Cold Call Of Duty


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Yes, it was that cold outside during my short-lived flyer delivery career. Photo taken by David Gay, with permission to use freely provided credit is given to the author.

The following excerpt is from an Email I send to companies that do not have an open position:

“I recently moved to Kitchener from Toronto and am looking for any sort of work to get myself established. While I’ve been in the Information Technology field for 20 years, I am willing to step out of my comfort zone to take on challenges outside my career path if I have matching skills for that.

I am willing to work full-time or part-time hours and have access to the Grand River Transit system.

A résumé is attached for your review. If no openings are available, please keep my contact information on file in case future openings become available.

Kind Regards

David Gay”

Simply put, it states my position that I am willing to do any sort of work regardless of my past career background. I’ll admit that’s a pretty bold statement, and a few family members and friends have told me that I’m not serious and it’s just talk. To those detractors I say, “read this blog post and try saying that to me again”.

For two weeks I was an independent contractor working for Metroland Media, one of the largest daily and community newspaper publishers in Ontario. The position was snagged by the sent Email above. My job was to deliver flyers on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday — a far cry from my heady days as a system administrator/computer programmer.

The pay was — well — it barely covered the cost of a Tim Horton’s breakfast per run: 6 to 12 cents per house. Not dollars. Cents. Per house. I was not given any special equipment to deliver these flyers: I had to buy my own sweet ride (to use the young people’s lingo) in order to deliver them. On Thursdays, the run consisted of a thick wad of flyers you could choke a horse with and required more than one trip to deliver.

As you can see in the pictures, the deliveries were done on a cold winter day so I had to bundle up properly from head to foot in winter gear.

Was the job easy? Believe it or not, the flyer delivery was the easy part because my route was near where I lived. It was getting the flyers that was so stressful.  According to the supplied handbook, the flyers for Wednesday and Thursday were supposed to be delivered the day before. This is particularly important for the Thursday run because of the volume I described above.  For the time I did the flyer gig, the flyers never arrived on time. They were received the same day I had to deliver them  This led to some late Thursday nights of delivering the flyers. Ever try to deliver flyers on a street with terrible lighting? On some driveways where the owner neither salts nor shovels? It was so stressful I vomited in public during one of my Thursday trips.

After dealing with this nightmare of my flyers not arriving on time, I called up my contact and told them I wanted out in two weeks. I was offered the choice to end my gig immediately, but decided to give Metroland Media time to find a new independent contractor to run my route, to avoid service interruptions to their customers.

So, to recap: a 20 year information technology specialist took a flyer job that pays a ridiculously low wage and is making him sick, yet still offers to stick with it until a replacement is found. Why would I resort to putting myself through this hellhole of a job? Clearly it was not about the money.

What it was about was what I wrote in that Email. I said I was willing to do any sort of work I had a skill for, and I meant it by doing the flyer run. Yes, I ended it after two weeks but again, it was about the logistics issues I had of getting the flyers delivered to my home on time.  I tried very hard to make this job work and gave it a lot of chances. I handled it professionally right up to how I wanted out.

In short, it’s the type of person I am.

Thanks for reading….and Merry Christmas!

David.

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5 thoughts on “Cold Call Of Duty

    1. Hi Eleanor.

      As H. Stanley Judd once said, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.”

      I’ll keep trying until I find a job, no matter how many times it does not work out. It’s all about trying after all.

  1. Maybe go to a kwlug meeting as there are always a bunch of geeks that attend, young and old. Good way to make tech connections and get into opensource. I’ve derived my income from opensource technologies at all my jobs since 1995.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been looking into those user groups and haven’t found one yet that shares my specific computer technology interests. I am still following that option though.

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