Nudging the Boundaries


Fresno, California, US
April 11
Writer, Registered Addiction Specialist, civil rights/civil liberties activist


JANUARY 2, 2012 12:38PM

A long walk to a (hopefully) new job

Rate: 4 Flag

I'm to find out in the next few days whether I'm employed again. After 2-1/2 years of living in the margins of existence, it's an exciting prospect.

The job is a simple retail cashiering position at a dollar store, but this is the closest I've come to real employment since my ordeal began. My most recent training and employment has been in substance abuse counseling, but county funds are tight, and jobs are few and far between. I applied for the cashiering job because I'm pretty much out of options and patience. I'll be making about a dollar more than minimum wage, which is far, far better than the absolutely nothing I earn now.

There are several of these new dollar stores opening up because the chain is just entering our local market. I got the job announcement from our state employment agency for job seekers. We were hired in a group, and I guess the wheat will separate from the chaff naturally. The problem is that I have no clue where the new store will be opening.

In order to get this job, I had to tell them I have reliable transportation, but the only transportation methods available to me are the city bus and my feet. The job can start as early as 5 AM and run until as late as 10 PM, but the buses only run from about 6 AM until around 9 PM. What will happen if my shifts run earlier or later than the buses do?

What will happen is that I will be forced to walk, even if the store is 10 or 15 miles away. I will walk. It's not the walk that worries me as much as the danger of walking in the dark. The sky lightens at about 7 AM right now, and goes dark again before 5 PM. What happens if the store is not in a relatively safe area? What happens if I trip and fall? What happens if I'm mugged or shot? I'm grateful for my cell phone, one that is subsidized by the government and costs me about $5 per month. I remember when I was young and thought myself to be tough and hardy and wish I had that confidence now.

But it matters not. I will walk. 

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I am happy to hear you got any job Leslie.
And walking is good, but walking, as you say very late or early is hazardous.
I just got a well used bike given to me. I'm just happy I don't have to walk everywhere now.
I hope this new job is close to where you live. Or maybe you could consider biking...
Thank you, Mission. I hope it comes through. I do have a bicycle on the back porch. I'll need to find the money for new tubes, and a headlight or I'll get ticketed. I'll also need to get hold of a new inhaler. Asthma attacks are common for me on a bicycle. Am I fit enough to bike? I wonder...
Was going to suggest what Mission said, but I see it isn't as simple as I thought... Walking 20/30 miles a day? Whew!
Could you possibly car-pool with someone that shares your shift? Or a friend who works near by? Walking in the dark is not safe...or recommended for a female in this day and age sadly. Be safe my friend.
I'm very glad that you got the job. But it's sad to read this and see that a very talented person, with training in an area that should be funded and providing employment opportunities, is facing these obstacles. I admire your tenacity and wish you the best.
I still don't know if I've got the job yet. An offer was made and I accepted, but I'm still waiting on a background and credit check, both of which may be problematic.

Myriad, walking will be good for me, provided it's safe. I can do this.
Well, the first store opening here will be almost six miles away through a pretty rough area.
Congrats on the job....your walking in the dark makes me nervous for you. Can you borrow a car or carpool? WHen my car broke I "rented" a neighbours car for 10 dollars a day and I supplied the petrol. It was much better than the 20 mile bike ride in the dark. Take care!
I am intrigued by all the suggestions you are getting. I suspect many commenters may not know what it's like to try to get by on minimum wage. Once they subtract the cost of clothes, transportation (and inhalers), many people on minimum wage barely break even. The calories you burn up walking/biking 12 miles a day will substantially increase your food budget. I am encountering an increasing number of minimum wage workers who are figuring out ways to get by (bartering, growing their own, dumpster diving, etc.) without working in the formal economy.