Laid-Off Tech Worker Interviews At A Coffee Shop & Is Asked Why They Should Hire Him — ‘Because I Need To Pay Bills’

He’s not the only person forced to reckon with societal expectations of real work, especially as a middle-aged man.

Coffee shop barista smiling behind the counter. Jacob Lund / CanvaPro

With new waves of layoffs and terminations and the job market in such an insufferable state, many employees have been forced to reconsider their career paths. Not being able to find a job and being forced to pay bills, many have resorted to positions they’re vastly overqualified for, like retail positions and entry-level jobs. 

But it’s not a sense of empowerment that they’re feeling. They're leaving their positions to work somewhere where they’re under-compensated and overqualified. For many people, it’s a sense of shame. 


Lord Brunch, a tech employee recently laid off, shared his experience on TikTok after interviewing for a barista job: “Sometimes I look at society and wonder … am I the only person who is working these jobs?” 

While interviewing at a coffee shop, the former tech worker admitted, ‘I’m working because I need to pay bills.’ 

“I went in for an interview yesterday. It was for a coffee shop job,” Brunch started. “They asked me how much I needed to make to live, and so I told them. They asked all the cliché interview questions, and then we got to the end.” 



RELATED: Employee Notices Her Boss Listed Her Job Position On The Company Website After She Was 'Laid Off'


After being asked “why he should be hired,” he couldn’t help but expel brutal honesty after months of dealing with an unsuccessful job search. 

“I felt sad that I had to go and interview. I felt like, in no way, shape, or form is this a reflection of my character and my work ethic — but it feels like it.” 

After being asked why he should be hired, Brunch honestly answered, ‘I have a life. I have bills.’ 

“I wasn’t gonna lie. I loathe that question. I’m here, and I’ve answered every question. I had a career. I need to pay bills. I have a life. I need to [expletive] work. So, can I get this job or what?” 

 two baristas making coffee filadendron / Canva Pro


With extensive barista experience in coffee shops from early in his career, Brunch said they did hire him after the interview, but it’s what followed that he’s been grappling with. “Now my question is, why do I feel so sad about it? I feel like I’m the only person working a bridge job, which I know I’m not.” 

We need people doing every job, whether service workers, estheticians, or doctors. There’s a place for every occupation in our society. However, it’s become common for professionals to get praised for their 9-to-5s while others suffer from insecurity under enormously ignorant expectations. 

RELATED: CEO Asks Manager To Tell Remote Employee To Stop Having Her Baby On Work Calls Because It’s ‘Distracting & Unprofessional’

Despite his circumstances, Brunch felt ‘sad and embarrassed’ for having to interview at a coffee shop.

Almost 300,000 employees were laid off from their tech jobs in 2023 alone — a 59% increase from the following year in the same industry. It’s impossible to imagine just how many lives those terminations have impacted, from entry-level post-graduates to executives with 30+ years of experience. 


Especially with the tumultuous job market, it’s no surprise that more and more people are talking about switching careers, doing freelance work, or returning to “bridge jobs” to get by. “Feels weird being 40 and working at a coffee shop,” Brunch admitted, “but I’ll do what I have to do to keep the bills paid and the lights on.” 

For Brunch and thousands of other laid-off workers in the U.S., applying and interviewing for temporary jobs can be frustrating. “Why do I feel bad for working a job in a recession that feels like it’s beneath me?” 



Employment expert Hanna Goefft, on TikTok, acknowledged the hate toward bridge jobs, or jobs that aren’t necessarily career-orientated but solely acquired to make money after terminations.


However, while much of the discourse surrounding the job market and career searching frames bridge jobs in a negative light, she honestly shared that they can be “a smart move” for people of any age. “You’re avoiding that spot of desperation where you need something to pay the bills, Goefft said; "it also might give you room to continue building your skills.” 

So, despite online discourse and toxic rhetoric surrounding definitions of a real job, don’t let anyone tell you that taking a bridge job is the wrong path. 

Millions of people navigate careers and jobs they hate every day. Being a barista or finding a part-time job at a flower shop might just open up doors (whether financial, social, personal, or professional) that you truthfully need. 


RELATED: Major Company Made $1.2 Billion In Profit In 2023 — And Just Laid Off 5% Of Its Employees

Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.