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Low Affirmation

74 thoughts on “Low Affirmation

  1. This strip made me shudder. I hate job interviews regardless of which end I’m on. Realistic though. Painfully realistic.

  2. Poor Ellie.

    Poor Quinn’s Shirt.

    Poor iNimbus…

    I still feel like, if she’d been there for longer, the experience might count for something, depending on where she’s applying. My wife, for example, had a much easier time finding work than I did; I had no real prior work experience besides student-worker stuff, she had years of fast food.

    On the other hand, “quickly promoted to manager” kind of gets balanced out on a resume by “the last food place I worked at had to be demolished via freaking EXTERMINATUS,” “didn’t finish training,” and “previous employment’s staff was so incompetent that the ratches were probably more efficient employees.”

  3. Bah, it’s just Appleberry’s. All she has to do is look pretty and be friendly to the customers. I mean, the food is all basically frozen TV dinners that they heat up and plate for the customers, so it’s not like people come in expecting that much as it is.

    1. As someone who works at a restaurant very similar to “Appleberry’s”, I have to say, it’s a little better than that. About half the stuff is made from scratch, and 95% is made to order… I think the exception is the soups.

      Also… “Appleberry’s requires more than just never calling off”… No they don’t. Seriously, if you’re even halfway competent–which actually, Ellie is!–that’s plenty. For service, anyway.

      1. Chibi.. thats pretty accrate. But I am playing this as Ellie being a big fish in a small pond with O’jacks. But now she’s applying for a position taken a bit more seriously.

      2. From what little I know, and mostly as hearsay from friends who have worked at restaurants like Appleberry’s… it depends on the chain. Some make a lot fresh, some reheat already-complete meals, but most are somewhere in between (some parts of the meal were shipped frozen in bags, like sauces, but other parts are cooked fresh and combined). I don’t know how Appleberry’s does it (only Rusche knows that, I bet), but I was going with the least flattering assumption to help make my point.

        Though I do have a memory of a friend ordering a medium rare steak at an Appleberry’s-like place and being told they were out of medium rare steaks. Which is freaking sad.

        1. A person would have to be pretty desperate for meat to spend good money on a re-heated steak. Or crazy, if there are alternative restaurants available.

        2. An ex who had family that owned some form of restaurant (I think a cut above Appleberry’s, but not sure as it was several time zones away and we didn’t date long enough for me to make it out there) would never order steaks above medium rare. Her rationale was that medium and up could sit on the grill for a lot longer but medium rare or rare pretty much needed to be put on when ordered.

          No clue if she was right or not, and I can’t take my steak at less cooked than medium, but she seemed to believe it fairly strongly.

    2. Places like don’t server Rare steaks, for liability reasons. Basically their meats too sketch to not heat to at least 140 degrees.

  4. I cringed through most of this because it was too realistic for me. Hahahaha. Man, I hate job interviews…..

    however, on a pleasantly surprised note, the lady seems much more reasonable and nice than I originally thought. mmhmmm

    1. I admit to figuring the same thing; she’d get one look at the Valley of the Shadow of Boob and immediately turn Fifth Grade Quinn on her.

      1. Ditto. I thought we were being set up for the lady to take a drastic dislike to Ellie due to her biblical proportions. Instead, she treated her like anyone else.

        Which almost makes it worse for Ellie. If the manager had disliked her for a superficial reason, it’d be easier to brush. Getting turned down based on actual qualifications is a much bigger blow to the confidence.

        1. I was happy to see that tired was not foreshadowing for hateful.

          Also, it’s good business sense to avoid pissing random people off in service industry. You never know when something like that can come back and bite you.

        2. Or the grocery store you shop at (I liked the butt paste PA question for Quinn at Ellie’s first job), or the place you buy your clothes, or getting hired as a temp office worker for a central office for the chain (a Maria Bamford skit where she mentions getting fired as a temp and her manager saying she’d never work for the company again and her saying she’d already been fired by the company seven times and she’d call him from accounting next week comes to mind), or government functionary with the power to make you wait or jump through extra hoops for no reason with no repurcussions, or billing with the local electric company,…

          Though the idea in my mind with the comment was as much around what I’d think Morgan would presume about Ellie’s dating life, how many guys she could get to start avoiding the place, or worse dating the owner’s son and directly making things difficult.

  5. Well, Ellie is bright enough to button up her shirt for this interview at least.

    Honestly, turning Ellie down as a waitress is insane. Ellies got the good looks, decent memory, and great personality to do well at a job like that. Though she’ll be lucky to be turned down there, because being a food server sucks ass. Even if she gets a lot of tips for having great boobs, she’ll also have to put up with getting sexually harassed, having to be nice to the bratty kids, and sometimes getting shitty/no tips from assholes.

