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"Advice" for landing a job

Years ago, I read an interview with Jay Leno in some car magazine. I forget which one. Anyways, the interviewer asked Leno if he had any advice for people trying to get a job.

Leno’s specific advice was for trying to land a job detailing and/or washing cars . . . at a car dealership, I believe. He said the guy should just show up unannounced and start doing the job. In other words, just go there and start washing and detailing cars. When the manager or owner asked what you were doing, you were supposed to say something along these lines . . . “I thought I’d do the job until you hire me.”

What would happen if somebody actually tried this?

I can imagine the manager might call the local police and have you hauled off.

Have any of you guys landed a job using this tactic, or some other unusual one?

I can’t see that happening due to liability concerns. At a dealer where I once worked, 2 washroom guys got to horsing around with long screwdrivers. One screwdriver slipped, hit one of the guys in the temple, and down he went; DOA.

No unusual hire stories for me although a few exits were less than diplomatic. :wink:

Nope but I had one lady bring the book “How to Interview for a Job”, to the interview. She didn’t even hide it. Kinda blew the test for professional judgement, I thought.

Woody Allen is quoted as saying that 80% of life is showing up. Whatever you think of Woody Allen, there’s much wisdom in that saying. Much of the good that happens in life is because we happened to show up somewhere at the right time…at a job interview, at a party where we met our future wife, etc.

So I’m a big believer in just showing up somewhere and seeing where it leads. I’ve never just walked into a business and started working uninvited…like Kramer on Seinfeld who went to work at an investment bank even though he didn’t actually have a job there.

But once in my younger days when I was interested in architecture and needed some temp office work, I took the local yellow pages and started calling every architect in alphabetical order, offering my services and asking if they needed any office help. After about 25 calls someone said yes, we actually do need some help, and the job worked out well and led to bigger things. That taught me the value of being proactive and not just looking at help wanted ads.

So I agree with Leno’s advice up to a point…show up and ask if they need help…but don’t actually touch anything until the boss says yes.

And don’t carry a long screwdriver. I gotta remember that one. (Thanks to ok4450).

I applied for a mechanic job at a Honda Dealership back in like '96. No ad in the paper. I just walked in & asked to see the service manager. He came out & I asked him if they were hiring. He said no, but I could fill out an app. He also said he was pressed for time but he had a couple minutes to talk to me. He started off by telling me about the service department & what he expected out of the techs, etc. A couple times he would pause. I didn’t pick up on the fact that he was waiting for me to sell myself so I didn’t say anything.

Bad interview performance on my part. Of course I didn’t get hired there. After that I made sure I had my ducks in a row beforehand.

As far as Leno’s advice, that type of forwardness may work in auditioning for a role or position in show business but at say, a dealership, it would just make the existing employees jealous I would think.

@karl, if a workplace is shorthanded, everyone there has to pick up the slack. So if someone shows up and fills an empty slot and gets the work done and takes the extra workload off others, that is usually appreciated, not a cause for jealousy, at least in my experience.

I will miss Jay Leno. But, I would take his advice on landing a manual labor job with a grain of salt. Now, landing a job as a comedian…perhaps. He’s an expert on being funny, not giving general advice of this nature. There are other “experts” I would advise people listen to. Besides, all jobs are different. If you wanted a job as a plane mechanic, Do you think just working on someone’s plane without their permission will get it for you ?

Yeah I can see if you want to be a comedian and you were in a bar on a slow night and just got up on stage and entertained people, that might work. A lot of other places though you’d be arrested.

I’ll echo off @ok4450 here a little. My first year in the Air Force…we had a shop next door to our’s that used a lot of air tools. Two young guys went at each other with air hoses equipped with spray nozzles. They were “goosing” each other in the backside until one guy fell down screaming and the game came to an abrupt halt. I never payed too much attention to those “No Horseplay” signs until the guy that fell down…died in the hospital a couple of hours later from ruptured intestines. The guy that survived spent a lot of years in Leavenworth and has to live forever with the fact that he killed his best friend.

“I can imagine the manager might call the local police and have you hauled off.”

I agree.
A dealership has a huge amount of money “invested” in the cars sitting on their lot, and just the possibility of somebody damaging the paint by using some sort of unorthodox method, or some inappropriate product on those cars would probably be enough for the applicant to be chased off of the property very rapidly.

Jay Leno is a fairly funny guy, but I don’t think that he is the go-to guy for advice on blue-collar employment.

It’s like, going for marital advice from Johnny Carson’s joke writers. Just a slight disconnect. I think it’s a great topic/post @db4690 as it points out how we do get some of our opinions about important things in life.
I remember sitting in the teacher’s room when I worked listening to all the heavy people giving each other advice on how to loose weight. Or, listening to guys who can’t play a lick, give advice on how to play golf.

Jay Leno actually worked at a Mercedes garage in Massachusetts before his comedy career took off.
However, the world has changed. His advice worked during the era that he started in the work force. It no longer would. In today’s world, you’d likely get arrested.

I was fortunate enough to live in a time where if you didn’t like your job, you could go elsewhere. I remember a time when I could pick up the phone and have another job. Today, for anyone not well established in their field and even for many who are, jobs are few and far between. If you quit your job now, it may be a very long time (if ever) until you find another.


When the economy tanked a few years ago, I was still at the Benz dealer.

It hit them like a ton of bricks, and they called a meeting of all the blue collar employees . . . mechanics, porters, greeters, cashiers, low level secretaries, etc.

