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Book of Jobs Part 3


by Chris Auman

The longest employment stint in my entire career was four months shy of eight years. Not only that, at 28 years old, it was my first M-F, 9-5 gig. I wasn’t sure I could do it but I adjusted fairly quickly and soon adapted to the routine and appreciated the reliable paycheck. I was a Classified Ad Rep for the Chicago Reader—the weekly alternative newspaper I had used to find countless jobs and apartments. I had never before had perks like full medical and dental insurance, paid vacation and sick days, regular pay raises, year end bonuses and profit sharing, etc.

The job enabled me to pay off my student loan many years early. I also no longer needed roommates to survive and got a sweet deal on a two bedroom apartment in Logan Square. I turned one bedroom into an office where I published this zine, ran a record label and booked shows for my band.

The downside: it was a customer service job with lots of time spent on the phone talking to dumb and/or angry people. It as also very repetitive. We dealt with Chicago’s many landlords and real estate companies/agents, employers of all stripes and ran thousands of free ‘for sale’ and ‘wanted’ classified ads. And then there were the “adult services” advertisers which I could devote an entire issue to, but probably won’t.

All in all, it was a good company to work for until the Internet decimated the newspaper industry and Craig’s List killed classifieds with particular relish. After eight years, change was in the air and it wasn’t good. I got out before the paper sold (several times) and went into bankruptcy at least once. A department that once staffed about a dozen people 12 years ago has now been reduced to one person, last time I checked.

SuckCo. >>

Originally published in RW#24, 2014

RW #24


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