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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Odd Jobs

The other day, I prepared an author profile for young poet Matthew Dickman. I liked his poem about love and decided to present him to my Writing Communities class. Our class is in charge of bringing writers to campus, so I pitched Mr. Dickman.
Anyway, the point of telling you this is that I discovered that although Dickman has published a book of poetry and was featured in The New Yorker, he still works at Whole Foods.

This got me thinking about jobs: more specifically, the jobs you have when you're young. And THIS got me thinking about my past jobs. So now I'm blogging about them.

Tennis Courts

My first real job was working at the tennis courts near my house. And by near my house, I mean literally ONE block away.

Seriously, if I had work at 2, I'd leave my house at 1:59. It was great!
But this job was a SNOOZEFEST. Basically, I had to make sure the rich people who came to play were members, and if they weren't, I made them pay some ridiculous fee. I think it was like $50 an hour or something but you know I charged them $60 an hour cause I needed lunch money!

After the rich people played tennis and talked about how rich they were, they would demand that I sweep the court. As I reluctantly dragged this huge broom thing behind me, they would whip me and make me work faster.

Anyway, the best thing about this job was that usually no one came. So I got A LOT of summer reading done at this job! But after two years of alternating between boredom and being tired of being brave dragging that broom thing around, I quit that job and started my next job.


I worked at Subway because I wanted an iPod. All day long I dreamed of constant Maria Mena/Britney Spears/Mya/Brooke Allison flowing into my ears while I walked around town, rode my bike, pretended to pay attention in class, etc. I needed an iPod.

So I got a job at Subway thinking that I would make lots of money and buy myself that iPod. Well working at Subway is lame, so please, if you don't work there already, don't fill out an application.

I spent my days as a 'Sandwich Artist' listening to people say, "I hope I'm not being annoying, but could you _______?" Fill in that blank with any obnoxious request you can think of. Now, I guess I can't complain cause I can be picky, but some of these requests were pretty dumb. Even though I've worked in a real restaurant for the past two summers, I've never had terrible customers like I did at Subway.

And if I had to hear one more joke about 6 vs. 12 inches, I might have pulled a Plath with the bread oven.

Once I got enough money to get my iPod, I bounced from that joint!

Eckerd/Rite Aid

I got a job at Eckerd cause one of my BFFs Shanique worked there and referred me. I then referred my BFF Cindy, and she got a job. So I got to work with two of my best friends!
Honestly, this was the best pre-college job I had. It was pretty easy, I got a 20% discount, and it was really close to my house.

And the best thing about my job was that I loved my co-workers and thought we all made an interesting dynamic. There was the one weird girl everyone talked about, the one girl who stole, the nice, gay manager, the grumpy thieving manager, the sexy co-worker everyone wanted (that was me!), the old woman who made up stories about her life (she was almost in the Olympics, she wrote "Born To Run" with Springsteen but didn't want songwriting credit...), and an assortment of other types of people. And there were even some office romances! I think one of the most important parts of a job is the crew, and we were a great crew!

That's me and my BFF Cindy in the photo department. Yup! I worked in the photo department. And yes, I have interesting stories (can I squeeze another blog entry out of this?!)

Halfway through my time there we switched over to Rite Aid and a lot of the main crew went off to college. While working at Rite Aid was not the best job of all time, I still think of it fondly...

(Oh, and it was Rite Aid that inspired my first ever blog!)

SO, what jobs did you have during middle/high school? Which was the worst?


Tam said...

Well, I lived in the country so didn't have jobs until I finished highschool (except as free farm labour for my family). But my first paying job was as a nurses aid in a nursing home. The boss hated me for some reason and I loved working evenings so I didn't have to work with her, but one day an old lady died (hey, it happens, they are oooold), and to "give me the full experience" I was sent in to help prepare the dead body for the pick-up by the morgue. Oh gee, thanks for that experience lady. Needless to say I never went into the healthcare field.

One of my summer jobs was working for a half-way house for mentally ill young people run by nuns. Nuns are HARSH and sometimes I had to work the 4-midnight shift. A couple of weird things that happened was I was on the second floor giving out meds and this one young woman with schizophrenia maybe, was standing by the window and she refused to take them and was staring out the window saying she could see something with glowing eyes in the back yard (large facility) and she was acting so freaky even I was starting to wonder if she could actually see something out there no one else could. My other freaky story was I that I was up on the 3rd floor ironing by myself when one of the male residents came up and we were chatting and just hanging out. The next day he was hospitalized for having homicidal thoughts. Holy fuck, was he thinking about killing me while we talked? No clue. Oh and making some girl throw up after she'd swallowed a couple of bottles of Tylenol she stole. Oh good times. I could not WAIT for that job to be over that summer.