We were told that half of us would be let go by the end of the week. We were also told that we would individually be called in the manager’s office to learn our fate. I survived the downsizing.

When I think of it, I believe the ones that were cut were the mechanics with poor diagnostic skills, the 20 somethings with almost no experience under their belt, some guys in their late 50s and 60s who weren’t able to keep up with the ever changing technology.

I believe many of the 20 somethings were able to land jobs somewhere else, because they were “young and capable of learning.” However, I believe the more senior guys had a difficult time. The perception was that they’re “stuck in the old ways.” This wasn’t always the case.

The manager told us remaining guys that we all had to be on the same page, because anybody that wasn’t would get replaced with some unemployed eager-to-work mechanic. To emphasize his point, he showed us a thick stack of job applications.

So if i go to Leno’s garage and start washing his collection of cars…

…he would welcome you with open arms.


I was fortunate enough to live in a time where if you didn't like your job, you could go elsewhere.

It depends on your field. Currently the Software field is at near or record levels in the US. Pay is up 20-30% of what it was just 5 years ago. I’m looking to hire 2 people…and it’s EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.

During the last 2 years of the recession… had maybe 1-2 pages of Software Engineering jobs with the skill-set of people I’m looking to hire. Today there are over 50 pages (JUST IN THE BOSTON AREA). I’m looking to hire 2-3 people…and so are some 500 other companies are also. Luckily out turnover rate is low.

Mike, there’s no question that there are niche job markets with more openings than qualified applicants. But for the average young to middle-aged worker, unless he/she is well known in his/her field, it’s no longer possible to assume they’ll be able to find another job. Even colleges are no longer filling faculty positions with permanent faculty. Colleges are hiring only adjunct professors now. Even PhDs in physics and sciences can’t find full time permanent teaching positions. I know a number of them, brilliant people with PhDs, that are stuck in that spot. It was, needless to say, sometimes our topic of conversation at lunch or on breaks between classes.

In truth, young people today don’t take jobs under the assumption that they’ll be permanent. They assume they won’t be there, and perhaps the company won’t even be there, in another five years. That’s a dramatic cultural change from when I was a young man.

Depending on the job field, I could see how one might consider it a fleeting thing.

How many IT companies start up one day, then close their doors the next?

My uncle had a dilemma several years ago when he got laid off from a tech job. He was over qualified for some jobs he was looking at, and under qualified for others.
I faced something similar when I was going to school for computer networking. I looked online for jobs close to home, but every job I looked at was looking for someone with 4~7 years experience. How can I get experience if no one will hire me? After about a year’s worth of classes at a local tech college, I got fed up with looking and decided not to pursue that field any longer. That, and the fact that I was working 6am until 2:30pm mon-fri, class started at 6pm and ended at 9pm, but still had class work to do after class on tues. and thurs., it became a bit of an overload on me.

“Even colleges are no longer filling faculty positions with permanent faculty. Colleges are hiring only adjunct professors now”
@the_same_mountainbike–This is a big problem in higher education today. However, if one figures out how to become an administrator, one has a permanent position at a salary higher than most faculty members. When I began my teaching career at a mid-sized state university in 1965, my department was in a college with 22 other departments and administered by a dean and an assistant to the dean. When I retired in 2011, the college had been reduced to 20 departments as three of original 23 formed a new college. However, with fewer departments, the college had a dean, three associate deans, a business manager, an assistant business manager and a fund raiser. Of course, each administrator had to have secretary. Is it any wonder that the increase in tuition has far exceeded the rate of inflation? I remember a session 40 years ago when the institution thought that there might be a big drop in student enrollment. The provost was leading the session and said that there might be faculty lay-offs The provost was then asked if there would be a similar reduction in staff in the administration. “Oh, no”, he replied. “With the problems that would occur with a reduced student body, I see the need for more administrators to handle this situation”. Unfortunately, the provost was serious.

I remember trying to find a job when I was between my sophomore and junior year in high school. This was in 1957 and we were in the “Eisenhower” recession. At the same institution where I had a career as a professor, I went to the library seeking work. I thought I could reshelve books in the library. When I inquired about this work, I was told rather impolitely by a librarian that the library had college students available in the afternoon to shelve books. I left that office very discouraged and on the way out the door, I walked by a sign that said “Film Service”. Just as I was about to leave the building, I had a thought. If the college students were free in the afternoon to shelve books, that meant they were in classes in the morning. Someone had to operate the projector to show films in these classes. I turned around and went back to the film service and ten minutes later had a job.

I agree @"the same mountainbike"‌ that the job growth is doing better in some areas. But it’s FAR FAR FAR better then it was at the end of the recession. Service companies (Home Depot, Sears, Wallmart…etc) is hiring. But service jobs will NOT sustain our economy.

Manufacturing jobs are disappearing in the US…yet manufacturing goods is up. We are doing more with less people.

North Dakota is DESPERATE for jobs because of the oil boom. All types of jobs.

Our economy (aka Stock Market) is growing. But the job sector isn’t growing at the same pace. We use to measure our countries wealth by it’s job market. That’s been supplanted by how well the stock market is doing.

IT jobs like network management is almost gone. It use to be to setup a big network in a company you needed a bunch of network engineers. Now with sophisticated software and testing tools…that’s no longer the case. Most of the network is just plug and play. You may need 1-2 network specialists today that did the same job of 10 specialists just 5 years ago.

And the same can be said for software engineers. The software tools have really helped speed up development. We can do much more development with less people. However the market is going to keep pace.