Sandwich-board job seeker gets a couple of bites

Joshua Berger's unorthodox job-hunting strategy of donning a sandwich-board sign listing his qualifications and handing out his resume on a busy street scored him a promising interview.

Berger, who in January was laid off from his job as an airplane engine mechanic, was invited to interview for a dispatcher position at the Veterans Affairs Domiciliary's police force.

"It's normally not the type of thing I would go for, but I appreciated the call," Berger said. "I plan on going out there Monday to interview."

Frustrated by the job pinch enveloping the country, Berger spent Wednesday afternoon advertising himself at the intersection of Crater Lake Highway and Delta Waters Road. The sign listed his work history and education — a physics degree from Southern Oregon University, a stint in the U.S. Marines and a job as an engine mechanic at the Jet Center — along with contact information.

"The calls I got were really positive," Berger said. "People called to wish me luck. It was nice also to get a couple of job leads."

Officials as the domiciliary's police department were impressed by Berger's initiative, said the agency's Operational Officer Andy Paperman.

"We have invited him to come out for an interview," Paperman said. "He will be looked at with other candidates."

Berger said he gladly would accept the dispatch job, even though the pay would be $15,000 less per year than his mechanic job.

"But I just need something so I can tell my bill collectors that I will have money soon," Berger said. "The dispatch job is $30,000 per year and would allow me to get by."

Berger said he is four months behind on his mortgage and fears foreclosure.

In the meantime, he has been busy taking media calls and appearing in local radio shows. Berger believes his troubles mirror those of thousands of Americans caught in the economic whirlwind.

"I sometimes imagine five people on every street in America asking for a job," Berger said. "Maybe that craziness would get some attention and show how bad things are."

Should the dispatcher interview fizzle, Berger would consider heading out to another street with his sandwich-board and resumes in hand.

"You never know, I might be out somewhere by the middle of next week," he said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail

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