By John Richcreek
With the forthcoming rebuilding of the interstate roads system, the following story recaps what an employment interview might sound like between a Generation Z applicant (Gen-Z) and a middle-aged superintendent interstate road projects supervisor standing outside of the onsite trailer office.
Gen-Z: Afternoon, man. Wow! Long drive up here. Do you know if they is hiring?
SIR: Well, we’re in the upper end of New York state, so it could be a long drive, and in this case, for right now, “they” is “me” and I’m hiring, but this is a Saturday, and the office is closed on weekends.
Gen-Z: Oh man, the employment office was supposed to send my résumé out here last Wednesday.
SIR: Hold on now. Thursday, the office clerk said somebody named Fernandez was applying.
Gen-Z: That’s me. Rodrigo Fernandez from New York City. Everybody calls me Ron.
SIR: Well now, are you an American citizen? I can only hire Americans for these road projects.
Gen-Z: That’s cool. I’m NYC born, and here is my ID card with my SS number and everything.
SIR: Well, that’s fine. How old are you? You look big and healthy enough for this road work.
Gen-Z: I’ll be 25 years old come next July, and I’m the oldest of six in a single-parent family, and Mom is adopting another one as soon as I’m gone to keep up her government allotment.
SIR: Wow! What’s your job experience? Done any military service?
Gen-Z: No jobs or military because I’ve been a student, and now with my degree, I’m ready for employment now. Can’t wait to drive one of those big yellow things doing this road work.
SIR: Well, for these road jobs, you’ll need a union membership, and they start newbies with four or five years of shovel work before you can qualify to drive those big yellow machines. Anyway, these starting jobs don’t require a college degree, but what was your major?
Gen-Z: Animal husbandry and I’ve got an impressive diploma for my future office wall.
SIR: So you had some farm background in your younger days?
Gen-Z: Oh no, but it sounded neat, and the subjects of cattle growing seemed easy — feed and water.
SIR: Well, I suspect there was a bit more to it than that. Was this college located near your home?
Gen-Z: No, it’s a government-approved online college, and all the courses are zoomed right to your home, and the lessons followed subject books that were provided with enrollment.
SIR: Amazing! But you missed all the normal college experiences — roommates and so forth.
Gen-Z: Oh no, ‘cause we were together in our chat rooms with constant contact with the instructors and classmates and scheduled hours each day, just like being in high school.
SIR: Unbelievable! No student debts hanging around your future income.
Gen-Z: Well, just between us, I got a ton of government student loans, which Mom banked for me.
SIR: This is very interesting to me as I’ve heard rumors of such things.
Gen-Z: Mom says the president said we don’t have to pay the money back, so I bought a new car.
SIR: I noticed. Looks like one of these new EV models I’ve heard so much about.
Gen-Z: The latest one and I think it needs more electricity for my return, so can I plug in your office?
SIR: This onsite trailer office is all battery-powered since it’s moved often as the work progresses.
Gen-Z: Oh man! I’m stuck out here. What am I supposed to do now?
SIR: Well, you can use that gizmo in your coat pocket and call AAA for a tow on I-87, Mile Marker 288 or ride with me at 4:00 into the nearest town where I’m rooming and then see about local help or check the bus or train schedules for NYC service.
Gen-Z: I don’t know about this here AAA stuff.
SIR: Well, the AAA club offers roadside assistance, which your car dealer should have told you about.
Gen-Z: So I’m stuck out here if there is no help in this small town?
SIR: I’m sure things will work out, and maybe I’ll see you again some morning at 6:30 a.m. with a workman’s full lunch bucket, proper clothes, hat and work shoes ready for the daily 12-hour shift with a shovel to which a crew foreman will provide instructions — and very soon, we go to the summertime schedule and working seven days a week, meaning there will be some great paychecks for you.
Gen-Z: So what’s my best shot for working here?
SIR: Well, the first step is to get your union card so then I can hire you, and as a piece of advice, if they should see your EV, say it was borrowed from Mom for this trip, but you will be getting a good diesel-powered, American-made pickup truck as soon as your new paychecks arrive.
John Richcreek is a resident of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected]