Thursday, December 9, 2010


In my old wireless retail days, I spent a few months working in the deep suburbs of Chicago. I was 25. I worked with the usual retail collection of young kids like myself, lifers that had obtained middle management positions, and guys in their 30s that were positioned to move up in the company. Then there was Scott. At most every retail spot, there’s a Scott. I really should change his name for the purposes of this blog, but I don’t keep up with anybody from those days, so I know there’s no way this could get back to him.

Scott was old. In reality, he was probably in his 40s, but the years had not been kind to him. He looked 60 at least, was divorced, maybe even never married, bald, fat, had white hair, and was an affable fellow though quite territorial about his sales. Scott had worked at the store for a year or two. His sales competition, as mentioned, were kids in their 20s, up and comers, and vets that knew the ropes. Scott was a key holder, meaning he could open or close the store without a manager as he had his own key. It was clear that this was the highest Scott would ever rise in the company. In the 6 months I worked with him, I went from working below him to working at the same pay grade to being promoted higher than him. When I was promoted, I also moved on to greener pastures, to the shallow El-connected suburbs. Some time after that, I caught wind that Scott was fired. I can’t say I was surprised.

I liked Scott. I could talk to him about Led Zeppelin and titty bars. Scott was an expert in both fields. Scott taught me some of the ropes of Sprint, and I got Scott more than a few sales (as I wasn’t a salesman at first, I acted as a point guard of sorts).

In a lot of ways, Scott, or the Scott archetype at a million other shitty jobs that I’ve worked, is a major reason that I write this blog. He’s the reason I’m in Korea. Scott is also the reason I can’t get to sleep at night.

Scott scares me to death. Maybe worse. I think I’d rather be hit by a truck in 10 years then to become Scott in 20.

Working at a shitty retail job with a bunch of dumbass 22-year-olds when I’m 48 or 55 or 61 or whatever is pretty much the worst thing I could imagine. It would be all the worse if I, like Scott, end up going home every night to an empty apartment on a boring side of town every night to sit and watch cable while drinking cheap Gin. Scott was a photographer on the side as well, but if I knew Scott at all, I’m certain he never made it.

The world is full of Scotts. Shockingly, even the Korean ESL scene has its share. I hope I never join the club. I think I’d prefer getting gunned down by Kim Jong Il. As I’ve already established that as a near impossibility, it looks like I’m going to have to win some other way.

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