    Better she gets turned down here and finds a job that entitles her to a bit more self respect.

    1. It’s not clear that waitress isn’t entry level to me, and she says Ellie could start at entry level. I suppose bussing tables and/or being hostess is below waitressing, but waitressing still seems fairly entry level. It’s plausible that she might not have any open waitress (or hostess or cleanup) slots at the moment. While some Appleberry’s-similar restaurants I’ve been to have constant turnover, others I’ve seen have 95% the same people for over a year.

    1. Hah, ya I don’t buy it either. My sister used to waitress at “Appleberrys” when she was younger and she was just as qualified as Ellie is.

    2. The manager already said it. It’s up to each owner/operator/franchise what experience level they want when they take on new employees. Morgan is saying Ellie can get back into management through waitressing, but she doesn’t even have experience with that. So that would be another set back for her.
      Manager? Atleast 5 years as a General Manager in fast food.
      Waitress? Need prior experience.

      It’s true there are plenty of restaurants like Applebees that will train new waiters and waitresses from scratch, but this restaurant obviously does not.

      1. I also wonder if some of it is how Ellie sold herself. I know a lot of people who are more skilled than either a) they realize or b) they are able to explain. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ellie were underselling herself because she’s talking about things the way she thinks about them, rather than the way a prospective manager wants to her.

        1. Indeed. It looks like Ellie’s brand self-aware humor is not being appreciated by this potential employer.

          She needs to learn to not be so honest and to trump up her own accomplishments & qualities.

      2. I’m going to assume this manager has a plethora of applications with better qualifications, and/or doesn’t like the way Ellie is selling herself.

      3. I tried jumping from fast food to Applebees at one point and it was a nogo due to lack of experience. They had just hired a friend of mine who had pretty much the exact same experience I did so I never quite figured that out. A cynical man would think it was because she was a hot redhead.

  6. Morgan: “I’m sorry that we don’t have any positions open for you. But I’d like to talk more with that button of yours. Clearly a strong performer with a never quit attitude!”

    1. I don’t think she’d consider it believable that the button has much experience dealing with that kind of pressure. I certainly don’t. I mean, if I’ve ever seen a worker just about to snap under the strain, it’s that button.

  7. Does nobody else have one of those cloud things? Or is Ellie just the only one to bring hers around everywhere? Or is that just a metaphor for where she’s got her head?

    1. Perhaps she’s the only working-poor stiff to be suckered into buying one just yet.

      If she hangs out with more i-Whatever snobs, we might encounter more.

  8. The more I think about it, the more I think a floating avatar running on self-confidence and reflecting your current mood is a REALLY dumb thing to take with you on an interview.

  9. Personally it looks like she’s treated alright, the woman is realistic and does’t seem to be as condesending as Quinn is against Ellie.
    And indeed, the Cloud falling is a nice touch, altrough i more thought he would fade away or be solar-powered somehow.
    I mean, putting batteries in a cloud? how do u even do that??

  10. Right, pet peeve of mine. “Entry level” requiring experience… is idiotic. You want people with experience, but heaven forbid you take the time to make that experience happen – and you’re going to pay like they don’t have any experience, because its entry level. Look, I’ve been on both sides of this, and I know how this translates: We want everything, so you’re going to end up with nothing.

    1. Personally I think it should be illegal to require experience for a position that pays minimum wage. If employers want experience they should pay for it.

      1. I’m strongly against more laws limiting employer freedom.

        Yes, it sucks there are choosy managers hiring, but that is a luxury to such managers when there are a lot of applicants to choose from (which I am assuming is happening here).

        There are managers who like to hire those they can mold, and have less experience in that specific field. There was a very successful local restaurant owner in my area who liked to do that with his waiters, and especially his bartenders.

        Employers will pay more for experience if it is a field with less competing applicants, which is cultivated when there is an increased degree of freedom in the market (allowing increased competition and thus eating up potential applicants), which is greatly encouraged with less regulation & lower taxes. Market forces win out.

        More laws means less money to hire as there are more taxes (you need to pay for the enforcement of those laws).

        Besides, if Ellie decides to open her own business down the road, do we want her weighed down by laws passed to curb past managers who didn’t jump all over her in her early days?

        1. I think Anonymously is just throwing around “in a perfect world” senarios. Theres no way something like this could truely be regulated without substancial headache to everyone. I wish all employers would prorate pay based on experience… but I certainly don’t expect it to be genuinely ILLEGAL.

        2. I never really intended a legal debate here, more that I’m saying that the best way to get something that works for you, especially in an employee, is look for qualities that you can’t teach, but want. Everything else falls in line. I’ve been on the hiring side of this equation – always on time, never calls off? I can not teach that. I can train speed, skill, even attitude, especially in the presence of the things I can’t teach an employee, so it generally bothers me to hear “entry level” in the same breathe as “We need you to have more experience.”

