I’ve been working since I was 16. Not that I was terribly eager to join the workforce at such an early age, but I started driving at that time and had to pay for my own gas (parents’ rule). My first ever job was as a ‘Sanitation Engineer’ which is the classy way to say Janitor. I worked 2 nights a week cleaning an ophthalmologist office after hours. It was by far the least glamorous job a sixteen year old could have, but I enjoyed it. I was alone so I could blast my music as loud as I wanted, I could work at my own pace without having to deal with scrutiny or disruptions, it worked around my busy schedule of school, sports, band, and social outings, and the best part: I got a paycheck every two weeks (which was almost unheard of amongst my peers).
Once volleyball season was over my senior year, I had more free time in the afternoons so I quit my job with the ophthalmologist office and got one as a file clerk for a doctors office. I worked there for three hours every weekday after school, managing medical records and filing. During my final semester in high school, I opted out of elective classes and started a work study program so I could squeeze in more hours at my job instead of wasting time at school drawing bowls of fruit or learning how to make a bird house. I also picked up a weekend job at my friend’s clothing boutique, which only stayed in business for a short while before closing.
After graduation, I stayed at the doctors office while I completed the Associate’s program at the local community college, as they were very accommodating around my school schedule. I picked up another part-time job on the weekends doing inventory for my brother’s company as I found out early on that college, even at a lower level, is quite expensive.
I finished Community College and during the summer before university, I got conned into joining a pyramid scheme-type job where I sold cutlery door-to-door. It was a shady business, but I made it my bitch; I was the top consultant in my division for all three months that I worked for them and ended up making a pretty penny that I used to foot the bill for my education (at least 9% of it; did I mention school is expensive?). Then I picked up a job as a Sales Associate at a home decor store, and never looked back.
I began taking a full-time course load at university, all the while working my home decor gig during the week, the doctors office on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings and my brother’s company Sundays. I barely had time to sleep!
You would think after university, things would slow down for me…
I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and started working at my ex’s university as a part-time Administrative Assistant and transferred to the same home decor shop in the area, this time in a management position. Between the two jobs, I was working 60 hours a week. Some days, I worked for 16 hours straight. It was a rigorous routine, but I eventually got used to it. That was, until I got fired…
Yup. I was fired from a job.
I was fired from my management position at the home decor store that I had worked at for 3 years, on a couple of technicalities. The computer system the company used was new and I was in the midst of completing management training on how to use it in my new role (more capabilities for managers). As such, I rang up a fellow employee using her employee discount. The item she was purchasing already had a damage discount. I assumed the system would take the bigger of the two discounts and apply it to the total, but instead, it used both discounts and I didn’t catch it. Strike one.
My second strike was that I refunded a discount (all of $4.00) on to my mom’s store credit card after she had purchased an item the day before it went on sale. It was store policy to honor a new sale price on items that were purchased up to three days prior. But home office thought I was being dubious as I was a verified user on my mom’s card and they didn’t like that I was the one who rang the transaction.
You live and learn I suppose…
Actually, no. Fuck ’em! I made that company thousands of dollars and I was a great employee- so much so, that I was recognized on numerous occasions for my hard work and dedication. And that’s how they want to repay me!?
A’hem. Sorry. I’m over it. Promise.
I still had my job at the university and took on a few extra hours there every week, but I needed another job. I started working at a local flower shop in the afternoons throughout the week and sometimes on Saturdays for special events like weddings, school events, funerals…
I learned a lot from this job in particular- especially how to deal with a hot-headed, over-dramatic, psychotic boss. He was a nice guy, but he seriously needed to take some anger management classes or something. He would hang up the phone on customers, fire employees almost on a weekly basis, and throw temper tantrums when things didn’t go his way (which was quite often). It was quite comical, really. But I enjoyed learning about flowers and arranging. I loved hearing the different stories that went along with each bouquet. Some were a symbol of passion and love, others of sincere condolences; some of joy or congratulations, others of desperate apologies. It’s strange to think that we use flowers as the ultimate conveyor of messages for any and all occasions in life.
By far, my favorite memory of this job was answering the phone after I had just sucked helium from a leftover balloon. Oops!
Once again, I was unwillingly forced from a job. This time, it was my job at the university. My position was funded through the same account they paid their research students and when the budget got tight, I was the one to get the boot. C’est la vie.
I took on more hours at the flower shop until I landed another job. It was a full-time gig. I left the flower shop and was hired almost the same day as my interview as the manager of a local office supply store. Again, not the most glamorous, but it was what I needed at the moment. The entire business only had 13 employees, all looking to me, a 23 year old, to run the show. I was up for the task, but not so much for the pay. I started butting heads with the warehouse manager who refused to acknowledge me as his superior, and decided it was time to move on.
That’s when I found my current job; Executive Assistant to the Director for a state-run health department. Is it my dream job? No. But my thought is: we can’t all have our dream jobs. Some people have to dig graves and pump septic tanks for a living. You think they love there jobs? I’m in a job that suits me for the time being, and compared to some of my previous gigs, this one’s not too shabby. It affords me the ability to take a couple of vacations throughout the year. It provides me health insurance, a retirement package, and an over-sized office with a window. Plus I can wear jeans whenever I want. What more could I want?
Have you all had less than ideal jobs? Let me know in the comments. I can’t be the only one…