Jere Keys said...

I may have to write my own blog about interesting jobs I had. Is Subway and the unending 6" v. 12" jokes where you first became obsessed with comparing p33n sizes? And how often did you glance at the 12" loafs of bread and start singing the Peggy Lee classic "Is that all there is"?

Mel said...

Has Enrico even heard of Peggy Lee?

We lived in the sticks, so I didn't have a job until I was in college, either. My first job was as a dishwasher in a seafood restaurant, and I still ate seafood for another 6 years after that - scary. Anyway, I left that job to go work 60+ hour weeks as a farmhand. It was srsly hard work, but I loved it and did it for two summers before I went off to vet school.

There I worked some on hospital barn crew, which was basically like being a farmhand, then moved into working as an emergency nurse in the vet school hospital, which is how I turned into the ER vet I am today.

Polt said...

I think I'll copy Jere and use this as inspiration for a post of my own on this topic.

But seriously, Enrickyricardo, punkin, I still have tears in my eyes from reading this " so I pitched Mr. Dickman". If that's NOT a line from a cheesy gay porno, it surely ought to be! :)


Anonymous said...

I know exctaly what you are talking about, I go to school for my RN. Some of things I have seen working in doctor's offices are unbeliveable!! :o)


Chris D. said...

When I was a teen I babysat some kids for a while. It wasn't really something I wanted to do, but for some reason people asked me, so I did it.

I also mowed the lawn, washed dishes, and emptied the garbage at home for my allowance. I think it is a great idea for kids to do work for their allowance. Some of my friends that did not have that experience never learned how to manage their money.

During the summer between my junior and senior year of high school I worked in the office of a construction materials company. I sorted sales receipts and then had to tally them on a big fancy calculator with a paper tape printer. The pay was OK, but was not really a fan of mindless clerical work. I think this was my least favorite job.

A week after I graduated high school I started working for a software company. I loved it! I started as an intern learning a new programing language, and quickly became a major software developer in the company. Our software sold for $1500 a license at the time, and I was involved in every stage of projects with budgets in the tens of thousands of dollars for major companies while I was still a teenager. I loved that my skills were so valuable. This was my favorite job, and I am still doing it. :)

Michelle M. said...

Pazuzu wearing VonDutch and a keffiyeh? Enrico - you are too much.

In high school I babysat. A lot. And spent one summer cleaning apartments. Ugh.

After high school I lifeguarded/taught swimming and coached a swim team for four years. The pay was good and my coworkers were great - we had so much fun hanging out after work in the summer. Ah, good times. Except now I'm paying for it with wrinkles and am always on the look out for skin cancer. Boo.

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

I'm glad you came to my blog and commented. For some reason my Google Dashboard doesn't show your new entries. I deleted and then re-added. We'll see what happens.

I so wanna hear the photo lab stories. I'm sure its all about the sick or funny photos you got.

Oh and Subway? Every business has cliches that people say and think they're really funny even though it's been said 100's of times.

Ryan said...

My first jobs were babysitting. My senior year, I got a job working as a cashier at a variety store. In college, I worked as a lab slave during the school year. During my first two summers, I worked in a mail room and as a hospital courier.

What are the most annoying things people request at Subway?

that's J-O-S-H said...

"...they would whip me and make me work faster."

Did they scream at you so you'd show them how you work?!

My first jerb was at the restaurant serving tables. I started off as a busser, then did the deli counter, then started serving lunches. Within three months I started working dinner shiftz [aka actually making $$$]. I'm still at this job [::criez::].

I worked at the box office @ TCNJ for 2 hourz a week. Worth it? Not at all. Then I worked in the freshmen dorms for two semesters doing what you do now. Then I got mah [pseudo] real-person job in Brooklyn [PLEASE HIRE ME FULLTIME!].

john said...

I worked at Friendly's serving ice cream. I also was the skinniest I've ever been while working there. The smell of ice cream kind of gets to you after a while.

Tam said...

John: I've always wondered if people who work in chocolate factories actually eat it. I've been on tours and within an hour I'm kind of sick of the smell, I can't imagine 40 hours a week of it.

hoteltuesday said...

Tam: That half-way house job sounds awesome!! Ever since seeing Girl, Interrupted, I've been really interested in mental institutions. Those situations do some scary, but I bet some of those patients wrote great poetry!

