I recently made a list of all the types of jobs I had before going into Human Resources. It’s fair to say that my early “career” fit Wayne Campbell’s description of his own: I had an extensive collection of nametags and hairnets.
The list is mildly interesting, so I’ll post it at the end, but what I really want to talk about are the moments from old jobs that have sprung to mind in the past few days. Moments like this:
Comparing driving experience with another 15-yr-old girl to see who was best qualified to drive the catering van across town after we had been abandoned by the adult on the job. She drove and we both shook the entire way. When we got back to the caterer’s kitchen it had been closed by the Department of Health.
Singing “Black Velvet” at the top of my lungs while I collected grocery carts in an empty parking lot on a hot summer night. (“Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell . . . .”)
Learning that the friendly janitor I had sold cigarettes to almost daily (two soft packs of Benson & Hedges light menthols, which he ordered by simply smiling and saying, “Two” while holding up his fingers in a peace sign) had suddenly died of lung cancer.
Listening to Oprah’s TV show on the radio (instead of studying) as the sun streamed in through the windows of the parking lot booth.
Giving myself a little pep talk in the bathroom mirror while on break during the first week of my first office job after college. It went something like, “Suck it up and get used to it, Girly, because you’re going to be working 40 hours a week from now on.” I’ll never forget the ridiculous tiny blue suit I wore, nor how horrible it felt to realize I’d be chained to a desk for years to come.
There’s more, but I have to get back to my present job. I’ll leave you with the list:
Babysitter, parade film vendor, catering assistant, cashier, grocery bagger, talk radio host, salesclerk, engraver, milkshake maker, Avon lady, parking lot attendant, encyclopedia salesperson, bookseller, receptionist, check processor, retail manager, and secretary.
Oh yes. I’ve had plenty of crap jobs. Being humiliated for a living has made me the great writer I am today! (snort)