        3. Ellie’s applying for manager, not waitress. I didn’t get from the comic that waitress was requiring work experience, though I saw Rusche mentioned it in a comment as intended, I saw that statement as waitress experience would possibly tip her evaluation to require less management experience, and she did say that Ellie would be fine for entry level positions but that she didn’t have anything open for Ellie (I guess waitress isn’t considered entry level, though it’s unclear if there are open waitress positions or not).

          Realistically in this situation, though, insufficient experience could also be “politically-correct and you-can’t-sue-me-for-discrimination” code for “I don’t want to hire you.” From the hiring and interviewing side I’ve heard many employers repeatedly talk about all the things you can’t ask because asking opens up a discrimination lawsuit possibility. The one that amuses me the most is I’ve had jobs with legal requirements that the workers be U.S. persons for the purposes of export law (the things that still require sign of by the State Department are a bit weird and outdated last I checked), and for those sorts of positions they always said you couldn’t ask if a person was a U.S. person but you could state that it was required for continued employment (apparently refusing to hire would get you sued but hiring and then firing within the first week wouldn’t). Legal consequences are just weird sometimes.

          While I like Ellie from reading this whole comic, if I were in Morgan’s shoes, I’d see a hot 19-year-old girl walking in wanting to be a manager with a work history that has no attempt at post-secondary education, a long delay after high school before starting any kind of employment, and quickly getting to be a manager at a fast food place. I’d be somewhat leery of her intentions and if any kind of statements about being ok starting at entry level (which Ellie hasn’t actually made yet) would be truthful or if she’d end up poisoning morale or scheming. We the readers know Ellie was learning to actually work and be productive and would probably be a good enough employee that the positives of hiring her would outweigh the negatives, but Morgan doesn’t. Also Ellie should’ve left the shirt as-is and just pretended not to notice. The attempted button/cover does kinda’ communicate that she meant to try to get the job on her cleavage and is trying to cover that up finding that a woman is interviewing her, which is also an attitude that an employer can have a legitimate problem with and isn’t going to be helpful in the trust department for how she got her previous promotion.

          On the other hand, if she had walked in trying to be a waitress and was told she was insufficiently qualified then I’d agree with you, but I’ve also seen a lot of employers who don’t look at it your way. I tend to consider your view to be the view of a better manager, because if you’ve been able to teach an employee something, that means you’ve had them stay around instead of leave as soon as any opportunity presented itself. Positions that can’t keep employees in them long enough to make the training worth it breed managers who require people that can hit the ground running, even for entry level jobs.

        4. In a true free market economy with the bare minimum of regulation and the bare minimum of taxation, all that happens is you end up with a bunch of monopolies defeating the entire purpose of the free market to begin with. They end up controlling the government with money to create a world that benefits them. The free market doesn’t give a monkey’s crotch for the individual, and thus socialistic tendencies must be pursued in small degrees to protect individuals. This can manifest in private unions or simply laws protecting individuals. The fact that you have a lot of companies demanding experience for entry-level jobs that pay minimum wage should be considered an injustice to the individual, and quite frankly, I don’t really care about businesses, big or small, that employ such practices, because to begin with they were neither good nor bad when taken individually. Yes, the free market is good as a whole, but it needs to be limited or you get truly horrific outcomes, just like one need limit the individual or we end up in an anarchist state. Yes, businesses help the economy to a grand degree, but that doesn’t mean they’re these paragons of good that should be forgiven if they do something wrong every now and then. They really only care about money, and as they should.

          Needing experience to be a courtesy clerk makes no sense whatsoever. Needing experience for waiting is something I could see being valid. But there are plenty of employers out there whose entire purpose for rejecting applicants for extremely idiot-proof jobs (like being a bagboy, to use the above example) in the name of needing experience is to decrease the amount they pay out that month and thus make it seem like their profits are bigger. It makes them look good and justifies them keeping their job. It’s a heartless decision for the sake of money. I bear no allegiance to any business that makes heartless decisions like those. Freedom doesn’t just mean the right to do good; it’s the right to do bad as well.

          As Rusche said, however, it seems like an impossible task to complete. However, living somewhere where it literally takes years to find a minimum wage job and get hired with no prior experience, an argument about the free market being inherently good doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence.

        5. I agree the grandparent’s initial statement is way too sweeping, but attempting to make a law for something like this is a bad idea because it’s too easy to game, which makes it ineffective for stopping deliberate bad actors but possibly a problem for people acting in good faith.

