The first time I met Belal, I was struck by his facile and mild-mannered disposition. He has an inquisitive way of looking at people and assessing situations that can only be the mark of intelligence. We began exchanging pleasantries several months ago, when I’d make the short walk from my apartment to the gas station next door. I’d plop my Andy Capp’s hot fries, Reese cups and 2 cans of Coke on the counter and Belal and I would chat about the weather.
My diet has since improved, but Belal is still working second shift.
I asked him to send me his resume.
Before I give you the details of his professional experience, let me say that I too have been mal-employed. Sometimes fate and circumstance (and yes, poor decisions) puts you in positions for which you are grossly overqualified and you have no recourse but to cobble together work in drips and drabs because you’ve got your pride or a family and because there is really no other alternative.
Belal holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Communications and Journalism from the University of Dhaka, in Bangladesh. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in New York City, as a customer service professional in a call center environment and as an assistant branch manager of a bank. He possesses extensive technical/computer skills. In addition to his full-time position as a cashier, he works part time at Michael’s craft store.
I have seen first-hand this week how random acts of kindness can be disarming to people. Yesterday, when I brought Belal two copies of his resume that I’d re-written for him, I saw that hallmark look of incredulity on his face. Beyond that, I could see that he sees I am someone he can trust.
Belal speaks with an accent and comes from a land where my only frame of reference is Darjeeling tea. To some extent, he is at a cultural disadvantage. But he is intelligent, well-spoken and obviously a hard worker.
The guy needs a break.
I’m just trying to help him catch one.