Jere: I don't have any such obsession. And who is Peggy Lee?

Mel: POOR YOU! I hate seafood. Don't wanna it and DEF don't want to scrub leftovers offa dirty dishes. That place musta stunk!

Polt: I'm glad you managed to somehow relate this entry to porn.

TJ: Gabi's horror stories about her podiatry work sound worse than your stories!

Chris: It's cool that you found your passion so early on! Hopefully you keep loving your job and don't get tired of doing it for so long!

Michelle M: I love swimming but I'm not that good at it! When you visit me, you should teach me some swimming skillz!

hoteltuesday said...

Garret: Yeah, mostly those kind of stories... They were usually pretty forward about handing in n00dz, but one situation was REALLY funny so I'm gonna blog about it one day.

Ryan: I work in a mail room now, kind of. Well, I sort mail and stuff. I like illegally reading postcards!! I don't know what the standard annoying thing was, but I remember one annoying situation... Some dude said he had a hair in his sub and wanted a new one. I had short brown hair at the time. My boss had short black hair. The hair in the guy's food was long and blonde. The guy's girlfriend had long blonde hair... Yeah. He was annoying and got really obnoxious about it.

Josh: Yay! Brooklyn! Let's work and live in NYC together plz.

john: I still loved eating subs at Subway and def ate as much of my restaurant's food as I could these past two summers!

Milo said...

My first job was waiting tables in a sleepy seaside town in the SE of England, one summer. I was about 14 and it had been my cousin's job (same age) who was off to visit our relatives in Australia having saved for the airfare waiting tables. It was an OK job but I was quite preppy as a kid (schooling) and this was a very 'local' family restaurant so I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.

The only job I did at university was whilst in America, at the end of the academic year and before I returned to the UK, I worked in a bookshop in Harvard Square, Mass - which I *really* loved. Very happy memories. I didn't earn all that much but Cambridge has such a great vibe, I really enjoyed it. In the UK uni system (back then) the government gave you grants so you really didn't need to work, and tuition was free (how things have changed).

So those were pretty much my only casual jobs until I graduated.

Jere Keys said...

[insert playful but 'angry' emoticon here]

When you say "who is that?" about random 80s hair bands I grew up with, I get a little sad, but it's okay. When you say "who is that?" about pivotal musical figures of the twentieth century, I secretly judge you.

I'll admit that Peggy Lee is before your time. She's before my time. But without Peggy Lee paving the way for popular songs about being slutty (notably "Fever") there would be no Britney Spears.

It's like hearing someone express love for very emotionally personal poetry, then I mention Anne Sexton and they reply "who is that?"

hoteltuesday said...

Milo: "Sleepy seaside town"?! How poetic. I would love to work in a bookshop. I would encourage all the customers to buy my favorite books!

Jere: OH! I know "Fever" since Beyonce covered it!

Delisa said...

My first job was as a counselor in training (CIT) at my old summer camp in upstate New York. It was odd being on the employee side of camp since I was a camper there for 8 years but I loved it and I hope to be full time staff one summer in the future but for now I'll stick to volunteering.

My second job is working as a Desk Assistant (DA) in one of the sophomore dorms on campus. I am a whore for the residential life program at TCNJ and I don't even make minimum wage for it. I don't exactly love my job, (I mean let's be honest I don't want to DA for the rest of my life) but it's easy work/money.

Jere Keys said...

Yes. Also Madonna and Bette Midler and Michael Buble and Diana Krall and Christina Aguilera feat. Pussycat Dolls and many more.

Craig said...

I was a janitor for my church :-(

But at least I have a free pass into heaven now!

David said...

During high school I babysat during school terms and in the summer worked as a camp counselor (My kids were the 5 year-olds. Loved em'!). That was it. I tried to get some retail jobs at the local malls, but no one would ever hire me.

Eternal Lizdom said...

First tax paying job was McDonald's and it sucked but I do have a few good stories- like how frozen chicken nuggets bounce and how this large scary looking woman came in every week when the chicken fajita was first introduced (I'm so old- it's not even around anymore) and would step to my register and demand, loudly, "one of them there Fuh-Jih-Tahs" like rhymes with female anatomy... humiliation for my sixteen year old self!

Let's see... cashier for Kroger, summer day camp counselor for kids with various socialization issues, Suncoast (aging myself again)... in college, I also worked for our baskerball team's marketing group so for one season, I went to every home game, worked on signage, and ran halftime contests and pre-show giveaways and managed half time talent.

mkf said...

here's my job when i was 17:

you might find the story interesting. or not.