Monday, June 27, 2005

adventures in employment

So I'm back to being job-free again. I'm not surprised that Chichi Soho Hotel didn't keep me on after a few trails, because, while I can fake being fake long enough to impress during a five minute interview, I can't pretend to be "polished" for a whole five hour shift. And, hey, they thought I looked good enough to wear short shorts and serve $15 cocktails to really really famous people, so I consider the whole endeavor a minor success. However, now I am no longer delusional about my ability to secure traditional employment. Since making a list of all my past quasi-things was such a resounding success in solving my relationship issues (*snort*) let's take a look at my 13-year work history and see if we can find the problem(s).

*Babysitter. At age 11 I took a babysitting course at the local library and received my CPR certification. I watched kids for quite a few families (mostly acquaintances of my parents) over the years, and pretty much sucked at it. As I've mentioned, I'm not really a kid-oriented person, and I also had a knack for falling asleep on the couch just as the parents would come home. There was only one family for whom I did a good job, and it was because their kids were a rare breed that I got along with, and the parents would leave us money to go to the movies and order Kentucky Fried Chicken. Since they were awesome and smart, they soon moved away to a big city and left me jobless for a few years.

*Telephone Cheese Sales Representative. In my first job on the books, I answered the telephone for a renowned Central Wisconsin-based purveyor of cheese and really ugly shit. I got paid $5.50 an hour to sit in front of an archaic computer for eight hours at a time and either answer the phones or, when they weren't ringing, familiarize myself with the paper catalog. It was utter torture and I quit as soon as the busy holiday gift-giving season was over, when folks across the country were calling to complain about the untimely shipment of their cheese logs and Precious Moments figurines.

*Medical Office Assistant. The summer after high school graduation my mom got me a full-time job in the private facility in which she was a physical therapist. My duties largely consisted of mindless filing and envelope-licking, and I would finish extremely quickly and then fall asleep at my desk. Even though I was constantly asking for more work to do in order to stay awake, I got a good talking to by the head doctor (whose kids I no longer babysat.) Finally they started sending me downstairs to do transcription (80 wpm, baby!) and organize boxes of old files, and we were all much happier campers.

*Coffee Shop Counterperson (Barrista is a stupid word.) This is one of the few jobs upon which I often look back fondly. Though the cafe was located in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Manhattan (at the time--said cafe was a gentrification pioneer) and I had to walk alone between there and the gated loveliness of Columbia at either 5:45 a.m. or 11:30 p.m., it was great because the work involved actually producing something, even if it was just annoying beverages and sandwiches; I made up for my paltry $7 wage by eating and or/taking with me two meals a day; and, most significantly, I either worked alone or with just one other person. Never quite got the hang of the cash register, though.

*Library Assistant. I didn't get enough hours at the coffee shop that summer so I also worked in the “Reserves” portion of the campus library. The “Reserves” portion is, um, reserved for books and readings that professors reserve for classes, and, since there's not much going on class-wise during the summer, the job involved a lot of sleeping in the back room. Not surprisingly, I don't remember too much else about this job.

*Doggy Daycare Provider. The next year I got my dream summer job. Essentially, I was paid to take care of 50-100 dogs at a time, instruct illegal immigrant Mexican workers to clean up the mierda, por favor, ogle the hot illegal Brazilian immigrant walkers of the in-house dog walking service, and work with some interesting folks, my favorite of which was a woman in her late 30's who was married to the Fifth Avenue plastic surgeon who'd done her boob job. The work was extremely messy and smelly and sweaty, and on my last shift I was badly bitten by an enormous beast of a canine, but it was a good time, overall. Still, I'd never do it again.

*Teaching Assistant. My junior year I applied for and got a Teaching Assistantship for my favorite class to that point. This meant that I got to take the class again, only I didn't have to take notes or exams and I got paid very well. I enjoyed having the power to write and grade the tests, and having my peers come groveling to me with hopes of better grades was totally weird but not at all unenjoyable. The downside, of course, was that I could no longer get away with sleeping in class, and also it was kind of embarrassing when it was MY cell phone that went off during the midterm.

*Computer Lab Assistant. The next semester I continued receiving the aforementioned great pay by working in the department computer lab. The lab was located in a remote corner of the level below the basement in the psychology building, and after a few shifts of sitting around in a totally empty room, I decided to show up very late and/or leave very early, and I eventually stopped showing up at all. This worked wonderfully until some sort of meeting was scheduled there during a shift for which I did not come to unlock the room. Amazingly, I got scolded but not fired, and I had to spend the latter, prettier part of Spring '02 20 feet underground.

