Have you seen that guy in a suit holding a sign at 30th Street Station? He’s 36-year-old Robert Crozier of Levittown and he needs a job.
He needs it so bad that he’s spent four days this month hanging around the train station from 6:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., armed with resumes and his trusty sign, approaching bustling folks with a smile and his story.
He owes $62,000 in student loans while trying to provide for his wife, 5-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son.
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After more than 30 unsuccessful school counselor interviews, the desperate substitute teacher with a master’s in counseling psychology from Holy Family University thought outside the classroom.
And his strategy seems to be working. CEOs, recruiters, and curious passers-by have given him business cards, resume advice, and follow-up emails.
How did you come up with this plan?
Crozier: “Two years ago after being frustrated with so many interviews yet no permanent positions, I talked to my wife about doing something different to get noticed. I thought about wearing a suit and holding a sign at busy public location, but never acted on it because I wasn’t sure where to stand in the city. Maybe City Hall? But about a month ago I scrolled through my newsfeed and read about a marketing grad who did the same thing, only at a train station in London. And it worked for him.”
What did your wife think?
Crozier: “She took it with a grain of salt. But I don’t think she ever doubted me. The morning I left, she said she was proud of me.”
What did you expect that first day?
Crozier: “I didn’t anticipate a reception. I didn’t care. I was going out there to meet people. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much the public cares. I’ve received unsolicited emails and Facebook messages and lots of ‘good lucks.’”
Do your students know about your off-the-clock gimmick?
Crozier: “Yeah, I subbed in the Bensalem school district and a couple teachers came up to me about it. A couple students recognized me, too. It’s like the local celebrity kind of thing, but I don’t care about that. I’m just grateful for the publicity.
What makes you different from all of the other people in Philly holding up signs?
Crozier: “I’m not asking for anything. I’m not asking for money. I’m ready to interview on the spot. I’m out of traffic. I greet commuters — I don’t try to sell them anything. I’m just asking for an opportunity to earn my way.”
Looking for work
As of December 2014, unemployment in Philly is at 6.6 percent and statewide at 5.2 percent -- the lowest since 2008.
Nationwide, unemployment is at 5.6 percent.
However, some analysts say the numbers don't tell all - because some long-term unemployed give up looking and leave the labor force, while others are "underemployed" at part-time jobs.