We’ve all had jobs: jobs we love, jobs we hate, some in between. My original idea for today’s Five on Friday was something completely different, but I read another blogger’s post about all of the jobs that she’s had in her life, and I started thinking back on some of my more interesting occupations.
So I decided to include five of them here, and they happen to be the five jobs that I liked the LEAST.
1) My first job was at a pizza place. I was so excited to land it that I didn’t mind walking ten minutes down a busy main road with no sidewalks, passing a huge cemetery on the way, to get to the small strip mall that contained the restaurant on the end. Many businesses–all pizza joints, actually–had occupied this very space with little success. But this one was different, I hoped. Anyway, I was always looking for jobs, even before I was old enough to work. I was going to save up for a super-cute Volkswagen Jetta. I don’t recall how I actually got this particular job, other than walking in and asking for it. “Tony” hired me and told me to come back the next day. Not counting babysitting, it was my first real job. Basically I learned how to take orders in person and over the phone, and Tony showed me the basics of making pizza. Eventually he had me waiting tables or a table, I should say, because I don’t think we ever had more than one customer at a time. I had no idea what I was doing but it didn’t matter.
Business was SLOW, and I couldn’t understand why because the pizza was delicious. I should know, because we spent an awful lot of time watching TV and eating the pizza that he made for us. He was very mysterious, obviously a ladies’ man (while obviously married) and nice, except when he wasn’t. He had a temper, which I attributed to him being Italian (which he wasn’t, but that’s another story). He could be funny and he drove a nice car. A lot of things didn’t add up at first, especially the amount of cash he seemed to have, despite the restaurant having practically no business. Hmm. Well, one day I showed up for work and the door was locked. I peered through the glass, looking all around for a note. Nothing. Who knows how long I waited for someone to show up before finally walking back home. I was pissed. Especially since I called and tried to reach him again. Finally I gave up. I never saw him again, and the place has been several Italian restaurants over the years. And he still owes me $20.
2) Is it a teenage rite of passage to have to have a crappy mall job? Mine was Casual Corner. Blech! I think it was the summer after my freshman year of college, or was that McDonald’s? (More on that one coming up.) I can’t remember. Anyway, what a drag that job was. I never did get that Jetta, or any car, for that matter. I walked several blocks down to the only bus stop in the area to catch the only bus to the mall. I think it took almost an hour to get there. I paced around the store endlessly straightening hanging garments and rearranging piles of overpriced tee shirts. It was just me and the manager, sometimes a co-worker and, once in a while, a customer. Boring! The highlight of my day was when I could escape to the food court on my lunch break. At least I didn’t have to listen to the store’s hideous music for a while. To this day I can’t listen to “Love Will Save the Day” by Des’ree without cringing.
3) An on-campus work study job in my university’s business school. I sat at the front desk, greeting every disgruntled student who came in saying, “I need to see Professor (fill-in-the-blank).” Another yawn-inducing position. I got a lot of reading done but that was the only perk. The pay was measly, one of the worst paying work-study jobs on campus. I think everyone else knew enough to snatch up the good jobs ASAP, but I had waited too long.
4) McDonald’s! Another post-college summer position, obtained thanks to my younger brother. It wasn’t so bad, except for the occasional obnoxious customer, the two Spanish-speaking co-workers who thought they could talk about me without me understanding them (I was fluent), and coming home smelling like fry grease. Everyone should have such an experience, I think. It humbles you somewhat and hopefully makes you a bit more tolerant and less demanding when dealing with customer service employees.
5) The last out of the home job I had before becoming a mom was as an essay/test grader. I don’t know if I’m supposed to give a lot of details about the specific company that I worked for, but my basic job was to read and grade the essay portions of various standardized tests taken by students in all different states. I was pregnant and sitting home playing on forums, creating silly tickers and voting on baby names, when I decided I needed to make some money and actually do something productive. It was an okay gig, but it took a lot of concentration and they had really high standards for our performance. The thing that really stressed me out, though, was one individual who sort of latched onto me and wouldn’t stop talking to me. Ever. If you were walking down the hall and made eye contact, boom, he was at your side permanently. He had some boundary issues and when he asked me one day if he could touch my pregnant belly, I sort of freaked. I spent the rest of my time there trying to avoid him, which made me feel guilty because he really was harmless. I was happy to have my approaching due date as my ticket out of there.