*Dog Walker. That summer I called the ol' doggy daycare and requested to be a walker and only a walker. This was awesome because I worked entirely by myself, I got to see lots of bajillion dollar apartments, and dogs are far less annoying when there's just one to three of them. Early on I almost got fired for oversleeping by four hours after getting incredibly wasted with a band the night before, but I somehow managed to walk eight hours worth of dogs in four hours and was able to spend the rest of the summer destroying my knees, sweating my ass off, and picking up rich doggie poo. I am strongly considering being a dog walker again.

*Admissions Office Assistant. On a tip from Fat Asian Baby, I spent my senior year working in the Undergraduate Admissions Office. As mentioned in a prior post, it was unbelievably easy to fudge one's timesheet, so I once again got paid pretty well for doing very little. My boss was a hilarious Caribbean dude with two lazy eyes, and the work consisted of organizing and opening application materials. This provided ample fodder for joking around with my equally delinquent work study buddies, and it made me want to kick myself for worrying so much about my own chances for admission back in high school.

*Research Assistant. Senior spring, I was only taking two classes so I decided to take a second job. It was a temporary position for a psychology study being conducted way the hell uptown. My job was pretty much limited to filing and tracking down missing study participants, and I was jealous of the full-time assistants who got to call people and ask them a long series of really invasive personal questions. My boss was a cold, uptight lesbian, and, even though the office was casual, she scolded me for wearing a shirt that sometimes showed my bra strap and a sweater that sometimes showed a sliver of my lower abdominal region. I neither quit nor got fired, but, like many a Quasi-Thing, we just stopped calling each other.

*Bond Sales Assistant. Aaah, my first Real Job! Through a connection I acquired a position at JPMorganStanleyGoldmanStearnsBrothersBank&Co.,Inc. I sat in front of four computer screens at a desk on a trading floor for 10 hours a day and didn't do a whole lot, other than read blogs and blog. Because I respected my boss and got paid a lot and didn't have any better ideas, and also because no one there asked or expected me to do a lot, I lasted for over a year. I was almost fired when I freaked out one Saturday morning, boarded a plane for Wisconsin, and called my boss on Monday saying I'd be out for a week. After a stern scolding from an evil HR lady, I decided it would be best to move on, since I knew I could never think of the position as a "career, not a job."

*Marketing Assistant. Needing something else quickly and not knowing what I wanted to do, I signed on with a temp agency. I was placed at an entertainment company that had some good perks like the ability to listen to music out loud all day and free coffee and pretzles. I got my very own cubicle and quickly earned the trust of my bosses, for whom I shuffled around paper and sent emails and made spreadsheets of really boring stuff. This was a gross mistake on their part, as the sparkles soon wore off and I started doing less and less work, to the point where I pretty much did nothing at all, which was perpetuated by the fact that all the bosses were constantly away at conferences. One night I got a voicemail from the temp agency saying they'd "no longer be needing my services," and when I snuck in to retrieve my gym clothes the next day, I felt very, very sorry for the pour soul who had to sort through the disorganized mounds of unfinished work in my cubicle. And by very, very sorry I mean more amused than actually sorry.

*Waitress. This job rocked, for the most part. Since a friend of a friend had hooked up with someone at the restaurant, I got a coveted position in the Ithaca Collegetown scene. I'm not naturally very good at waitressing and after a week of training I was sure they'd let me go, but things improved to the point where the management even complimented me on several occasions. Many of the coworkers were in the same lost stage of life as I was (am,) I got to get drunk while working, and I enjoyed the hectic physical labor and small, family-like atmosphere. If I could find something similar in NYC I'd be a waitress again and would probably be ok at it, but that's not looking so good, since none of my friends have slept with any employees of hip yet laidback restaurants lately.

So what have we learned from all of this? Much like my dealings with dudes, I don't like most jobs and fuck up grandly when I try to stick them out, and the jobs I do like and idealize either aren't suited to me or have no long-term potential. Of course, dudes can easily be replaced altogether with a nice vibrator, but a vibrator will not pay my rent. And with that brilliant sentence, I am off to try to fall asleep before the sun comes up.


Anonymous said...

for the record, he did not sleep with her! dang, gina.


Gina said...

ok ok. minor detail but i'll change to the ambiguous "hooked up."

Anonymous said...

thanks. now if only you could press a button and make the rest of my life follow according to my wishes.

Fat Asian Baby said...

oh arthur. i still maintain that was the best job i ever had. i also suck. if i weren't an unpaid intern i'm sure my present "employer" would've fired me weeks ago.

Gina said...

you got me thinking, fab....perhpas the two of us should get fulltime jobs in the admissions office! i'm sure we could move up to director eventually and then the fate of the school would be ours! muahahahaha! or, you know, we could just make fun of all the applications and take three hour lunch breaks on the steps together. either way...