On keeping your soul or your job.

Dear Coquette,

I recently graduated, moved to a new city, and in the interest of, you know, surviving, got a part-time retail job. The problem with this job is that it’s a company that really pushes their credit cards on people. All the managers talk about is how many cards we’ve hoodwinked people into signing up for that day. Also, they keep track of how many cards each employee gets and reward or punish employees based on those numbers. (Punishments range from extra early-morning training in how to sell the card to simply cutting hours to almost nothing.)

I think store credit cards are irresponsible and idiotic. I have never felt more slimy than the day a woman who didn’t speak much English came into the store and asked for a “membership.” I told her it was a credit card, she looked at me like she didn’t understand what I was talking about, and asked me again to sign her up for one. But I need the job and I need the money, so I find myself selling these cards to people and hating myself for doing it.

So my question is this: How do I keep my soul AND my job? How do I stay true to myself and get the managers off my back at the same time? 

Dude, you could’ve just said you work at Best Buy. It’s no secret how those jerks operate. You’re employed by a blue-shirted boiler room that makes its profit hawking predatory in-store credit and useless extended warranties. It’s ugly, but it’s also pretty low on the list of modern corporate sins, and since it’s all perfectly legal, ultimately there’s nothing you can do about it.

Listen, kid. You’re not mining coal. You’re not picking crops. Hell, you’re not even flipping burgers. You’re standing around in an air-conditioned room all day with your thumb up your butt. Your job is to wear a name tag and up-sell the customers. No one cares if you stay true to yourself. If you don’t like it, you’ve always got a choice.

That’s the point, really. If you ever find yourself asking how to keep your soul and your job, just know that it’s ultimately going to come down to keeping your soul or your job.

Remember, nobody is forcing you to work at Best Buy. If your soul is too delicate to push credit cards onto idiots who still don’t know any better, then start looking for another gig during your half-hour lunch break.

I hope you find something better. Really, I do. It’s rough out there right now, but I respect your underlying integrity.

Best of luck.


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