Employers want people who are going to show up for their shift, that’s a given. There are also jobs that absolutely require a clean driving record and a car as a function of the actual job. Unless you work for the distribution center, Taco Bell should not be one of those jobs.
This is something that shows in up in a lot of mainstream job ads. If it’s not in the ad itself, then it definitely comes up during the interview. “How are you planning to get here if you don’t have a car?” “What if it snows/rains/floods/water turns to blood? How do you know you’ll get here on time?”
These would be reasonable questions if you were applying for a job at a location in the next town, or it a truck stop location. I even recognize that there are places where it is literally impossible to get anywhere without a car, such as small rural towns that have just enough people living there to not qualify as the setting for a horror movie. But this Taco Bell in question is located on Highland Avenue in Salem, which is a short uphill walk from the town itself. Yes it’s very busy, as it’s located in a busy retail park just a few miles from the border to Lynn. There is also the problem of what happens when we get heavy snowfall; namely, that the snow gets piled onto the sidewalk turning the narrow stretch of road that people might alternatively walk along into a death trap.
We didn’t even have car in our household until late in my high school years. Do you know what clever trick I did to be able to get to work on time during nasty weather conditions? I left the house earlier. David Blaine’s agents can feel free to call me anytime. And I’ve navigated some the nastiest streets in the worst weather imaginable because I lived in Vermont. A state where pedestrians are the subject of bedtime stories that parents tell their kids to scare them into falling asleep earlier.
Also, I’ve never taken a job that I couldn’t get to in a reasonable amount of time. This was a lesson I learned way back when I tried to apply for a job at a bookstore a few towns from where I lived at the time. They didn’t want to hire me because, although the interview was fantastic, the bus system was my only mode of transportation and they knew how unreliable that was. Again, this is an understandable reason not to hire someone, because there was a clear reason outside of my not being able to drive that would have prevented me from getting to work on time.
The main motivation behind “Must have car or else” is the false assumption that people with a car and a drivers’ license are a hundred times more reliable than people without one. Right, because you’ve never heard someone make the excuse, “traffic was bad”, or, “the conditions were so bad on the road today that I almost ran over the poor guy who was walking to work.” I have known plenty of people who owned cars and were able to drive, who have a history of not showing up to work on time. I on the other hand, have never been late to work as a result of having to walk. Maybe that will be the case someday, but it hasn’t been in the last twelve years.
That’s not to say that I wouldn’t drive if I were able to. The very first time I tried to take my permit test, I failed and I have not gone back since. Someone recently told me that “It’s all on computers now”, which has precisely jack shit to do with whether or not I will pass the test. I am capable of learning something if someone else is guiding the education. But whenever I try to teach myself something inevitably I will fuck it up, because I am not sure what is the important thing to focus on and what will they actually expect you to know. And the things I can teach myself usually have very simple instructions that can be explained easily.
Hell, if I could teach myself anything without any kind of outside assistance, the title of this blog would definitely not be Confessions of a Cart Jockey. My life would be a hell of a lot less complicated and I would be making a living doing something I loved as opposed to something I need to survive financially.
After the testing, there’s my biggest fear: the idea that I could hurt someone. You can’t deny it doesn’t happen. The wrong person driving can become deadly and the idea that idea that one wrong move on my part could cause someone to get hurt, is crippling. This a fear I cannot overcome.
Everyone has a fear they can’t overcome. Some are simple others aren’t. You can call it an excuse if you want to. You can also keep it to yourself, or fuck off. Not being able to drive does create problems and probably will go on to create more of them, especially if my career in comedy ever takes off in any kind of positive direction. This a challenge I am ready to try to work around. But that does not mean that learning to drive will immediately solve all of my problems either.