scream out, “Stamp it!”

A classic prank, but taken to the extreme, because listen buddy, I am where I am because of me, not because of some stupid guy in a suit claiming to be on my side. You know who’s on my side? Me. You know who else? Nobody. And he’ll be screaming in pain, hopefully I’ll have at least knocked a couple of toenails off.

I’ll have the maximum sentence, no time off for good behavior, it’ll be the absolute worst behavior that you can imagine. They’ll tell me to shut up and I’ll keep talking. They’ll scream out, “Lights out!” at the end of the night and every single time, I’ll scream out, “Lights on!” in reply. For meal time at the cafeteria, I’ll always cut the line, I don’t care how big all of the other inmates are, I’ll cut, every single time, I’ll go right to the first person in line and say, “Hey man, you mind if I back cut?” and I’ll just do it, I won’t even wait for a response.

Eventually they’ll have to let me out, I mean, it’s not like I’ll have killed someone or anything. And even though at my parole hearing I’ll get a lot of warnings about staying away from my old job, about not trying to make contact with my old boss, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Day one, buy a nice suit. Day two, go back to the restaurant and ask for my old boss.

“Hey boss,” I’ll still call him boss, even though I won’t have worked for him in years, it’ll be like an added layer of discomfort, just like that crazy grin I won’t really be trying that hard to suppress, “I just wanted to say … I’m really sorry.” And I’ll extend my hand, knowing that he’ll take it, if only to get me out of there.

And right as he goes for that handshake, I’ll pull back, really dramatically, I’ll do a really obnoxious laugh, “Ha! Sorry you’re such an idiot!” and maybe I’ll consider going on another rampage, but no, I’ll just laugh and walk out of there. And if my parole officer calls? Fuck that guy, he thinks he’s doing me a favor, telling me he’s on my side? He’s not on my side. I’m on my side. That’s it. If you’re thinking about helping me out, help yourself out, and stay out of my way.

Dear Bill Simmons:

You guys ever read Grantland? I read it all the time. It’s great, a professional web site dedicated to long form essays about sports and pop culture. The sports stuff is perfect for a guy like me. I like sports, and I want to be up-to-date about what’s going on in the sports world, but I don’t always have the attention span necessary to watch full games or follow complete seasons. And for whatever reason, ESPN doesn’t do the trick, I can’t seem to latch on to Sports Center or any of those other sports/news programs.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat – Game Four

Grantland covers what’s going on in sports while at the same time peppering its front page with headlines about blockbuster movies or professional wrestling. It’s enough to keep me engaged while simultaneously providing me with enough knowledge of pro sports to prevent me from sounding like an idiot the next time I try to chime in on a sports related conversation at work.

But the more I grow attached to Grantland, the more painful it becomes to read. All I see is this awesome web site where likeminded writers contribute with long blocks of text about all of the stuff that I’m interested in. Instead of walking away from a Grantland session feeling satisfied with having consumed something entertaining, I’m left with this empty yearning, an almost indefinable envy.

Like, why can’t I be a part of Grantland? Hey, Bill Simmons, are you reading this? Of course you’re not reading this. I’m writing this whiney complaint on my personal web site, hoping that if I sprinkle enough searchable keywords, (Grantland, Bill Simmons, Grantland, Grantland, Grantland,) the wondrous properties of the Internet might somehow make this blog post pop out from obscurity, to magically appear in front of the eyes of someone with some power, someone in charge of hiring writers to write for Grantland.

Because it kills me to read Grantland, to have that feeling like, I could do that. I could write really, really, really long essays about my favorite TV shows, or what I like about comic books. I do it every day, right here on this blog.

But professional writer, how do you get to be a pro writer? Everything I’ve read online, advice from writers who’ve succeeded in making a career out of their words, it’s always along the lines of, “Write every day. Keep writing. Eventually something is going to happen.” And I don’t know, I don’t want to be too negative, I know that I can’t just expect my wildest dreams to come true because I want them really badly, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ll read Grantland, I’ll browse Gawker, I’ll watch a funny episode of The Colbert Report, and every time I find myself really immersed in an interesting point, or losing myself to one of those laughs where the muscles on the sides of my jaw begin to fail, my joy eventually turns to jealousy, without fail. Why can’t I be doing this for a living? Why do I have to be a spectator to this constant parade of cool stuff bombarding my senses at all times?

I’ve written cold-call letters to all of these outlets before, really long, well-written pieces to various editors of magazines and TV shows, all of them asking the same thing. Please, let me do what I’m doing right here, for you, for money, for a living. I’ve tried making these inquiries serious, or changing the tone to something more absurd. I’ve reached for clever, I’ve resorted to begging. And every single time, it’s the same exact reply: nothing.

Actually, not exactly nothing. One time when I was right out of college, I painted this giant oil painting of Stephen Colbert. I had it shipped to his studio with a note begging for a job in the graphics department, and a few short months later, I spotted my painting hanging on some wall in what had to have been a screen shot from a behind-the-scenes clip.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 12.10.01 PM

Whatever, I’m at a loss of what to do next. And yeah, it’s all pretty demoralizing, just wanting something so badly but never receiving any reply at all. Maybe I have to be even more persistent. Maybe I have to keep writing over-the-top letters, but on a more regular basis. That’s where you come in, Bill. No, I don’t blame you at all for not answering the personal request for employment from some guy on the Internet. You’re a famous television personality. If your mailbag is the tip of the iceberg that I’m imagining it to be, I’m sure you have like eight different email addresses all filled to the brim with crazy questions and random nonsense.

But I’m thinking that, if I can just get your attention once, like if by writing a personalized open letter on a fairly regular basis, maybe you’ll see how serious I am about writing for Grantland. It’ll be like when Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four had to somehow snag the attention of Galactus before the space lord devoured our planet whole. And these pieces will be my ultimate nullifier. How does once a week sound?

Obviously I’m hoping you see this in the future, after I’ve written like five or six months worth of material, you’ll see the latest letter, you’ll be like, “What is this stuff? How far does it go back?” and you’ll read every single post, all the way back to this sentence. And you’ll think, “Wow, this guy is serious.” And I am serious. I’ll write whatever you tell me to. When you say, “Write,” I’ll say, “How high?”

Unless somehow this first letter immediately goes viral. It’s totally unlikely, I know, but if it does and you wind up reading this right away, please be assured, I have every intention of keeping these letters up for as long as I’m alive. I’ll even write out a bunch of reserve letters to go up only in the case of an accident, something that would result in my untimely death. This way it’ll look like I’m writing from beyond the grave. I doubt that would help my career prospects at Grantland, but it would be a pretty cool Internet trick.

Bill, can I call you Bill? Mr. Bill, please give me a full-time writing job. Or anybody else. I’ll take it. (Can I have off next Monday? I’m going skiing.)


Rob G.