Monday, February 14, 2011

Freewheelin' In The Bronx 1971 (xx)

By the Spring of 1971, if you had a B.A. you were only allowed to utilize the Professional Placement division of the New York State Employment Agency, and no longer could also register with the Clerical Office Worker Placement division that was supposed to help high school graduates find non-professional clerical office jobs. But when I dressed up and visited the Professional Placement division of the New York State Employment Agency and spoke with the grumpy, short guy with glasses in his late 50s who was supposed to help job applicants find professional jobs, the only advice he gave me was to “apply for a Civil Service job and register for a Civil Service test”—after reprimanding me for not already having taken a Civil Service test for a professional city, state or federal government job when I had been previously working at my Writers Guild office boy job.

Of course, the problem with his advice was that even if I now took a Civil Service exam and thus became eligible for some kind of government job for college graduates, by the time the government bureaucracy would get around to hiring me months later in 1971 I would probably by then have already either starved to death or been evicted from my Bronx apartment—since I lacked any savings by mid-May 1971 and I couldn’t afford to wait months for a Civil Service job offer to come my way. So if a job applicant needed money right away in the short run, it was really useless advice for the New York State Employment Agency placement counselor to just say to an economically desperate New York City job applicant: “Take a Civil Service exam!”