When Your Paycheck Is What Keeps You From Achieving Your Goals

The people Hull profiles want to get better jobs, or better-paying jobs, but they also want to do their Hardee’s jobs well. They have plans and goals for their lives, like having a wedding by a lake or saving enough money to move to a city that might have more job opportunities. The thing that consistently gets in the way is Hardee’s low wages. That is the mitigating factor on their dreams.


Ask the Grindstone: Job Reference Etiquette

Hi! I have a question for your Grindstone series: The etiquette with references.


Talking to a Former South Pole System Admin

“As soon as I heard that there were jobs there, I said “sign me up!” Then it took me five years to get in.”


Would You Work the Overnight Shift In Exchange for Free Tuition?

Let’s say someone offered you the following deal: work for me, doing hard physical labor on the overnight shift, and I’ll pay your tuition so you can go to school during the day.

Would you take the deal? If you did, you might have a life like the one The Atlantic describes:

One day last week, for instance, [Alexis McLin] attended a lab from 3 p.m. to 6:45, went to dinner with her mother, and then at midnight went in to work at UPS, where she sorts packages from midnight to 4:30 a.m.

McLin, 21, is training to be a teacher, and so after she got off work and had some breakfast, she drove to an elementary school at 7:40 a.m and observed classes for four hours. That afternoon she attended a parent-teacher conference, capping off more than 24 hours straight of work and school with no sleep.

College students are known for pulling occasional all-nighters, but the Metropolitan College program requires consistent, regular overnight shift work, under the assumption that students will be as productive sorting packages at 4 a.m. as they will be completing their chemistry homework at 4 p.m. (Metropolitan College is not actually a college; it’s a program that helps students get free tuition at various Kentucky schools while working for UPS. While enrolled, the city pays half of their tuition and UPS pays the other half.)

For some students, this schedule works and allows them to complete a college education. For others, as The Atlantic notes, the time crunch is unsustainable:

[Ilya Lyalin] had to quit the UPS job after he decided to study engineering. The classes and homework required to study calculus and physics required Lyalin’s full brain power, and he found it was all but impossible to have the capacity to do the course work on no sleep. He did it for one semester, and it was hell. He’d work until five a.m. and then sleep until calculus class at 9 a.m., and be up for the rest of the day studying and working. The worst was every Tuesday when there would be a calculus test at 8 a.m. His GPA began to tumble.

“It was two hours of sleep every night for the whole semester,” he said. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”


HR Is Not Your Friend, But It Can Be A Good Sparring Partner

Never stop job-hunting, “especially after you land a new job,” because “the company sees you as a recently acquired risk.”


Target Raises Minimum Wage to $9 an Hour

It’s been just one month since Walmart announced that it was raising its minimum wage to $9 an hour. Now, Target is following suit with a new announcement that its stores will also offer a minimum wage of $9 an hour, and the wage will go into effect next month.


On Calling Your Employees “Partners”

If the employees were true partners, DuBrowa wouldn’t need to clarify it. He’d just say “Our partners” and we’d understand that to mean “partners” in the traditional sense of the word. The fact that he had to follow it with “just to be clear, I don’t actually mean partners here” reiterates how little partnership today’s employees have.


What Getting Laid Off Taught Me About Work-Identity Balance

I’ve been paid actual, real, not-Monopoly-money dollars to write about lipstick, architecture, bad wine, good gin, and cheap underwear.


I ‘Leaned In’ at My Nanny Job—and Got Fired

One Wednesday night not long ago, I went to bed with a job and woke up unemployed.