I wish I had a better digital camera to help showcase what the experience of what looking for a job in this area truly is like. This town is a spider web-like nightmare outside the main dividing highway that runs straight through for an easy entrance or an easy exit, however, you see fit. We rest right off a newly finished section of interstate that promised a streamlined travel way to Memphis, Tennessee and many other things as well. When the people who helped build the interstate promote it as an escape route…
The main highway is littered with the expected usual occupation options, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Home Depot, and a smattering of almost every brand of gas station. At the bookends of the highway are a local home improvement style retailer that I honestly have no clue how they remain in business and on the other end the hospital and intersection that connects to the industrial section and aforementioned interstate.
I refer to the customer/guest services in the area as “R and R”, retail stores and restaurants. The population is fewer than 15,000 currently and we have 2 McDonald’s, 8 Mexican-style restaurants, 6 gas stations (5 of them located on the seven-mile stretch of highway that runs through town), and 21 churches. Until just recently, we had 2 Chick-fil-As. We do not have a bookstore, record store, movie theater, or even an Italian-style restaurant.
The newest businesses to town are only adding to the “R and R” collection. Their internal restructuring meant that they usually come into town with a management team already in place, they rarely offer full-time work and quickly established a revolving door hiring policy to make their way through their Grand Opening and Holiday seasons.
The town heavily relies on the instability of the coal industry and blue-collar families, like mine. Outside of the mines, the only other local industry includes one lumber mill, a plastics manufacturer, a semi-truck trailer producer, and 3 Japanese-owned automobile insulation plants.
Slim pickings, as they say. Within a town that doesn’t have many options for employment, I’ve decided to get creative. I will be focusing on my blog projects until I find something better. I am excited for the future of “Chapter Five” and all my other endeavors. I hope that it will showcase what matters to me and bring some perspective to subjects that I believe will benefit from doing so.
UPDATE! (5/31/2017): Shortly after publishing this post, I was informed that the local home improvement store mentioned in this post has, in fact, closed its doors permanently.