          Two easy methods for gaming come to mind for me, from personal experience no less. My first job (as a bagger at a chain grocery store) started at five cents over minimum wage (due to the union I was forced to join which had weekly dues in the $4 range so even during the summer the extra nickel never covered that). Second was a place I worked in 2005 that “hired” me as an independent contractor so they had no requirement for paying benefits, payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, etc. I got to claim my mileage to drive to work on my taxes, and several other things too, but it was a lot less than the payroll taxes I had to pay myself. In theory they would’ve hired me full time at some point, but by that point I realized I didn’t want to work there. Both of those would sidestep a law about minimum wage employees, and I’m sure people would come up with more methods if there was a financial incentive to do so.

          The law is a blunt instrument and is hideously unsuited to solving certain problems (much like a 3′ crowbar is unsuited to heart surgery). I will agree that in a perfect world there would be no such thing as experience required for minimum wage positions, but in a perfect world there’d be no such thing as a legally mandated minimum wage, either.

        6. There are ways to enforce laws that force businesses to act a certain way, but it all generally falls under “You need to make it worth their while”. They shouldn’t necessarily be punished for their actions, but it would both be politically beneficial to one who tries to ‘stand up for the little guy’ and very effective if big businesses see that they’ll benefit from it through tax breaks or loosening certain other regulations that they see as a much bigger detriment. It even helps businesses if they pay their employees more as it helps their publicity. Either training an employee to justify paying them minimum wage to start or paying them an amount that will ultimately make training them a more attractive option will result in them looking good as a whole, and alleviate some of the sense of helplessness a lot of unemployed people feel nowadays after being rejected several times. The issue is whether politicians would actually do this; and no, they wouldn’t, because this is a more complex solution than “raise minimum wage” or “raise taxes” or “lower taxes”, even if it would be more effective and politically beneficial. Politicians prefer simple solutions and when something complex comes along they need to vote on they prefer to simplify it (or lie about it; “If you like your insurance, you can keep it!”) to their constituents. There’s no sense of subtlety in their actions.

        7. I’ve certainly seen examples of that, though not through legislative action (I’ve seen that with some of the way my employer and several others in my area have slashed various benefits this calendar year, everything they could manage without causing too much of an external PR issue, just a higher attrition rate).

          Most examples I can think of for “giving them something else in return for good behavior” have seemed to make things worse. The use of H1B’s in the tech world comes to mind here. The original idea was good, that we might need more expertise than we have locally and to assist with that. What it’s turned into is jobs posted with unreasonably large lists of requirements and way too low a salary for those in order to use it as evidence that “local talent doesn’t exist” and some places putting significant pressure on the H1B workers, since they’ve got a very short period to find another job or get shipped back immediately. Since you mentioned Obamacare, one of the few things I trust that I’ve heard about it (from my Aunt who does financials for a few municipal organizations and was mentioning how it impacts them) is that it levies a tax on employers for the employees they cover (not clear if the family members too or not). There’s the publicized penalties for failing to offer a qualifying plan (next year), but when you combine that with the tax on covered people, you get what everyone I’ve talked to this year has seen, a larger than normal increase in health coverage costs (pretending the year over year increases for the past decade have been normal), as employers now have the incentive to offer as barebones of a plan as will avoid the penalty and push employees to get insurance on their own through the exchanges.

          On top of that, you also have to worry about the precedent set. For example, in Ohio any property owner may post a sign restricting concealed carry, and it’s trespassing for a private citizen with a CCW to carry on that property. While I dislike that (and consider it outright dangerous in some areas), I’d dislike the intrusion into property owner rights that disallowing it would be. Precedents matter, too. If you’re on the opposite side of the CCW issue, a federal court forced Illinois to draft a CCW law and part of the judge’s opinion cited that all other states had a CCW law on the books as an important factor in ruling against them. Additionally, the Supreme Court ruling which forces police officers to get a warrant to tap a telephone line was based on a microphone on a telephone booth and that a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy in a telephone booth.

          In summary, I can’t see any way to address something like this via a law or regulation (even with a theoretically ideal legislature) that wouldn’t introduce a greater risk. This sort of issue is better addressed bottom-up with boycotts and written complaints by consumers (verbal complaints are almost always ignored past a gift card or something to get you to shut up, but sometimes the fact that someone bothered to go home and write it down after leaving makes a company take pause, especially if they get a lot of them).

      2. That level of experience is required to maintain the standards of the dining experience on a level equal to that of the expected ambiance.

      1. Thanks. I’ve only ever heard “call in sick”, not “call out sick”. Like “in line” vs. NY’s “on line”.

  11. Oi, I know this feeling all too well. Got turned down for a deli job because I didn’t have enough deli experience. Fast food, general cooking and such don’t cut it in the deli industry. :/

    Nothing like being turned away from a job like this because you don’t have the experience they need. Hurts, right in the self worth.

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