I was at the local Barnes & Noble last week, and they had a sign advertising for a part-time seasonal position in receiving. I was thinking it would be the perfect job for me -- I have some prior receiving experience, I'd love to work with books, it wouldn't be a long-term commitment, and I wouldn't have to deal much with other people -- so I took an application.
By the time I got home, however, I had pretty much talked myself out of it. The obvious reason would be that I could make as much money doing three or four billable hours a week of writing as I would make working 20-25 hours at B&N (it's evidence of my lack of enthusiasm for copywriting that I would consider a minimum wage job instead, but that's an issue for another blog post). To the folks at B&N, the obvious reason would be that my relevant experience is nearly two decades old -- from while I was in college, for goodness' sake. Besides, the rest of my job application wouldn't look much better. Aside from working a few events for Clif Bar a few summers ago, I haven't been employed by someone other than myself in 15 years. I can't think of a single person to list as a reference. My only chance would be if B&N has a soft spot for writers (not entirely implausible).
But what really got me was this: The job market sucks. Realistically, unemployment is pushing 20% when one includes the underemployed and those who have given up on finding work. I'd like to work for a couple of months just to make some extra cash and have something to do. But if I somehow got that job at B&N, I might be taking it away from someone desperate to feed a family, pay a mortgage, etc. I might even feel guilty if I got hired. Oh well, I suppose I didn't really want to work anyway.